How to Become a Firefighter


Firefighters work in dangerous situations and must be physically able to handle the demands of the job. They must also be able to remain calm and think clearly in emergency situations. They must also have good communication skills and be a team player.

A person who becomes a firefighter must have the following qualifications:

The first requirement is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent and then complete a vocational certificate program, associate degree program or bachelor’s degree in fire science. This program is usually one or two years long. Then, a person must pass physical and agility tests and obtain a certification of medical fitness. In addition to these requirements, a person must also be a citizen of the United States and 18 years or older.

Once a person has obtained the required educational and training qualifications, he or she must then undergo the testing process to become a firefighter. The testing will include written and verbal exams as well as a physical exam. The physical exam is usually the most important part of the process since it will determine if a person is able to perform the essential duties of the firefighter position.

A firefighter must be able to read and write technical materials, rules, regulations and procedures. This is especially important because it allows him or her to understand and interpret information from a variety of sources in a quick and accurate manner. In addition, firefighters must be able to operate and perform basic service maintenance on all types of fire fighting equipment, both manually operated and motorized. Firefighters must also be able to identify various hazardous materials and be able to use them appropriately.

Another important characteristic is courage. Firefighters routinely enter burning buildings and other unsafe environments to rescue people and put out fires. They must be willing to face danger and be able to overcome the fear of hurting or killing someone. They must also be strong and able to carry heavy loads, such as water hoses or injured victims.

In addition to fighting fires and other hazardous situations, firefighters must be able to provide emergency medical care. Many firefighter positions require them to have at least a basic level of medical training. This allows them to respond to medical emergencies while other rescue workers are on their way. Firefighters must also be able deal with the emotional stress of witnessing traumatic events.

The FDNY is organized into five borough commands, each headed by a borough chief. Each command is further divided into four to seven battalions, each of which is headed by a battalion chief. Additionally, each battalion is further subdivided into company groups, which are headed by lieutenants. Finally, each battalion is further subdivided by engine companies, ladder companies, rescue companies and support services. This organizational structure allows the FDNY to efficiently and quickly respond to fires, hazardous materials incidents, transportation accidents, natural disasters, public works problems, EMS calls and other emergency situations.

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