What Do First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers Do?
Fighting fires can be a dangerous but rewarding job. First-line firefighting supervisors are responsible for directing and keeping the fire fighters under them safe when putting out a blaze, as well as managing them the rest of the time. Whether you’re a forest or a municipal fire fighter, you’ll work directly on site, combating fires with the workers under you while coordinating their efforts. When no fire threatens, you’ll be busy training people, maintaining equipment and performing the administrative and personnel-related duties of any supervisor.As fires are a constant public safety concern, there is always a need for fire fighters, as well as people to supervise them. While the number of employed firefighting supervisors is expected to only go up 6% from 2012 to 2022, because of turnover and retirements an estimated 3,000 positions will open annually nationwide.
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers Skills and Abilities
Firefighting supervisors must know about public safety procedures and strategies, and have the decision making and critical thinking skills to be helpful in emergency situations. You also need a degree of physical ability. To be an effective supervisor also requires knowledge of personnel management, administration and training techniques. Finally, strong communication skills are essential for you to effectively direct the workers under you and be sure they understand your instructions.
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers Duties
Forest and municipal firefighting supervisors have some different responsibilities related to the specifics of the locations. As a forest fire fighter and prevention supervisor you may direct controlled-burn projects and look into special issues such as railroad fires, while municipal firefighter supervisors have to conduct fire drills and inspect buildings to determine whether they’re meeting the fire code.Both positions have in common the managing and direction of the personnel under you. As a firefighting supervisor, you’ll be training workers in particular firefighting techniques, as well as helping educate the public in fire prevention. Outside of emergencies, you’ll have administrative duties such as handling personnel records and evaluating worker progress, as well as maintaining the fire suppression equipment. In the field you’ll be responsible for assessing the fire’s nature, cause and potential danger, and assigning firefighters to specific tasks to best combat it, as well as coordinating and directing rescue efforts. You may also investigate possible cases of arson along with false alarms and other hazards.
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers Tools and Technology
Firefighting supervisors must be familiar with the fire suppression equipment used by you and the workers you oversee. Depending on whether you handle forest or municipal fires, that can include:
- Fire trucks and water tenders
- Portable fire pumps
- Extinguishers, chemical and other
- Fire axes and other hand equipment
Supervisors must also use databases to track reports of fire incidents as well as personnel records, and analytical software for modeling fire effects and developing prevention plans.
Education and Training for First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers
Most firefighting supervisor positions call for some postsecondary education, though having a four-year degree is not always necessary. An associate’s degree or other courses or certification in fire prevention is generally sufficient. Previous experience firefighting may be required, usually less than five years, and you’ll get on-the-job training.
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers Salary
As a managerial position in a dangerous field, firefighting supervisors make quite good wages. The lowest paying positions offer around $40,000 a year, while the median salary is approximately $70,000, and the highest-paid supervisors earn over $112,000 a year.
First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers Jobs by Geography
Firefighting supervisors are in demand all over the country. If your specialty is forest fires you’re most likely to find employment in a state or national park, while the majority of municipal firefighting supervisors are located in cities and larger communities. In general, populous areas require more firefighters, with some of the best paying jobs found in California, New York and Illinois.