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Career and Education Opportunities for Forest Firefighters in West Valley City, Utah

For those living in the West Valley City, Utah area, there are many career and education opportunities for forest firefighters. Currently, 1,970 people work as forest firefighters in Utah. This is expected to grow by 21% to 2,380 people by 2016. This is better than 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.

Forest firefighters earn about $15 hourly or $33,030 annually on average in Utah 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 Utah 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: ranger, rescue worker, and fire technician.

The West Valley City area is home to thirty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of West Valley City where you can get a degree as a forest firefighter. Forest firefighters usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn 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 West Valley City 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

Davis Applied Technology College - Kaysville, UT

Davis Applied Technology College, 550 E 300 S, Kaysville, UT 84037-2699. Davis Applied Technology College is a small college located in Kaysville, Utah. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,750 students. Davis Applied Technology College has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated twenty-six 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: West Valley City, Utah

West Valley City, Utah
West Valley City, Utah photo by Joe Tordiff

West Valley City is situated in Salt Lake County, Utah. It has a population of over 123,447, which has grown by 13.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in West Valley City, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in West Valley City are valued at $108,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, ninety-eight new homes were constructed in West Valley City, down from two hundred thirty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in West Valley City are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 11.4% of West Valley City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 2.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in West Valley City is 8.3%, which is greater than Utah's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of West Valley City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 67.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Atonement Lutheran Church and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church are some of the churches located in West Valley City. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

West Valley City is home to the Valley Indoor Market Place and the Mini Warehouse Condominium. Shopping malls in the area include Redwood Shopping Center, Valley Fair Mall and Granger Shopping Center.