According to the US Fire Administration, Ohio recorded 3.3 deaths and 14.3 injuries per 1,000 fires. The national average was 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries per 1,000 fires. Firefighters in Ohio are always hard at work to combat fires in order to minimize the loss of life and property.
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According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18,790 firefighters are working in the state, which puts it fourth on the list of states with the highest employment level for firefighters in the entire country.
Steps to Become a Firefighter in Ohio
To become a firefighter in Ohio, there are several steps and requirements that must be fulfilled:
- Age: Must be at least 18 years old.
- Education: Possession of a high school diploma or GED.
- Driver’s License: A valid driver’s license is required.
- Physical Fitness: Candidates must be physically fit.
- EMT Training: While not mandatory, EMT training is preferable.
- Application: After meeting the minimum requirements, candidates can apply to a fire department.
- Written Test: This is a crucial part of the hiring process. For example, in Cincinnati, it accounts for 60% of the total score.
- Physical Agility Tests: These may include a stair climb, ladder raise, dummy drag, equipment carry, and self-rescue. These tests are often timed.
- Interviews and Background Checks: The interview process can vary between departments. Some may conduct thorough background checks including polygraph and drug testing.
- There are numerous colleges and fire academies in Ohio that offer fire training or fire science programs. Programs differ in terms of length, courses, and qualifications offered. Some provide associate degrees and transferable credits for management roles, while others are shorter entry-level courses.
- The Firefighter I and II certification program prepares individuals for entry-level positions. Training covers topics required by the Ohio Revised Code for Career Firefighters and NFPA 1001.
- Successful completion of the Firefighter I and II training program at institutions like the Tri-C’s Fire Training Academy leads to earning credits towards an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire-Emergency Medical Services.
- Upon completion, students receive Certification in Hazardous Materials/WMD — Awareness and Operation levels, and State of Ohio Practical Skills Certification. They are then eligible to take the Ohio Firefighter I and II certification exam.
- Age Requirement: Candidates must be at least 18 years of age.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Training: Must complete specific FEMA training courses.
- Firefighter Training Course: Completion of a firefighter I or II training course through a chartered program is required.
- Emergency Vehicle Operations Course: This course includes a minimum of 16 hours of training, both classroom and hands-on driving.
- Hazardous Materials Training: At least 24 hours of training in hazardous materials awareness and operations.
- Emergency Medical Care Training: Minimum of eight hours of training.
- Examinations: Candidates must pass both practical skills and knowledge examinations.
- Application Submission: A completed “Firefighter, Fire Safety Inspector, or Hazard Recognition Officer Initial Application” must be submitted within 90 days of passing the knowledge examination.
Each step in this process is designed to ensure that candidates are well-prepared and qualified to handle the responsibilities and challenges of being a firefighter in Ohio.
Salary of Firefighters in Ohio
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in Ohio made:
- Annual Mean Salary: $52,290.
- Annual Median Salary: $49,900.
As a point of reference, below are the starting salaries of firefighters of two major and important Ohio fire departments.
|Columbus Division of Fire
|59,041.83 per year
|Cleveland Division of Fire
|61,251.68 per year
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Ohio
O*Net Online predicts a 5% increase in employment opportunities for firefighters in Ohio from 2020 to 2030.
Firefighters Training Academies in Ohio
In Ohio, there are several certified training academies for new recruits aspiring to become firefighters. These academies offer comprehensive training programs that align with nationally recognized standards, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for a career in firefighting. Here are some of the notable firefighter training academies in Ohio:
Ohio Fire Academy
- This academy’s mission is to provide fire service personnel and allied professionals with training, education, and accredited courses. These courses are designed to meet nationally recognized standards, aiming to enhance the safety and proficiency of Ohio’s Fire Service.
Fire Training Academy at Cuyahoga Community College
- This program offers the Firefighter I and II certification, preparing individuals for entry-level positions in professional firefighting. The curriculum is geared towards providing the foundational knowledge and skills needed for a successful career in firefighting.
Sinclair Fire Academy
- Chartered by the State of Ohio, Sinclair’s Fire Academy provides certified firefighter and rescue training. This includes training offered at off-campus sites within the Miami Valley region. They also offer specialized training upon request, catering to a wide range of firefighting and rescue scenarios.
Butler Tech’s Fire Rescue Academy
- Located at the Public Safety Liberty Twp Campus, Butler Tech’s Fire Rescue Academy offers evening programs designed to prepare individuals for a rewarding and challenging career in firefighting. This academy focuses on providing practical skills and knowledge that are essential for modern firefighting.
Central Ohio Technical College – Fire Science Technology Program
- Students at this college attend classes at the Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. The program is a full-time, daytime course, which includes some evenings and weekends as necessary. This program is structured to provide intensive training over a 10-week period.
Each of these academies offers a unique blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills training, ensuring that new recruits are well-equipped to handle the diverse challenges of a firefighting career. Whether you prefer a traditional college setting or a specialized fire academy, Ohio provides a range of options to suit different learning preferences and career goals.
1)Ohio Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/ohio.html
2)Become a Firefighter | City of Cleveland Ohio: https://www.clevelandohio.gov/city-hall/departments/public-safety/divisions/fire/become-firefighter
3)Selection Process – City of Columbus, Ohio: https://new.columbus.gov/Government/Jobs/Firefighter-Jobs/Selection-Process
5)Ohio Employment Trends: 33-2011.00 – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=OH