A to Z Index  |  FAQs  |  About BLS  |  Contact Us    

Fighting fire with firefighters and related workers

October 09, 2014

National Fire Prevention Week occurs each year during the week that includes October 9, the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Today's edition of TED looks at employment and wages of firefighting and prevention occupations.

Employment and wages in fire fighting and prevention and related occupations in local, state, and federal government and other support services, May 2013
Industry Firefighters First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers Fire inspectors and investigators Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists
Employment Annual mean wage Employment Annual mean wage Employment Annual mean wage Employment Annual mean wage Employment Annual mean wage

Local government

275,240 $48,940 55,340 $73,240 78,340 $39,030 9,030 $59,640 590 $54,040

State government

5,490 $50,060 1,680 $68,110 5,780 $43,640 1,400 $50,530 1,100 $32,480

Federal government (Executive branch)

7,530 $48,420 1,310 $69,080 - - - - - -

Other support services

11,290 $31,240 850 $53,660 560 $37,240 50 $44,980 - -

Firefighters are the "boots on the ground" that put out fires and respond to emergency situations. In May 2013, over 90 percent of the workers employed as firefighters (275,240 of 302,870) were employed by local government. Federal and state government each employed several thousand more (7,530 and 5,490, respectively). Average annual wages for firefighters working in government ranged from $48,420 to $50,060. An additional 11,290 firefighters were employed in the other support services industry (which includes establishments engaged in fire fighting services as a commercial activity); their average annual wages ($31,240) were lower than firefighters employed in government.

First-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers direct the work of firefighters and work alongside them. Local government employed most first-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers (55,340). A few thousand more worked for state and federal government (1,680 and 1,310, respectively). Average annual earnings of first-line supervisors of fire fighting and prevention workers employed in government ranged from $68,110 to $73,240. The other support services industry employed fewer than a thousand of these first-line supervisors; their average annual wages were $53,660.

Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers (9-1-1 operators) answer emergency calls for help and coordinate the appropriate response. Local government employed 78,340 police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers in May 2013. State government employed 5,780. Annual average wages were $39,030 and $43,640, respectively.

These employment and wage estimates are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. Volunteer firefighters are not included in these estimates. More information about these and other occupations can be found in the Protective Service Occupations and Office and Administrative Support Occupations sections of the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fighting fire with firefighters and related workers on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20141009.htm (visited November 22, 2019).

OF INTEREST
spotlight

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics