The firefighter is a person who suppresses active fires, rescues people trapped in buildings and other structures, and provides emergency medical care. They also clean up and salvage damaged property. They are often members of a sworn unit with a command structure similar to the military or police.
The job requires a lot of physical activity, so you must be physically fit. It requires a quick response time and excellent communication skills. It also involves working in a fast-paced environment, with a high level of stress.
Being a firefighter is a great way to be of service and help your community. It also provides you with a sense of accomplishment for every life you save.
To become a firefighter, you need to meet the minimum qualifications of your local fire department and the state. In some cases, you will also need to have a valid driver’s license and a medical certification.
Volunteering as a firefighter is an excellent opportunity to gain experience and see what the role is like before you commit to it full-time. The training you will receive is intense, and it can take a long time to complete.
Firefighters respond to calls for help and attend incidents at local and national levels. They may also be responsible for preparing reports, investigating and controlling fires.
Usually, firefighters work 40-48 hours per week, with shifts that can vary depending on where they live and their roles. They can also be on call or have part-time or flexible jobs.
You must be able to cope with a variety of stressful situations and deal with people who are very distressed and often very angry. The role can be emotionally demanding, and you may have to witness some distressing scenes involving fire and accidents.
Career progression for a firefighter can involve promotions and becoming part of specialist units such as rope rescue or search-and-rescue. There are also opportunities to go on to train as a paramedic or to become a member of the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE).
Being a firefighter is one of the most important and rewarding careers you can pursue. The satisfaction that comes from saving lives is unparalleled.
You must have an innate desire to help others, to be of service and to protect the people around you. It is also a great opportunity to develop your leadership and problem-solving skills.
A successful firefighter will be able to assess the situation, provide immediate assistance and follow instructions from superiors. They will also need to know the limits of their knowledge, so they can ask for help when necessary.
Health and safety risks for a firefighter are many and varied, including exposure to chemicals, toxic substances, extreme temperatures, work at height, manual handling, electricity, moving vehicles and inclement weather. The job can also involve a number of other hazards such as falling objects, collapsing buildings and other dangerous situations.
Personal qualities needed for a firefighter include confidence, determination, self-discipline and good interpersonal skills. You should also have a strong desire to save lives and be able to make decisions under pressure.