- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports median annual wages of salaried rural and city firefighters were $44,260 in May 2008. Wild well or blowout fire fighting is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Specialty companies that fight major oil field fires employ firefighters in locations all around the world. Extensive travel is required and the hours are long, but specialty oil field wild well and blowout firefighters earn between $100,000 and $200,000 per year. Benefit packages typically include paid travel expenses, housing, meals, life, disability, dental and medical insurance and hazard bonuses.
- An oil field firefighter should be in good physical condition without any physical or mental impairments. Heavy lifting, climbing stairs, scaffolding, derricks and towers may be required. An oil field firefighter should have coordination, agility, strength and physical stamina. Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal are required to communicate with workers and management. Not for the faint-hearted, this profession requires mental alertness, courage, self-discipline and a positive mental attitude. Good judgement is imperative as firefighters must react quickly and decisively in emergencies. The majority of oil field firefighters are trained emergency response technicians, many are certified paramedics. Many oil and gas well firefighters gain experience serving in the United States military.
Oil field firefighters must be familiar with the properties of oil and gas. Although a degree is not mandatory for most fire fighting jobs, more and more positions as a firefighter in the oil field require a bachelor's or master's degree in petroleum engineering, petroleum production or industrial robotics. Ever-evolving oil well fire fighting techniques utilize robots for close-in dangerous work. Candidates with a background in industrial robotics may receive preference in hiring and the highest salaries.
- In addition to participating in company provided training programs, many oil field firefighters attend training sessions sponsored by the United States National Fire Academy. Coursework covers hazard assessment, toxic materials control, fire safety and drilling rig platform evacuation.
Employment Opportunity Outlook
- Oil and gas companies are drilling newly discovered reserves in remote and dangerous international locations. The high world demand for energy will continue to encourage further exploration. As the number of exploration ventures increase so will the need for wild well firefighters.