In 1995, the Calgary Fire Department developed a program to assess blood pressure in community fire stations, selected businesses and public venues. The program has gradually expanded. Currently, all 30 fire stations across Calgary, Alberta assess blood pressures for the public seven days per week throughout the year. Since 1995, there have been 10,883 measurements in 3477 people. Most people (2106) assessed had hypertensive readings, and 72 had readings greater than 220 mmHg systolic or greater than 120 mmHg diastolic, and were referred for immediate medical assessment. The program has been recently integrated into a more global vision for the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease in Calgary. Future plans include offering lipid assessments, assisting other communities to adopt the program and using the program to provide physical measures (of blood pressure, glucose, total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, height and weight) to an ongoing questionnaire that surveys the health of Calgarians. The history of the program, its training methods, quality control, preliminary results and future plans are presented in detail to provide an example of a community-based program that could aid in the detection, monitoring and awareness of hypertension.