The Biden administration decided to provide “bonuses” to firefighters, increasing their pay to $15 per hour as he hopes to work with Congress to keep that dollar amount permanently. Biden stated, “The threat of western wildfires this year is as severe as it’s ever been. Right now, we have to act and act fast. We’re late in the game here.” A senior administration official said the goal was to ensure that firefighters are “fairly paid for the grueling and risky work that they’re willing to take on.” The skillsets that firefighters must have are good physical fitness, confidence, resilience, good communication skills, and working well under pressure.
Considering how at the minimum, it takes a high school diploma or a GED to become a firefighter, the raise is justified. For firefighters to improve their odds of getting employment or increasing their income, having both a fire and an EMS background is best.
They are exposed to hazardous health conditions, especially when it comes to carbon monoxide they inhale. “These courageous women and men take an incredible risk of running toward the fire, and they deserve to be paid and paid good wages,” Biden said. “You know that old expression, God made man that he made a few firefighters. Well, it’s true.”
In 2020 there were 58,950 wildfires compared with 50,477 in 2019, and around 10.1 million acres were burned in 2020, compared with 4.7 million acres in 2019.
There are some states in which firefighters earn the least money and other states where they earn more. But considering the wage increase, The Biden administration’s decision will make a difference not only from an economic standpoint, but the pay increase might be an incentive for others to explore a career in the field.
For now, The White House called the increase “short term solutions.” Congress in different states will soon come up with long-term solutions to secure the future of firefighters.