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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Kaneohe, Hawaii

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest firefighters in the Kaneohe, Hawaii area. There are currently 1,970 working forest firefighters in Hawaii; this should grow 7% to 2,100 working forest firefighters in the state 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%. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $23 hourly or $48,430 annually on average in Hawaii. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly. Incomes for forest firefighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in Hawaii, and not quite as good as the overall Fire Control category nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: engine boss, firefighter, and forestry crew chief.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Kaneohe where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among twelve schools of higher education total in the Kaneohe area. 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 training to become 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 Kaneohe 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

Honolulu Community College - Honolulu, HI

Honolulu Community College, 874 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817-4598. Honolulu Community College is a small college located in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,218 students. Honolulu Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated three and fifteen students respectively 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: Kaneohe, Hawaii

Kaneohe, Hawaii
Kaneohe, Hawaii photo by Grillo

Kaneohe is situated in Honolulu County, Hawaii. It has a population of over 35,987. The cost of living index in Kaneohe, 167, is far greater than the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Kaneohe are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is public administration, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 29.5% of Kaneohe residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.8%, is higher than the state average.

About 6.1% of Kaneohe's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Kaneohe residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 33.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Door of Faith Church, Pali View Baptist Church and Kaneohe Congregational Church are among the churches located in Kaneohe. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Kaneohe is home to the Kaneohe Civic Center and the ‘Iolani Building as well as Käne‘ohe Civic Center Playground and Kaluapuhi Neighborhood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Käne‘ohe Shopping Center, Käne‘ohe Bay Shopping Center and Windward City Shopping Center.