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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Fire Lookouts in Overland Park, Kansas

For those living in the Overland Park, Kansas area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest fire lookouts. The national trend for forest fire lookouts sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. Forest fire lookouts generally enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards.

The average wage in the general category of Fire Control jobs is $22 per hour or $45,883 per year in Kansas, and an average of $25 per hour or $51,548 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: fire inspector, forest ranger, and resource protection specialist.

The Overland Park area is home to sixty-one schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Overland Park where you can get a degree as a forest fire lookout. Given that the most common education level for forest fire lookouts is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become a forest fire lookout if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Forest Fire Lookout

In general, forest fire lookouts enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. They also report forest fires and weather conditions.

Forest fire lookouts relay messages about emergencies, accidents, locations of crew and staff, and fire hazard conditions. They also direct crews working on firelines during forest fires. Equally important, forest fire lookouts have to manage records and logbooks. They are often called upon to estimate sizes and characteristics of fires, and report findings to base camps by radio or telephone. They are expected to direct maintenance and up keep firefighting equipment, or requisition new equipment. Finally, forest fire lookouts examine and inventory firefighting equipment such as axes and fire extinguishers in order to establish  their condition.

Every day, forest fire lookouts are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for forest fire lookouts to administer rules regarding sanitation and related forest rules. They are often called upon to locate forest fires on area maps, using azimuth sighters and known landmarks. They also patrol assigned areas, looking for forest fires and weather phenomena. They are sometimes expected to examine forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures. Somewhat less frequently, forest fire lookouts are also expected to restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons.

They also have to be able to restrict public access and recreational use of forest lands during critical fire seasons and examine and inventory firefighting equipment such as axes and fire extinguishers in order to establish  their condition. And finally, they sometimes have to examine forest tracts and logging areas for fire hazards such as accumulated wastes or mishandling of combustibles, and recommend appropriate fire prevention measures.

Like many other jobs, forest fire lookouts must want to innovate to meet new challenges and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Overland Park include:

  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • 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 Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Fire Lookout Training

Johnson County Community College - Overland Park, KS

Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd, Overland Park, KS 66210-1299. Johnson County Community College is a large college located in Overland Park, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,062 students. Johnson County Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Kansas City Kansas Community College - Kansas City, KS

Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave, Kansas City, KS 66112. Kansas City Kansas Community College is a medium sized college located in Kansas City, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,800 students. Kansas City Kansas Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twelve students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

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: Overland Park, Kansas

Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas photo by Americasroof

Overland Park is located in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 171,231, which has grown by 14.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Overland Park, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Overland Park are valued at $408,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were constructed in Overland Park, down from three hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Overland Park are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and broadcasting and telecommunications. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 52.1% of Overland Park residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Overland Park is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Overland Park residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Christ Church, Adventist Church and Atonement Church are among the churches located in Overland Park. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Overland Park is home to the Windmill Square and the Westbrook Country Club. Shopping centers in the area include Cherokee Hills Shopping Center, Cherokee South Shopping Center and Trail West Shopping Center. Visitors to Overland Park can choose from Hampton Inn Overland Park- KS, Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites and Pear Tree Inn by Drury for temporary stays in the area.