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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Columbus, Ohio

For those living in the Columbus, Ohio area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. There are currently 19,830 working forest firefighters in Ohio; this should grow 9% to 21,630 working forest firefighters in the state 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.

Forest firefighters earn about $18 hourly or $38,700 per year on average in Ohio and about $21 hourly or $44,260 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as forest firefighters in Ohio earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. People working as forest firefighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: hot shot, firefighter, and forest ranger technician.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Columbus where you can study to be a forest firefighter, among sixty-three schools of higher education total in the Columbus 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 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 Columbus 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

Delaware Area Career Center - Delaware, OH

Delaware Area Career Center, 4565 Columbus Pike, Delaware, OH 43015-8969. Delaware Area Career Center is a small school located in Delaware, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 65 students. Delaware Area Career Center has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-three students in 2008.

Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County - Newark, OH

Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County, 150 Price Rd, Newark, OH 43055-3399. Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County is a small school located in Newark, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 510 students. Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated sixty-two students in 2008.

Columbus State Community College - Columbus, OH

Columbus State Community College, 550 E Spring St, Columbus, OH 43215. Columbus State Community College is a large college located in Columbus, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,203 students. Columbus State Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two 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: Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio photo by Xnatedawgx

Columbus is located in Franklin County, Ohio. It has a population of over 754,885, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Columbus, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbus cost $169,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred eighty-six new homes were constructed in Columbus, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Columbus are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is accommodation and food services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 29.0% of Columbus residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbus is 8.5%, which is less than Ohio's average of 10.0%.

The percentage of Columbus residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Hebrew Baptist Church, Heritage Temple Freewill Baptist Church and Higher Ground Always Abounding Assembly Church are all churches located in Columbus. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Columbus is home to the Busch Corporate Center Industrial Park and the J C Penney Catalog Outlet Store as well as Nafzger Park and Lower Scioto Park. Shopping centers in the area include Indianola Shopping Center, Ohio Stater Mall Shopping Center and Shapter Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbus can choose from Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center, Best Western Clarmont Inn and Crowne Plaza Downtown for temporary stays in the area.