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Fire Service Operations

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(formerly Private Protective Services)

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Fire Service Operations—Career Opportunities

Using appropriate methods and equipment, fire science personnel attack and extinguish fires, cope with hazardous materials incidents, and are familiar with rescue techniques. In addition, they can administer emergency medical assistance to injured persons, maintain fire-fighting apparatus and equipment, conduct fire inspections and investigations into the cause and origins of fires, and are knowledgeable of general building construction and related building codes. They also prepare and submit various fire and inspection reports, prepare and conduct training programs for in-house and outside personnel and supervise firefighters in emergency and non-emergency situations. Fire science personnel may work in urban and suburban areas, airports, chemical plants other industrial sites, and rural areas like grasslands and forests.

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Retrieved May 18, 2011)

Job Outlook
Although employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all jobs, candidates for these positions are expected to face keen competition because these positions are highly attractive and sought after.

Employment Change
Employment of firefighters is expected to grow by 19 percent over the 2008-18 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Most job growth will stem from volunteer fire-fighting positions being converted to paid positions. In recent years, it has become more difficult for volunteer fire departments to recruit and retain volunteers, perhaps because of the considerable amount of training and time commitment required. Furthermore, a trend toward more people living in and around cities has increased the demand for firefighters. When areas develop and become more densely populated, emergencies and fires affect more buildings and more people and, therefore, require more firefighters.

Job Prospects
Prospective fire fighters are expected to face keen competition for available job openings. Many people are attracted to fire fighting because it is challenging, provides the opportunity to perform an essential public service, and a pension is usually guaranteed after 25 years of service. Consequently, the number of qualified applicants in most areas far exceeds the number of job openings, even though the written examination and physical requirements eliminate many applicants. This situation is expected to persist in coming years. Applicants with the best chances are those who are physically fit and score the highest on physical-conditioning and mechanical aptitude exams. Those who have completed some fire fighter education at a community college and have EMT or paramedic certification will have an additional advantage.

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Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Pkwy., Palos Hills, IL 60465-2478 
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