Firefighters play an important role in saving lives in both rural and urban communities throughout the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were more than 302,000 firefighters employed throughout the United States in 2010. Of these, almost 1,100 worked in the city of Buffalo, New York. Starting salaries for firefighters in Buffalo were significantly higher than the typical starting salary for firefighters nationwide.
The average salary earned by all Buffalo firefighters was $59,230 per year, as of 2010, according to the Occupational Employment Statistics provided by the BLS. The Bureau notes that starting pay for firefighters in Buffalo was generally around $43,730 per year. This pay was significantly higher than the typical starting pay for firefighters nationwide, which was $23,050 or less per year, according to the BLS.
The earning potential for Buffalo firefighters is significantly higher than the starting salaries for those working in this field. According to the BLS, the median salary for Buffalo firefighters was $55,810 per year in 2010. Those in the upper 25 percent of the pay scale made salaries in excess of $61,230 per year, while the highest-paid Buffalo firefighters brought home more than $86,650 on an annual basis.
Increases in Pay
The Buffalo fire department had a wage freeze in place until 2007. This changed when the firefighters' union negotiated a new contract that lifted the freeze that had been in place since the expiration of the firefighters' previous contract, which ended in 2002. When the contract was renegotiated in 2007, the firefighters secured a $5,000 increase in base pay, along with an agreement for a 3.4 percent annual increase thereafter. However, none of these were retroactive to the period between the contracts. As of 2009, the City of Buffalo listed the pay for all firefighters at $53,917 per year.
The job outlook for those in the firefighting field should remain positive through 2018, according to the projections made by the BLS. The Bureau indicates that the number of jobs in the field of firefighting will grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018. Given the higher than normal starting pay and greater earning potential for those working in the city of Buffalo, working for the Buffalo Fire Department might prove to be an attractive option for those hoping to enter the firefighting field.