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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Louisville, Kentucky

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for forest firefighters in the Louisville, Kentucky area. About 3,940 people are currently employed as forest firefighters in Kentucky. By 2016, this is expected to grow 23% to 4,830 people employed. This is better than 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.

Income for forest firefighters is about $14 hourly or $29,600 yearly on average in Kentucky. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year. Earnings for forest firefighters are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Fire Control in Kentucky and not quite as good as general Fire Control category earnings nationally. Forest firefighters work in a variety of jobs, including: fire technician, smoke eater, and forest ranger.

There are thirty schools of higher education in the Louisville area, including one within twenty-five miles of Louisville where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. The most common level of education 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 Louisville 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

Jefferson Community and Technical College - Louisville, KY

Jefferson Community and Technical College, 109 E Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202-2005. Jefferson Community and Technical College is a large college located in Louisville, Kentucky. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,560 students. Jefferson Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirteen 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: Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky photo by File Upload Bot

Louisville is located in Jefferson County, Kentucky. It has a population of over 261,624. The cost of living index in Louisville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Louisville are priced at $74,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2002, one hundred forty-six new homes were built in Louisville, down from two hundred seventy-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Louisville are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.3% of Louisville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.7%, is higher than the state average.

About 21.6% of Louisville's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Louisville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.6%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Audubon Church, Expressway Church and Southern Baptist Seminary are some of the churches located in Louisville. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Louisville is home to the Oak Saint Yards and the Brooklawn Childrens Home as well as Central Park and Taylor Memorial Park. Visitors to Louisville can choose from The Galt House, Seelbach Hilton and Best Western Airport East for temporary stays in the area.