How to Become a Firefighter


Firefighters are first responders trained to control and extinguish fires that threaten life and property, and to rescue people from confinement or dangerous situations. They also provide a variety of highly responsible prevention activities including accident investigation and fire code enforcement, hazardous materials response, emergency medical services and fire suppression training. Male firefighters are often referred to as firemen. Firefighters usually work in a team environment and must be physically strong, mentally sharp, and able to work under pressure.

To become a firefighter, you must complete several months of physical and classroom training, as well as basic medical procedures. You must be able to operate heavy equipment such as oxygen tanks, the jaws of life, hydrants, and hoses, as well as drive fire trucks and other vehicles. Depending on the role, you may also be required to handle flammable or explosive materials, and use specialized techniques such as fire-suppression fluids and foam.

Once you are a firefighter, you must remain on call 24 hours a day, in case the need arises to respond to an emergency. During this time, you must stay at the fire station and perform routine inspections of your equipment as well as practice drills with other members of the department. You are also expected to perform public education duties, such as presenting about fire safety at schools. Some firefighters are specialized in handling hazardous materials, and may be sent to sites where oil spills or chemical accidents occur.

Firefighters are often the first to arrive at a scene of a medical emergency, and are trained to provide basic first aid until paramedics or other medical professionals take over. As a result, they must be physically fit and possess good health and stamina. In addition to this, they must be able to carry and operate heavy equipment, as well as perform a number of dangerous tasks such as climbing ladders and dragging heavy hoses.

Typically, firefighters are paid on an hourly basis, and their salary will vary depending on the size of the fire department, as well as its reputation in the community. Generally, the median annual salary for a firefighter is $67,440. However, this figure can vary widely between departments, so it is important to research salaries in your area before applying for a position. You can find a list of local departments, as well as their salaries, on the National Fire Protection Association’s website.

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