The state of Alaska recorded 6.8 deaths and 23.6 injuries per 1,000 fires, while the national averages were 2.3 and 7.2 respectively. The statistics for residential structure fires were 22.9 deaths and 63.9 injuries per 1,000 fires, as opposed to the national averages of 6.5 and 20.9 respectively.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 960 firefighters were working in the state. If you want to help out improve this situation, you might want to note down the following information on how to become a firefighter in Alaska.
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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Alaska
Becoming a firefighter in Alaska involves several steps, and the requirements can vary slightly depending on the location and the specific role. Here’s a general outline of the process:
- Candidates must be at least 18 years of age (21 in some areas like Juneau), possess a valid driver’s license, and be in good physical health.
- Completing basic fire and EMS training is essential. The University of Alaska offers a Fire Science Associate degree in Anchorage, covering fire prevention, suppression strategies, and wildland fire control, preparing applicants for Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications. Ilisagvik University also offers a Fire Science program in collaboration with the North Slope Borough Fire Department, which leads to Alaska state EMT and Firefighter 2 examinations.
- The Alaska Firefighter Certification Program ensures standardized fire service training and certification across the state. This includes certifications for Basic & Apprentice Firefighter, Firefighter, Fire Apparatus Driver Operator, Fire Investigator, Fire Officer, Fire & Emergency Service Instructor, and Hazardous Materials handling.
- Candidates must be in excellent physical condition and able to pass fitness tests. Some positions require a high school diploma or GED, EMT or Paramedic certification, and certain levels of experience. For instance, preferred qualifications may include the State of Alaska Firefighter 2 certificate, EMT or Paramedic certification, and 2 years of full-time experience.
- Applicants may need to pass the Public Safety Testing written exam with a score of over 70%.
- In some areas, firefighters require training for specific situations, such as handling blazes near certain facilities or evacuating civilians, as in the case of the North Slope Borough Fire Department.
The path to becoming a firefighter in Alaska is comprehensive, demanding a blend of physical fitness, specialized training, and academic education. Each step is crucial in preparing candidates for the diverse and challenging role of a firefighter.
Salary of Firefighters in Alaska
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighter salary in Alaska was:
- Annual Mean Salary: $54,730.
- Annual Median Salary: $56,910.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Alaska
As per O*Net Online, firefighters in Alaska will enjoy a job growth of 2% between 2020 and 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Alaska
In Alaska, there are several notable training academies for new recruits aspiring to become firefighters:
- Located in Barrow, it offers a certificate course and an Associate’s degree in Fire Science/Firefighting. This public institution caters to both full-time students and offers online learning options for remote or employed students.
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
- Known for producing firefighters with exceptional physical and mental capabilities, it provides online and campus courses for an Associate’s degree in Fire Science/Firefighting, focusing on municipal fire control, hazardous material control, emergency medical services, and wildland fire control.
University of Alaska, Anchorage
- Offers an Associate of Applied Science in Fire and Emergency Services Technology, covering subjects such as building construction, safety and survival, and fire prevention.
These institutions are integral in preparing new recruits for the diverse and demanding role of a firefighter in Alaska.
1)Alaska Employment Trends – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=AK
2)Alaska Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/alaska.html