A firefighter is a trained professional who specializes in handling emergency situations. Their main job is to respond to fires and other emergencies, but they also often work on medical calls, rescuing the injured, educating the public, and more.
A typical day in the life of a firefighter starts with a phone call or alert that there is a fire. Then, they will quickly suit up in the appropriate safety gear and climb aboard a fire truck. They may be driving one of several types of trucks, including ones that carry water or pump it, aerial ladder trucks that raise rescue ladders to high floors, and fire engines.
Once on the scene, the firefighter must quickly extinguish the flames by using a variety of tools and equipment. Then, they must provide first aid and help transport the injured to an ambulance or other medical facility.
In addition to fighting fires, firefighters are usually required to maintain tools and fire vehicles, run drills, and keep themselves in good physical shape for the demands of the job. They also travel to the community to educate people on fire prevention, and they sometimes go out into the field to help fight wildfires or oil spills.
To become a firefighter, you need to be at least 18 years old and have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. You must also pass background checks, a drug test, and a psychological evaluation. You may also need to take a physical ability test to demonstrate your fitness for the job.
You may be able to get a job as a firefighter without a degree, but the more qualifications you have, the higher your chances of getting a job. Health and safety qualifications are a good start, as are specialised management training.
There are a number of colleges and universities that offer degrees in fire science. Some of these programs are two-year degrees, while others require four years of study.
Some of these programs are online, which means that you can work and earn your degree at the same time. This is especially useful if you have family or children who need care during your work hours.
A typical firefighter’s pay depends on the level of education and experience they have, but it can be quite high. Those who have more than five years of experience can make more than $100,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You can find a firefighter career by applying directly to a local or regional fire service, or by seeking out private employers such as insurance companies that hire experienced firefighters to protect their clients’ homes from fires. In addition, some fire services contract with private companies to respond to fires in oil wells or other hazardous environments.
The job is physically demanding, and requires the ability to climb, move heavy objects, lift, run, and balance. It can be stressful and challenging, but there’s a lot of job satisfaction in knowing you are helping people out of dangerous situations.