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Wildfires Are Destroying the West Coast: Here’s How Much First Responders Make in Every State

Erica Corbin
·7 mins read
Wildfires Are Destroying the West Coast: Here’s How Much First Responders Make in Every State
Wildfires Are Destroying the West Coast: Here’s How Much First Responders Make in Every State

As wildfires rage from Washington down to California, displacing thousands of residents and destroying billions of dollars in property, first responders have stepped in to provide aid. Being on the front line in an emergency is a scary job, but someone has to do it. It turns out, though, they might not be doing it for all that much.

GOBankingRates looked at the salaries of emergency personnel, including firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and police officers in every state using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their salaries ranged widely across the country. For instance, firefighters in West Virginia make just $30,180 — $24,470 below the average U.S. salary for the profession. In California, on the other hand, firefighters are paid $84,370 but must contend with a higher cost of living and massive infernos every year.

So, are firefighters, police officers and EMTs and paramedics really making enough money to put their lives on the line every day? That’s a matter of opinion. To help you decide, GOBankingRates ranked and ordered the states from worst to best for emergency personnel. Find out whether or not these workers are making bank in your state.

Last updated: Sept. 11, 2020

50. Mississippi

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $32,480

  • Police annual wage: $36,290

  • Firefighter annual wage: $30,180

49. West Virginia

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $29,920

  • Police annual wage: $44,450

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,890

48. Kentucky

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $31,250

  • Police annual wage: $46,720

  • Firefighter annual wage: $34,030

47. Arkansas

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $34,660

  • Police annual wage: $40,570

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,730

46. Kansas

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $30,890

  • Police annual wage: $49,910

  • Firefighter annual wage: $37,250

45. Alabama

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $30,240

  • Police annual wage: $46,510

  • Firefighter annual wage: $41,870

44. South Carolina

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $34,670

  • Police annual wage: $43,520

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,360

43. Georgia

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $34,450

  • Police annual wage: $44,700

  • Firefighter annual wage: $38,900

42. North Carolina

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $38,270

  • Police annual wage: $47,340

  • Firefighter annual wage: $34,110

41. Louisiana

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $42,310

  • Police annual wage: $42,470

  • Firefighter annual wage: $31,150

40. South Dakota

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $32,620

  • Police annual wage: $49,690

  • Firefighter annual wage: $45,820

39. New Mexico

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $36,410

  • Police annual wage: $53,750

  • Firefighter annual wage: $36,620

38. Maine

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,690

  • Police annual wage: $53,170

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,430

37. Vermont

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,570

  • Police annual wage: $53,070

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,970

Find Out: What the Average Take-Home Salary Looks Like in Your State

36. Utah

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,630

  • Police annual wage: $56,170

  • Firefighter annual wage: $38,360

35. Oklahoma

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $36,170

  • Police annual wage: $48,060

  • Firefighter annual wage: $44,860

34. Tennessee

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $38,500

  • Police annual wage: $45,370

  • Firefighter annual wage: $44,400

33. Michigan

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $33,760

  • Police annual wage: $58,770

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,010

32. Montana

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $32,050

  • Police annual wage: $56,710

  • Firefighter annual wage: $51,880

31. Idaho

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $39,330

  • Police annual wage: $54,120

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,260

30. Wyoming

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,430

  • Police annual wage: $56,120

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,180

29. Wisconsin

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,940

  • Police annual wage: $63,970

  • Firefighter annual wage: $40,360

28. North Dakota

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,150

  • Police annual wage: $58,770

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,080

27. Ohio

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $34,020

  • Police annual wage: $62,880

  • Firefighter annual wage: $47,820

See: Best Places To Live on a $50,000 Salary in Every State

26. Missouri

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $37,120

  • Police annual wage: $51,860

  • Firefighter annual wage: $51,110

25. Indiana

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,350

  • Police annual wage: $56,780

  • Firefighter annual wage: $51,050

24. Iowa

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $36,720

  • Police annual wage: $59,730

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,640

23. Nebraska

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $35,500

  • Police annual wage: $58,860

  • Firefighter annual wage: $50,150

22. New Hampshire

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $37,710

  • Police annual wage: $58,820

  • Firefighter annual wage: $47,120

21. Virginia

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $36,040

  • Police annual wage: $58,330

  • Firefighter annual wage: $53,470

20. Florida

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $36,190

  • Police annual wage: $60,720

  • Firefighter annual wage: $51,300

19. Arizona

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $38,350

  • Police annual wage: $66,970

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,870

18. Texas

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $37,000

  • Police annual wage: $63,740

  • Firefighter annual wage: $54,760

17. Pennsylvania

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $34,310

  • Police annual wage: $68,940

  • Firefighter annual wage: $58,720

16. Minnesota

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $43,620

  • Police annual wage: $71,840

  • Firefighter annual wage: $39,390

15. Rhode Island

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $40,820

  • Police annual wage: $63,690

  • Firefighter annual wage: $56,150

14. Delaware

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $43,200

  • Police annual wage: $73,740

  • Firefighter annual wage: $46,390

13. Nevada

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $37,320

  • Police annual wage: $73,660

  • Firefighter annual wage: $69,310

12. Colorado

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $41,880

  • Police annual wage: $75,720

  • Firefighter annual wage: $63,050

11. Illinois

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $43,310

  • Police annual wage: $78,350

  • Firefighter annual wage: $58,170

10. Massachusetts

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $44,140

  • Police annual wage: $72,400

  • Firefighter annual wage: $62,680

9. Oregon

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $42,660

  • Police annual wage: $73,300

  • Firefighter annual wage: $68,540

Check Out: 20 Best Credit Unions for First Responders

8. Connecticut

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $46,510

  • Police annual wage: $73,270

  • Firefighter annual wage: $65,700

7. Maryland

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $50,750

  • Police annual wage: $71,170

  • Firefighter annual wage: $62,750

6. New Jersey

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $37,550

  • Police annual wage: $86,840

  • Firefighter annual wage: $80,890

5. Alaska

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $50,640

  • Police annual wage: $87,870

  • Firefighter annual wage: $54,380

4. New York

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $44,920

  • Police annual wage: $77,490

  • Firefighter annual wage: $75,160

3. Hawaii

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $56,610

  • Police annual wage: $78,720

  • Firefighter annual wage: $64,110

2. Washington

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $56,140

  • Police annual wage: $80,200

  • Firefighter annual wage: $76,970

1. California

  • EMT/paramedic annual wage: $43,680

  • Police annual wage: $105,220

  • Firefighter annual wage: $84,370

More From GOBankingRates

Photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the images may not reflect the states listed in this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined how much first responders earn in every state, using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics for May 2019 (latest data available) for the mean annual wages of three core first responder jobs in all 50 U.S. states: (1) police and sheriff’s patrol officers, (2) emergency medical technicians and paramedics and (3) firefighters. Each job’s salary was scored, added up and ranked from worst paying states to best. All data compiled on Sept. 9, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Wildfires Are Destroying the West Coast: Here’s How Much First Responders Make in Every State