Climate Change Makes Fire Science

an Even More Challenging Federal Career


By Kathryn Troutman,
President, Resume Place
October 17, 2018


Fire science offers a surprisingly broad range of federal jobs, only a fraction of them involving the adrenaline-inducing and exhausting trench work of fighting wildfires. Whether you’re an experienced fire scientist or a college student majoring in fields as diverse as forestry or engineering, taking a federal fire job can be an excellent career move with competitive pay and superior benefits.

There’s no question that climate change is increasing the demand for firefighters and fire scientists due to the growing number of wildfires – especially in the American west – as well as their larger size and lengthening season.

But fire science professionals are also needed in many other settings, to keep military women and men, civil service employees and others safe on government and private properties. Many professionals are needed to design, implement and maintain systems for fire prevention, protection, detection and suppression, from the Statue of Liberty to the mess hall on an overseas army base.

Whether you’re investigating a suspicious fire, saving a human life, or just calling out a faulty fire extinguisher, there’s plenty of potential in a federal career in fire science.


What kinds of fire science jobs does Uncle Sam offer?

USAJOBS lists many fire science jobs. Here’s a sample of recent vacancies. Some postings are for seasonal opportunities; most are permanent year-round positions.

Firefighter, Basic Life Support; GS-7; Headquarters, Air Force Space Command, Department of the Air Force, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; pays $46,815 to $60,857 per year. Provide basic life support, drive and operate firefighting vehicles, perform structural firefighting duties.

Qualifications

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: Applicants must have at least one (1) year of specialized experience at the next lower grade GS-06, or equivalent in other pay systems. Examples of specialized experience includes;

(1) controlling or extinguishing fires as a member of an organized military, industrial, volunteer, or governmental fire department or brigade;
(2) rescue operations;
(3) detection, reduction, or elimination of potential fire hazards;
(4) operation of fire communications equipment;
(5) controlling hazardous materials incidents and/or
(6) developing, implementing, or providing training in fire protection and prevention.

KEYWORDS FOR YOUR FEDERAL RESUME, OUTLINE FORMAT:

  • CONTROLLING OR EXTINGUISHING FIRES
  • RESCUE OPERATIONS
  • DETECTION AND REDUCTION OF POTENTIAL FIRE HAZARDS
  • OPERATION OF FIRE COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT
  • CONTROLLING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INCIDENTS
  • DEVELOPING TRAINING IN FIRE PROTECTION AND PREVENTION

Fire Protection Engineer; GS-13; Air Force Personnel Center at Norfolk Naval Base, Virginia; pays $87,252 to $113,428 per year. Develop, evaluate and make recommendations for fire protection and detection systems.
Keywords for your Federal Resume, Outline Format:

Qualifications

SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: At least one (1) year of specialized experience at the next lower grade (GS-12) or equivalent. Specialized experience must include professional knowledge of Fire Protection Engineering principles and practices applicable to the full range of engineering duties concerned with design of facilities with fire protection and detection systems necessary to serve as a Command technical authority for these systems. Responsible for providing expert advise on the interpretation and implementation of technical fire protection policy directives and programs, as well as review of plans and specifications for complex projects at all respective installations. Knowledge and skills necessary to develop, revise and maintain agency fire protection engineering guide specifications and criteria, as well as portions of agency technical handbooks for guidance of agency engineering specialists, and to furnish advise in the use and interpretation of assigned technical guides.

KEYWORDS FOR YOUR FEDERAL RESUME, OUTLINE FORMAT:

  • PROVIDE ADVICE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF TECHNICAL FIRE PROTECTION POLICIES
  • REVIEW PLANS AND SPECIFICS OF COMPLEX PROJECTS
  • DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN AGENCY FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEERING GUIDELINES
  • ADVISE ON USE AND INTERPRETATION OF TECHNICAL GUIDES

Fire Management Specialist (Prescribed Fire and Fuels); GS 9-11; Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs in Dulce, New Mexico; pays $50,769 to $79,855 per year. Plan and execute prescribed wildlands burns to mitigate risk of catastrophic fires.

Qualifications

Specialized Experience: Experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills and abilities to perform successfully the duties related to fire program management. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization.

For GS-9: Experience in at least two of the following three categories:

1. Experience that demonstrated understanding of fire effects on cultural and natural resources. The assignments must have shown participation in activities such as:

  • Developing fire management plans to ensure plan objectives can be met from a fire management standpoint
  • Conducting field inspections before and/or after prescribed fires or wildland fires to determine if objectives have been met

2. Prescribed fire/fuels management – experience in activities such as:

  • Professional forest and range inventory methods and procedures (e.g. Brown’s planar intercept for dead and down fuels; live fuel loading assessment)
  • Analysis of fuel loadings and determination of appropriate fuel treatment methods and programming
  • Evaluating prescribed fire plans or fire management plans to ensure containment is possible and identify appropriate suppression contingencies if containment is not obtained

3. Fire management operations – analyzing and applying fire management strategies, plus experience in at least four of the following activities:

  • Mobilization and dispatch coordination
  • Fire prevention
  • Training
  • Logistics
  • Equipment development and deployment
  • Fire communication systems
  • Suppression and preparedness

KEYWORDS FOR YOUR FEDERAL RESUME, OUTLINE FORMAT:

  • UNDERSTANDING OF FIRE EFFECTS ON CULTURAL OR NATURAL RESOURCES – FIELD
  • INSPECTIONS
  • PRESCRIBED FIRE/FUELS MANAGEMENT
  • FIRE MANAGEMENT OPERATIONS
  • FIRE PREVENTION
  • TRAINING
  • LOGISTICS
  • SUPPRESSION AND PREPAREDNESS

Supervisory Fire Protection Specialist; GS-11; Army Installation Management Command, Fort Wainwright, Arkansas; pays $67,930 to $88,312 per year. Develop, implement and evaluate fire prevention training programs.

Qualifications

Specialized Experience: One year of specialized experience which includes performing fire prevention and life safety inspections, determining proper emergency response/equipment needs in an emergency situation, and reviewing plans/applying proper codes according to regulatory requirements. This definition of specialized experience is typical of work performed at the next lower grade/level position in the federal service (GS-10).

KEYWORDS FOR YOUR FEDERAL RESUME, OUTLINE FORMAT:

  • BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
  • EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT EQUIPMENT
  • PERFORM FIRE PREVENTION AND LIFE SAFETY INSPECTIONS
  • FIRE ENGINEERING
  • MANAGING HUMAN RESOURCES
  • PARTNERING
  • WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

Fire Protection Inspector; GS-8; Department of the Army, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; pays $47,049 to $61,168 per year. Inspect facilities applying codes, regulations and standards to reduce the risk of fire and life safety hazards.

Qualifications
Specialized Experience: One year of specialized experience that may have been gained while serving as a firefighter or fire inspector, completing fire risk management surveys, public education activities, engineering plan reviews, and responding to all-hazards emergencies. This definition of specialized experience is typical of work performed at the next lower grade/level position in the federal service (GS-07).

KEYWORDS FOR YOUR FEDERAL RESUME, OUTLINE FORMAT:

  • EMERGENCY RESPONSE
  • FIRE PREVENTION, INSPECTION, AND CODE COMPLIANCE
  • FIRE/LIFE SAFETY TRAINING, PUBLIC EDUCATION, AND OUTREACH
  • ORAL COMMUNICATION
  • WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

What’s required to qualify for a federal fire science job?

Like many federal employment opportunities, fire science jobs typically require a degree in a related field, or a combination of education and experience. Fire scientists come with an unusually broad range of bachelor’s degrees, from forestry and natural resources management, to agriculture, entomology, biology, chemistry, physics and statistics.

Qualifying work experience might include building construction and code; fire detection, protection, and suppression systems; fire prevention procedures; knowledge of fire behavior and effects; and health, safety and environmental practices and regulations.

Why are the keywords so important for each federal resume?

Because the Human Resources Specialists are LOOKING for these skills in your resume. Make it EASY for them to find these skills in your resume!


How do I apply for a federal job? Where do I get help?

Whether you’re a soon-to-be graduate or a seasoned fire scientist, if you haven’t ever applied for a federal job, you’ve got a few things to learn. The federal resume, for one, must be much longer and more detailed than the one you send out for a private-sector job.

Learn exactly how to apply for a civil-service job with my soft cover Federal Resume Guidebook, 6th Edition. Or just contact us.


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