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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in Warwick, Rhode Island

If you want to be a forest firefighter, the Warwick, Rhode Island area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,470 working forest firefighters in Rhode Island; this should grow 1% to about 1,480 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. In general, forest firefighters control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

Income for forest firefighters is about $23 hourly or $48,560 annually on average in Rhode Island. Nationally, their income is about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year. Incomes for forest firefighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in Rhode Island, 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: forestry technician , smoke chaser, and forest ranger.

There are fifty-one schools of higher education in the Warwick area, including four within twenty-five miles of Warwick where you can get a degree to start your career as a forest firefighter. 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 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 Warwick 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

Bristol Community College - Fall River, MA

Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree St, Fall River, MA 02720-7395. Bristol Community College is a medium sized college located in Fall River, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,100 students. Bristol Community College has 2 areas of study related to Forest Firefighter. They are:

  • Fire Science/Firefighting, associate's degree which graduated 9 students in 2008.
  • Fire Protection, Other Specialties, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Providence College - Providence, RI

Providence College, River Ave and Eaton St, Providence, RI 02918-0001. Providence College is a medium sized college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,180 students and an admission rate of 45%. Providence College has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.

Community College of Rhode Island - Warwick, RI

Community College of Rhode Island, 400 East Ave, Warwick, RI 02886-1807. Community College of Rhode Island is a large college located in Warwick, Rhode Island. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,612 students. Community College of Rhode Island has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Massasoit Community College - Brockton, MA

Massasoit Community College, One Massasoit Boulevard, Brockton, MA 02302-3996. Massasoit Community College is a medium sized college located in Brockton, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,394 students. Massasoit Community College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eighteen 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: Warwick, Rhode Island

Warwick, Rhode Island
Warwick, Rhode Island photo by Marcbela

Warwick is located in Kent County, Rhode Island. It has a population of over 84,483, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Warwick, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Warwick are priced at $129,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, thirty new homes were constructed in Warwick, down from forty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Warwick are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.5% of Warwick residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.9%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Warwick is 11.5%, which is less than Rhode Island's average of 12.2%.

The percentage of Warwick residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 67.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Warwick Bible Chapel, Warwick Central Baptist Church and Warwick Christian Fellowship Church are all churches located in Warwick. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Warwick is home to the Kent County Chamber of Commerce and the Community College of Rhode Island Learning Resources Center as well as Apponaug Historic District and Salter Grove State Park. Shopping malls in the area include Buttonwoods Plaza Shopping Center, Buttonwoods Shopping Center and Clocktower Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Warwick can choose from Fairfield Inn Providence/Warwick, Extended Stay America and Courtyard by Marriott for temporary stays in the area.