Dartmouth's three Fire Districts are autonomous local units, separate from the Town. Voters in the Districts elect their officers, including Prudential Committee, Fire Board of Engineers and Clerk. The Fire Districts have recently voted to have the position of Fire Chief appointed by the Prudential Committee to allow for stability in the office. The Prudential Committee and Fire Chief in each District oversee the day to day operation of the department.
Annual Meetings of Fire District voters decide general policy, and approve the District's budget and capital outlay. The Districts are financed by property taxes levied by the Fire District meetings.
The Fire Districts employ permanent, on-call, and per diem firefighters all of which attend a firefighter recruit training program conducted by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.
Per MGL, the Fire Chief in each district bears the additional title of Chief Forest Warden. In that capacity he/she supervises the fighting of forest and grass fires, issues permits for the burning of brush in his/her district.