“How much do firefighters make?”. Entry level firefighter salary depends on location. In general big cities and suburban area fire departments will pay more than rural or underdeveloped areas. Annual starting salary can range from $30,000 to mid $40,000. Benefit packages normally include medical coverage, paid vacation, pension, and other benefits.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, 33-2011 Firefighters May 2012, there were 297,7000 employed firefighters. The mean hourly wage was $23 and mean annual wage of $47,850. Below are the top 5 states with the highest firefighter employment level.
Top 5 states with the highest firefighter employment level and annual mean wage:
California – $72,540 − 26,550 employed firefighters
Texas – $46,790 − 24,880 employed firefighters
Florida – $51,190 − 23,780 employed firefighters
Ohio – $42,660 − 18,410 employed firefighters
Illinois – $47,560 − 16,700 employed firefighters
According to the bureau the top 5 – paying states were California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Connecticut. Higher paying salaries are normally to compensate for higher cost of living. Salary increases can be expected with advanced specialized training and increased management responsibility. In my opinion, firefighters are underpaid for the amount of risk and long hours on the job. As many firefighters work 24-48 hour shifts they also get 24-72 hour rest periods. During these rest periods many firefighters can earn extra income by doing small handyman jobs or starting other small businesses. Some of these successful businesses include Firehouse Subs, firehousemovers.com, and trainingdivision.com. You’ll find many on your firefighter team have an entrepreneurial spirit and find creative ways to make extra income. You’ll learn the many new skills during your employment can be used for opportunities in the future. The key is to keep learning and always strive to improve.
You should remember, becoming a firefighter shouldn’t be about the money. You should take the opportunity to become a firefighter only if you’re passionate about the job and serving others.
What other questions do you have about firefighter salaries? Please leave a comment and let me know.
For those wondering if a career in the fire service is for you. I’m excited to announce an ebook that will help you make that decision. The book should be out by Fall 2013. If you have any suggestions for the book, please feel free to leave a comment or a note on my contact page.
Back in the day most career fire departments had their own firefighter fitness test requirements. Most career fire departments now have candidate physical ability tests (CPAT) administered to prospective candidates. They include eight continuous on a path, exercise drills that must be completed in 10 minutes and 20 seconds and is pass or fail.
During the test, candidates are required to wear a 50 lb. vest. with long pants, shoes with no open toes, hard hat w/chinstrap, and gloves. Wearing jewelry is prohibited. The 50 lb. vest is used to simulate wearing self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
Each exercise station is separated by 85 ft. and requires the candidate to walk between each station. To ensure safety and minimize exhaustion, running between stations is not allowed.
Two stop watches are used, one used for official time and the other for back-up. Any time greater than 10 minutes 20 seconds is a fail. The firefighter fitness CPAT is challenging. To become a firefighter requires significant training in cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and endurance. Stop by often as we look to provide more information about firefighter fitness to help you become a firefighter.
Via Michael Webb: UPDATE MONDAY (9/5), @austintexasgov: AFD has reached adequate number of reserve firefighters, NO need to continue calling 978-1187 or 974-0400 at this time (Area code 512–same #). PLEASE CIRCULATE SO THE FIREFIGHTERS CAN DO THEIR JOB INSTEAD OF ANSWERING PHONES.
Spent Sun. – Tues. getting to see some of the new products and ideas in Fire Protection and Fire Prevention at the Boston Convention Center. Had a great time meeting with many fire chiefs, fire marshals, firefighters, vendors and suppliers in the Fire Industry. Of the notable products included: digital fire extinguisher training aids, a portable stove fire suppression system, and a cooling vest that can lower the body temperature 14 degrees. I will be posting individual posts about each so make sure to check in.
Becoming a firefighter is a very dangerous occupation and requires many other tedious tasks, however there are some benefits of belonging to the Firefighter Family and Brotherhood. Several weeks ago, took the family to a fundraiser for a local Colony, TX firefighter with serious health issues. The event was called “A Day for Steven”. Steven recently had heart surgery and it’s unknown if he can return back to service. This extended leave and medical bills have caused financial hardships for Steve and his family.
One of the event activities was at a local restaurant where you could meet Steve and his family during lunch time. Part of the proceeds for the day would go to the fundraising efforts. There was a live band, silent auction, and plenty of good food and beer served on the outdoor patio. Fire trucks and an ambulance were parked at the front of the restaurant. In addition a Careflite Medical Helicopter flew in and landed in an open field near the restaurant. Parents and children were allowed to take a tour of the equipment,vehicles, and helicopter and ask on duty staff questions.
While people were eating lunch, Steven spoke to the crowd. The speech was brief and to the point. He thanked them for their support and how the events exceeded his expectations. He also indicated how proud he is to have support and be with the greatest fire department in the world. He truly loves his firefighter family and brothers. You could feel the sense of pride and family values in the air. It was a great family filled day. Thank you Steven for your service and teaching us what is truly important in life and showing us what it’s like to be part of the Firefighter Family.