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Career and Education Opportunities for Fire Fighters in Huntington, West Virginia

Huntington, West Virginia provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for fire fighters. Currently, 790 people work as fire fighters in West Virginia. This is expected to grow 10% to 870 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fire fighters are expected to grow by about 18.5%. 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 $14 hourly or $29,940 yearly on average in West Virginia and about $21 per hour or $44,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fire Control, people working as fire fighters in West Virginia earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Fire Control nationally. People working as fire fighters can fill a number of jobs, such as: safety officer, volunteer fire fighter, and fire fighter/emt.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Huntington area, including two within twenty-five miles of Huntington 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. It will take a short time to learn to be 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 Huntington 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

O C Collins Career Center - Chesapeake, OH

O C Collins Career Center, 11627 State Rte 243, Chesapeake, OH 45619-0000. O C Collins Career Center is a small school located in Chesapeake, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 550 students. O C Collins Career Center has a less than one year program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Ashland Community and Technical College - Ashland, KY

Ashland Community and Technical College, 1400 College Drive, Ashland, KY 41101-3683. Ashland Community and Technical College is a small college located in Ashland, Kentucky. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,550 students. Ashland Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Fire Science/Firefighting which graduated one student 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: Huntington, West Virginia

Huntington, West Virginia
Huntington, West Virginia photo by DelanoPatterson

Huntington is situated in Cabell County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 49,185, which has shrunk by 4.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Huntington, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Huntington cost $195,100 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, sixteen new homes were built in Huntington, down from thirty-five the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Huntington are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is health care, educational services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 22.4% of Huntington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Huntington is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 24.7% of Huntington's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Huntington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 42.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Glorious Church of God in Christ, South Side United Methodist Church and Good Samaritan United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Huntington. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Huntington is home to the Northcott Hall and the Foster Memorial Home as well as Holderby Commons and United States Post Office and Courthouse Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Westland Plaza Shopping Center, Fairfield Plaza Shopping Center and Huntington Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Huntington can choose from Super 8, Cabell Huntington Hospital and Garden Park for temporary stays in the area.