Between the COVID-19 pandemic, more intense hurricanes, and ongoing wildfires impacting the western U.S., first responders are being challenged more than ever. While first responders are on the front lines during emergencies and face more danger than most people do in their occupations, they don’t earn much more. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these workers earn an average annual wage of $60,292, or about $4,000 more than the average across all occupations.
First responders generally include emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, and police officers. Among these occupations, police officers earn the most, on average, with an average annual wage of $70,000. Firefighters earn $56,360 per year, on average, while EMTs and paramedics earn just $40,370 annually.