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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Grand Prairie, Texas

Fire fighters can find many career and educational opportunities in the Grand Prairie, Texas area. There are currently 26,260 working fire fighters in Texas; this should grow by 21% to about 31,770 working fire fighters in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for fire fighters, which sees this job pool growing by about 18.5% over the next eight years. Fire fighters generally control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

A person working as a fire fighter can expect to earn about $21 per hour or $45,300 per year on average in Texas and about $21 per hour or $44,260 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for fire fighters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Fire Control in Texas, and not quite as good as the overall Fire Control category nationally. Jobs in this field include: fire equipment operator, tail board worker, and volunteer firefighter.

There are seventy-four schools of higher education in the Grand Prairie area, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Prairie where you can get a degree to start your career as a fire fighter. The most common level of education for fire fighters is a post-secondary certificate. You can expect to spend a short time training to become a fire fighter if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fire Fighter

In general, fire fighters control and extinguish municipal fires, protect life and property and conduct rescue efforts.

Fire fighters decide on and attach hose nozzles, depending on fire type, and direct streams of water or chemicals onto fires. They also lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies. Equally important, fire fighters have to respond to fire alarms and other calls for assistance. They are often called upon to dress with equipment such as fire resistant clothing and breathing apparatus. They are expected to clean and maintain fire stations and fire fighting equipment and apparatus. Finally, fire fighters ready written reports that detail specifics of fire incidents.

Every day, fire fighters are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they exert themselves over and over again for long periods of time.

It is important for fire fighters to spray foam onto runways and rescue aircraft crew and passengers in air-crash emergencies. They are often called upon to examine buildings for fire hazards and adherence to fire prevention ordinances, testing and checking smoke alarms and fire suppression equipment as needed. They also salvage property by removing broken glass, pumping out water, and ventilating buildings to remove smoke. They are sometimes expected to establish firelines to inhibit unauthorized persons from entering areas near fires. Somewhat less frequently, fire fighters are also expected to examine fire sites after flames have been extinguished to insure that there is no further danger.

Fire fighters sometimes are asked to protect property from water and smoke using waterproof salvage covers and deodorants. They also have to be able to take action to contain hazardous chemicals that might catch fire or spill and participate in courses, seminars and conferences, and study fire science literature, to learn firefighting techniques. And finally, they sometimes have to lay hose lines and connect them to water supplies.

Like many other jobs, fire fighters must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Grand Prairie include:

  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • 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.
  • Forest Firefighter. Control and suppress fires in forests or vacant public land.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fire Fighter Training

Collin County Community College District - Plano, TX

Collin County Community College District, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093. Collin County Community College District is a large college located in Plano, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 21,000 students. Collin County Community College District has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated fifty 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.

LICENSES

FIRE PROTECTION PERSONNEL/FIREFIGHTER

Licensing agency: Texas Commission on Fire Protection
Address: PO Box 2286, Austin, TX 78768-2286

Phone: (512) 918-7100
Website: Texas Commission on Fire Protection

LOCATION INFORMATION: Grand Prairie, Texas

Grand Prairie, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas photo by Lothar1976

Grand Prairie is situated in Dallas County, Texas. It has a population of over 160,641, which has grown by 26.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Prairie, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Prairie are priced at $174,200 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-four new homes were built in Grand Prairie, down from 1,058 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Grand Prairie are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 19.3% of Grand Prairie residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Prairie is 8.7%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Grand Prairie residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.1%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, Celestial Church of Christ and Saint Andrew Church are some of the churches located in Grand Prairie. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Grand Prairie is home to Kennedy Middle School Football Stadium and Hendrix Park. Visitors to Grand Prairie can choose from Blue Sky Hospitality, Amerisuites and Comfort Inn for temporary stays in the area.