Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers
Supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers oversee and coordinate the activities of personnel involved with fire fighting and fire prevention and control. They serve as the leader of a fire, helicopter, hand or engine crew. Some supervisors are involved with forest environments, whereas other supervisors work in municipalities. The vast majority of fire fighters supervisors are employed by government agencies.
Supervisors of firefighters protect the public and property from the dangers of fire. While on duty, firefighters and prevention workers supervisors need to be prepared to immediately respond to a fire. Supervisors assign specific tasks to fire fighters. A firefighter's duties can change several times while the crew is at a scene.
When a forest fire occurs, forest fire fighting and prevention workers supervisors oversee fire fighters suppressing the fire with heavy equipment and water hoses. They also supervise the construction of fire lines which includes cutting down trees and removing appropriate combustible types of vegetation in order to deprive the fire of fuel.
- Evaluate the location, size and condition of fires
- Provide the details of fires to subordinates and superiors and interagency dispatch centers
- Position equipment in order to contain fires effectively and safely
- Keep fire suppression equipment in good condition
- Monitor prescribed burns to make sure they are performed effectively and safely
- Determine staff training and development needs and arrange for appropriate training
- Stay current with fire laws and fire prevention strategies and techniques
- Determine best strategies for rescuing people
- Provide emergency rescue services
- Evaluate the performance of fire fighters
Fire fighting has a high risk of injury or death. Municipal supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers may also come into contact with radioactive materials and flammable, poisonous or explosive gases and chemicals which can have immediate or long-term negative effects on their health.
Many firefighters work about 50 hours per week or more. In some agencies, firefighters are on duty for 24 hours which is followed by being off duty for 48 hours and they get an additional day off at intervals. Other fire fighters have different work schedules. Fire captains and lieutenants often work the same hours as the firefighters they supervise.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 19 percent employment growth for fire fighters between 2008 and 2018 which is faster than average for all occupations. The employment growth of fire fighting and prevention workers supervisors may be linked to the employment growth of fire fighters. In addition, the median annual earnings of first-line supervisors/managers of fire fighting and prevention workers in 2008 was $67,440.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Candidates for fire fighter jobs are typically required to have a high school diploma. Completing some secondary education or acquiring an associate degree in fire science may improve an applicants chances for getting a fire fighters job. Numerous colleges and universities offer two-year and four-year degrees in fire engineering or fire science.
Promotions to supervisors and other positions depends on job performance, the results from written examinations, seniority and interviews. Increasingly, fire departments are utilizing assessment centers which simulate various job performance tasks, to screen for the best candidates for promotion.
Many fire departments require candidates for positions higher than battalion chief to have a bachelor's degree in fire science, public administration or a related subject. A master's degree is necessary for executive fire officer certification from the National Fire academy and also for State chief officer certification.
The top employers are local governments.
Schools for Supervisors Of Fire Fighting And Prevention Workers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.