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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Baltimore, Maryland

There are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Currently, 5,360 people work as forest firefighters in Maryland. This is expected to grow 10% to about 5,880 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for forest firefighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. 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 $23 hourly or $48,630 yearly on average in Maryland and about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for forest firefighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in Maryland, and not quite as good as the overall Fire Control category nationally. Jobs in this field include: wildland fire fighter specialist, handcrew foreman, and forestry technician .

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Baltimore where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among 102 schools of higher education total in the Baltimore area. 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 Baltimore 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.
  • Lifeguard. Monitor recreational areas, such as pools, beaches, or ski slopes to provide assistance and protection to participants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Forest Firefighter Training

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated four and three 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: Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland photo by Nfutvol

Baltimore is located in Baltimore City County, Maryland. It has a population of over 636,919, which has shrunk by 2.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Baltimore, 96, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Baltimore cost $139,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-three new homes were built in Baltimore, down from two hundred four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Baltimore are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, educational services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 19.1% of Baltimore residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Baltimore is 10.8%, which is greater than Maryland's average of 7.2%.

A W Wilson Memorial United Methodist Church, Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church and Rogers Avenue Synagogue are all churches located in Baltimore.

Baltimore is home to the Governors Yacht Club and the Oriole Park at Camden Yards as well as Venable Park and Eutaw-Madison Apartment House Historic District. Shopping centers in the area include Alameda Shopping Center, Village Square of Cross Keys Shopping Center and Waverly Tower Shopping Center. Visitors to Baltimore can choose from Four Seasons Complete Camper Care Center, Knights Inn and Hilton & Towers for temporary stays in the area.