Mississippi firefighters work hard day in and day out to prevent and combat fires. With its 419 fire departments always ready to fight fire, the residents of Mississippi can sleep peacefully at night. As per the information provided by the US Fire Administration, Mississippi recorded 3.9 deaths and 3.5 injuries per 1,000 fires.
There were 2,690 firefighters employed in Mississippi as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are passionate about working in this field, then you ought to know the following details regarding how to become a firefighter in Mississippi.
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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Mississippi
To become a firefighter in Mississippi, here are the key steps and requirements based on information from reliable sources:
- Employment or Sponsorship by a Fire Department: The applicant must be employed or sponsored by a fire department.
- Minimum Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- Document Submission: Applicants need to provide a completed MSTAT Physical Fitness Program form, a complete MSFA General Application for Firefighter I-II Program, a copy of photo driver’s license or government-issued photo ID, a copy of high school diploma or GED, a current CPR Card, and proof of Emergency Medical Care Requirements or First Responder Training.
- High School Diploma or GED: Candidates should hold a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
- S. Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen with no felony convictions or other serious criminal backgrounds.
- Valid Driver’s License: Must possess a valid driver’s license.
- EMT Certification: The state mandates all firefighters to be certified as an EMT or a Paramedic. Firefighters must also be able to perform CPR and hold valid certifications in both.
- Physical and Psychological Health Assessment: Candidates must pass physical and psychological health assessments, including a background check.
- Training at Fire Academy: It’s mandatory to acquire 16-week firefighter 1 module training from the fire academy, or training/volunteering at a local Fire Station/Department.
- Mandatory Tests: Candidates must clear a series of tests, including the Candidates’ Physical Agility Test (CPAT), written exam, oral interview, and complete background check.
- Joining a Fire Academy or Fire Department: Once hired, candidates are required to complete the basic Firefighter course within 1 year. This course typically takes about 6 weeks to complete.
- Time to Employment: It may take about 1-2 years to get hired as a firefighter in Mississippi, depending on the degree and certifications completed.
- Associate or Bachelor’s Degree: While a high school diploma is sufficient, enrolling in an associate degree program in fire science or a related field can benefit the applicant. Most local fire departments or stations prefer candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in Fire Science.
- Specialist Training and Certifications: For higher roles and administration positions in the service, additional specialist modules and certifications are advisable.
The steps and requirements to become a firefighter in Mississippi are designed to ensure that candidates are well-prepared for the diverse and challenging nature of firefighting, including responding to fire alarms, conducting search and rescue operations, medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, and situations involving hazardous materials.
Salary of Firefighters in Mississippi
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighter’s salary in Mississippi was:
- Annual Mean Salary: $33,790.
- Annual Median Salary: $32,450.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Mississippi
O*Net Online has projected an 11% growth in employment opportunities for firefighters in Mississippi between 2020 and 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Mississippi
In Mississippi, there are several certified training academies for new firefighter recruits. These academies provide the necessary training and education to prepare individuals for a career in firefighting. Here are some of the notable ones:
Mississippi State Fire Academy (MSFA)
- Located in Jackson, the MSFA is a primary facility for firefighter training in the state. They offer a range of courses for both rookie firefighters seeking initial certification and those looking to advance their education in specialist roles.
- The state fire academy claims to train approximately 15,000 students each year and provides both on-campus and off-site training programs.
Northwest Mississippi Community College (Senatobia)
- This community college offers programs in fire science and related fields. These programs are designed to provide foundational knowledge and skills for aspiring firefighters.
Hinds Community College (Raymond)
- Located in Raymond, Hinds Community College provides educational programs in fire science and emergency response, catering to both aspiring and current firefighters.
Meridian Community College (Meridian)
- The Fire Protection Technology Program at Meridian Community College offers a comprehensive educational path for firefighters. It starts with an entry-level certificate and progresses to a technical certificate and an associate degree. These programs cover essential skills and techniques for firefighting and fire management.
These academies and colleges provide structured training programs that include physical training, theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and emergency response techniques. They are crucial for preparing new recruits for the challenges of firefighting and ensuring that they meet the professional standards required in the state of Mississippi.
1)Mississippi Employment Trends: 33-2011.00 – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=MS
2)Mississippi Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/mississippi.html