Firefighting is a challenging occupation. Firefighters risk themselves for their communities each time they answer a call. Their profession takes courage and training. Pay for firefighters varies between states and often depends on the local cost of living, in addition to years of experience and the amount of training.
Firefighter Job Description
The primary job of a firefighter is to control and put out fires that risk property, lives, or the environment. Firefighters are equipped to respond immediately whenever an alarm raises, regardless of the weather or the time of day.
Firefighters usually work 24-hour shifts and are then off the following 48 or 72 hours. Wildland firefighters often have to work continuously for days or weeks when fighting wilderness fires.
However, firefighters have various other responsibilities:
- Remove people from mangled cars in accidents
- Maintain and clean equipment in the firehouse
- Prepare written reports on emergency calls
- Assist at spills of hazardous materials
- Provide education on fire safety at community events and schools
- Rescue people trapped in deadly conditions, such as floods
The reality is that firefighters are often asked to respond to all kinds of emergencies, not just putting off fires.
Firefighter Education and Requirements
The basic firefighter requirements for most municipalities start with being at least eighteen years old and having a high school degree.
However, the application process gets more exhaustive from there. Potential firefighters will need to do the following:
- Be in excellent physical Health to carry hoses, climb stairs, breach ceilings, and raise ladders.
- Having a clean criminal and driving record and pass a background check.
- Not have risque, incriminating, embarrassing, or immature posts on social media.
- Pass a written exam covering math, problem-solving, human relations, memory, and reasoning.
- Have a psychological evaluation that examines emotional and physical stability, the typical personality traits that relate to performance as a firefighter.
- Obtain certifications in Firefighter I and II from a fire academy as needed by their state
- Obtain EMT certification if needed by the local fire department
- Pass an oral interview and be ready to explain their long-term career goals and why they aspire to be a firefighter
- Provide a list of personal references
Firefighters work mostly for local municipalities. The BLS, of the U.S., reports that it has over 325,000 career firefighters, and around 95 percent, or a little over 290,000 of them, are hired by counties and cities. These figures exclude volunteer firefighters.
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) reports that the United States has around 30,000 fire departments. About 5,000 fire departments have career firefighters majorly, while the remaining 25,000 departments are employed mainly with volunteers.
[ Read: Steps To Become A Firefighter ]
How Much Do Firefighters Make
Careers in the U. S:
According to May 2019 data from the US BLS, the mean annual firefighter salary for all the United States is $54,650. The top 90 percent earns a yearly wage (1) of over $92,020, while the lower 10 percent receives an annual income of less than $25,550.
Incomes vary widely from state to state, according to an analysis by Business Insider. California firefighters earn the highest mean annual wage of $84,370, with New Jersey close behind at $80,890. Firefighters in Mississippi had the lowest mean yearly salary at $30,180, and Louisiana came in the next lowest at $31,150.
Careers in Europe:
The starting salary for a trainee firefighter is £22,559. When full competence is achieved, this rises to £29,935. Higher rates apply for overtime.
Crew manager salaries range from £31,826 (development) to £33,935 (competent). Watch manager salaries range from £33,905 to £37,113.
A station manager’s earning potential is between £38,603 and £42,579 plus overtime rates, subject to the officer’s level of competence.
A further advancement to the role of group manager and then area manager attracts salaries of between £44,459 and £57,253, depending on the level of competence.
Careers in Asia:
An early career FireFighter with 1-5years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes bonus, tips, and overtime pay) of S$13,300. A mid-career Fire Fighter with 5-10 years of experience earns an average total compensation of S$39,039.
Typical firefighter benefits include:
- Vision insurance, Health and dental
- Parental leave
- Retirement plan
- Flexible work schedule
- Paid time off for holidays and vacations
- Military leave
- Tuition reimbursement for professional development
Firefighter Growth Trend
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that new employment opportunities for firefighters will increase at 5 percent between 2018 and 2028.