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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for forest firefighters. There are currently 21,630 jobs for forest firefighters in Florida and this is projected to grow 13% to 24,460 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for forest firefighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. Forest firefighters generally control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

A person working as a forest firefighter can expect to earn about $20 hourly or $43,010 annually on average in Florida and about $21 hourly or $44,260 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest firefighters in Florida earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: smoke chaser, forest ranger technician, and wildland fire fighter specialist.

There are nine schools of higher education in the Tallahassee area, including one within twenty-five miles of Tallahassee where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. Given that the most common education level for forest firefighters is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a forest firefighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Firefighter

Forest Firefighter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Forest firefighters patrol burned areas after fires to identify and eliminate hot spots that may restart fires. They also extinguish flames and embers to suppress fires, using shovels, or engine- or hand-driven water or chemical pumps. Equally important, forest firefighters have to manage knowledge of current firefighting practices by participating in drills and by attending seminars and conferences. They are often called upon to fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches to generate firelines, using axes, chainsaws or shovels. They are expected to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters. Finally, forest firefighters manage contact with fire dispatchers at all times to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, or to detail any difficulties encountered.

Every day, forest firefighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to evaluate problems as they arise. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest firefighters to perform forest maintenance and improvement tasks such as cutting brush, planting trees, building trails and marking timber. They are often called upon to inform and educate the public about fire prevention. They also operate pumps connected to high-pressure hoses. They are sometimes expected to transport staff and cargo to and from fire areas. Somewhat less frequently, forest firefighters are also expected to participate in physical training to maintain high levels of physical fitness.

Forest firefighters sometimes are asked to serve as fully trained lead helicopter crewmember and as helispot manager. They also have to be able to observe forest areas from fire lookout towers to spot potential problems and test and maintain tools, equipment, jump gear and parachutes to insure readiness for fire suppression efforts. And finally, they sometimes have to manage fire equipment and firehouse living quarters.

Like many other jobs, forest firefighters must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Tallahassee include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Fighter. Control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

Tallahassee Community College - Tallahassee, FL

Tallahassee Community College, 444 Appleyard Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895. Tallahassee Community College is a large college located in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,048 students. Tallahassee Community College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated forty-six students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Oxygen Administration: Prepares laypersons and professional rescuers with the knowledge and skills needed to know when and how to use supplemental oxygen and breathing devices.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Health & Safety Officer Certification: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Special Hazards Suppression Systems: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout and/or installation and maintenance related to special hazards suppression systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida photo by Diligent Terrier

Tallahassee is located in Leon County, Florida. It has a population of over 171,922, which has grown by 14.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tallahassee, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Tallahassee are priced at $166,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred new homes were built in Tallahassee, down from six hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tallahassee are educational services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is public administration, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 45.0% of Tallahassee residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tallahassee is 7.1%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tallahassee residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Abundant Life Foursquare Church, Advent Episcopal Church and Aftermath Church are among the churches located in Tallahassee. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Tallahassee is home to the Miracle Plaza and the Tallahassee Community College Library as well as Old Fort Park and Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northwood Mall, Parkway Shopping Center and Tallahassee Mall. Visitors to Tallahassee can choose from Cactus Motel, Best Western Pride Inn Suites and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.