A firefighter is a first responder and rescuer extensively trained in extinguishing hazardous fires that threaten life, property and the environment. They also provide emergency medical care and help with hazardous materials, such as oil spills and chemical accidents.
How to Become a Firefighter
The first step in becoming a firefighter is to get certified. The certification involves passing a series of tests and earning an apprenticeship position under a qualified firefighter. You must pass a physical agility and fitness test, a written exam and a psychological evaluation. In addition, you must undergo a background investigation and drug screening.
Depending on where you live, the hiring process for firefighters will vary. Some departments only require an applicant to submit a resume and letters of recommendation. Others will require you to complete a rigorous interview and background check, which could take months or longer.
Firefighters work long hours and often sleep in their fire trucks, which can be very noisy as they respond to emergencies. They may need to lift heavy equipment and move large objects, as well as carry victims out of burning buildings.
They are also responsible for checking and repairing fire-fighting vehicles, equipment and tools. They also inspect hydrants and provide public education about fire safety.
The job requires great strength and stamina, a cool head under pressure and impeccable verbal communication skills. You need to have a strong desire to serve your community and a dedication to working with people who are in need.
If you want to climb the ladder of success in the fire service, your best bet is to stay active and continue learning. Attending fire school and earning advanced certifications or college degrees in fire science can increase your salary and responsibilities.
How to Be a Firefighter
In the United States, firefighters typically work under the supervision of an experienced firefighter or chief. The chief usually has a supervisor and several other rank-and-file firefighters under him or her. These fire officers are called brigade commanders, and they supervise divisions of about 30 firefighters.
During their time off from an emergency, firefighters often go to a fire station and perform duties like evaluating the equipment and practicing drills. They are also expected to eat and sleep.
A firefighter’s work can be stressful, and they are prone to developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition occurs when an individual suffers flashbacks or other negative feelings after witnessing a traumatic event. It can affect your daily activities, including work performance and relationships.
Other ways in which the work of a firefighter differs across countries include the nature of the equipment and tactics used. Some departments focus on engine and ladder companies, while others make heavier use of aerial appliances.
The work of a firefighter is unpredictable, and they must be able to adapt to any situation that arises. They must be able to communicate with other firefighters, and they must have the ability to handle a multitude of tasks quickly and efficiently.