FIREFIGHTERS help protect the public against fires and other dangers. They respond to calls to put out fires, treat injuries from traffic accidents or medical emergencies, or other emergency activities. They provide ambulance service for victims. At fires they connect hose lines to fire hydrants, operate pumps, and climb ladders to put out fires. They rescue victims and give medical attention as needed, ventilate smoke-filled areas, and try to save the contents of buildings. They also help in the recovery from natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornadoes, and help in the control, prevention, and cleanup of oil spills and other hazardous materials.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $65,000 average per year ($31.25 per hour)
- A large occupation (375,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.7% per year)
Applicants for municipal FIREFIGHTER jobs may have to pass a written test; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical exam. Exams are open to those who are at least 18 years old age and have a high school education. Those who receive the highest scores have the best chances for employment. College courses in fire science may also improve chances for employment. Many colleges and universities offer courses leading to 2- or 4-year degrees in fire engineering or fire science.