Firefighters are called upon to respond to all types of emergencies. They protect people, the environment and property from various accidents and hazards, such as car crashes, flooding, electrical faults and of course fires. Firefighters must be highly motivated and able to work well under pressure. They spend much of their time on call at their local fire station, but also conduct routine inspections and training drills. They may also provide emergency medical services and assist in the removal of hazardous materials from disaster sites.
Fire departments are always looking to hire the best people for their teams. It’s important to have a clear and accurate job description that helps you find candidates who are a good fit. You can use this template as a guide, but feel free to tweak it and add details that are relevant for your fire department.
The job of a firefighter involves the use of specialized equipment to remove and control hazardous materials. Firefighters also have a role in the community, where they educate people on safety issues and help them prepare for emergencies. They carry out community workshops, and visit schools and businesses to talk about the importance of fire safety. They are often the first people to attend a medical emergency, and they provide basic assistance until paramedics arrive.
In addition to the above tasks, firefighters are trained to survey properties for fire risks and enforce regulations. They are also responsible for ensuring that firefighting water is available at an emergency scene by testing hydrants and requesting or expediting repairs. Firefighters may also be required to inspect and maintain their own equipment, as well as the fire engines they drive.
Working conditions for firefighters can be challenging, particularly if they are called out to a serious incident. They are required to work long hours and may be away from their homes for days at a time. Firefighters also face the risk of exposure to a range of cancer-causing chemicals.
Firefighters are exposed to a variety of contaminants on the fire ground through inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption. Compounds such as cyanide, phenol, formaldehyde and vinyl chloride can be absorbed through the skin, while carcinogens like benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and nitrosamines are emitted into the air during burning substances. These are then inhaled by the firefighter and can enter the bloodstream through the lungs.
As a result of these factors, the life expectancy for firefighters is lower than for the general population. Many firefighters develop cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and arrhythmias. In addition, they have a high prevalence of respiratory disorders and mental health problems. Several studies have shown an increase in risk of cancer, especially lung and bladder cancer. Modifiable factors that can reduce the risk of these illnesses include a healthy diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation and sun protection. However, cancer rates in firefighters remain relatively high despite these protective measures.