How To Become A Firefighter

Firefighters are our unsung heroes. They demonstrate courageous acts of heroism and, undoubtedly, seeing an image of a firefighter making a rescue attempt of someone from a burning structure is really captivating. Their work is the epitome of courage, bravery, and dedication to service.

As the name suggests, the main role of a firefighter is to put out potentially lethal fires that endanger people and their property. However, over the years, the work of firefighters has extended far beyond putting out fires. Firefighters now perform daring rescue missions for people caught up in catastrophic accidents such as a collapsed structure, car collisions, burning house, and other disasters.

The risk of hazards that threaten human life and property has surged over the years and this has seen a rise in demand for people with firefighting skills. Thus, if you’re considering a career as a fire fighter, you’re headed for one of the most fulfilling careers anyone can have. If you naturally like helping people out of difficult situations, you’ll find firefighting a particularly satisfying job.

Becoming A Firefighter

Besides the will and courage to face some of the most daring challenges, you’ll need to train for specialized firefighting skills that will enable you meet the strenuous demands of the job.

Working as a firefighter is hard work, and so becoming one should naturally be hard as well. You have to cope with a lot of rigors and disheartening challenges during training, and this partly explains why a significant number of trainees abandon their efforts prematurely. Recruitment is fiercely competitive as potential recruits go through a series of grueling tests to assess both their physical and mental readiness to handle the stresses of firefighting.

The first thing you’d have to do is to acquire skills as an emergency medical technician (EMT). Normally, this is a pre-requisite requirement that most fire departments ask for, given the high number of medical emergencies that those departments respond to.

You may also boost your chances by enrolling for a technology class. While this is not a requirement, it may be the difference when you’re up against tough competition for a firefighter’s job.

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As you gain the aforementioned skills, you may also want to keep a spotless profile. Thorough background checks are typically carried out for every potential candidate for a firefighting job. And it applies to almost all serious professions, so make sure your conduct is always good because you never know when the bad things you did in the past will come back to haunt you. In the same regard, mind your weight and general health. As earlier mentioned, firefighting requires high levels of physical and mental fitness and staying physically fit pays a lot during recruitment time.

Finally, you might want to familiarize with the hiring process of the fire department to which you’re applying. Unfortunately, this is something that most candidates overlook yet it is one of the most important factors when seeking a job as a firefighter.

This is basically what you need to do to stand a chance of becoming a local hero in your community. Get familiar with the fire department you want to join and ask as many questions as possible.


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What Do Firefighters Do?

No doubt you would want to know what it is exactly that firefighters do before you invest your money, time, and energy preparing to become one.  You definitely need to have an idea of what you’re getting into. Regardless of what your level is, there is always something new to learn about the career you’re pursuing.

Fire departments if different places have minor differences in the way they operate, and so, the duties of a firefighter in one department may differ (slightly or drastically) from those of a firefighter in another department. The work of firefighters is commonly depicted in television dramas and Hollywood, and it’s not rare to see those gallant individuals seated around a table, eating and laughing at jokes, or even resting during day time. On television, firefighters are rarely portrayed as ‘busy’ people. However, this portrayal is very unrealistic at best. That is not the usual routine in many fire departments. Admittedly, the aforesaid television portrayal may be routine for a couple of days in some fire departments – respond to a call or wait for the next one. But many times, firefighters may be occupied with other duties when they’re not responding to a call. Whether it’s some housework to be done or doing some routine training to be the best they can, firefighters are always occupied.

If you’re an aspiring firefighter, it would do you a lot of good to realize that there’s more to a firefighter’s work than merely responding to calls and lounging around the kitchen area waiting for the next emergency. It’s really surprising to find some newly recruited firefighters in a department who suddenly shun responding to Band-Aid calls, or dislike responding to medical calls, or dislike public education events, or hate any other duty that may arise. It’s not uncommon to hear of complaints where some firefighters don’t like performing certain duties or even plead ignorance of how to go about certain tasks.

So before any prospective firefighter decides to pursue firefighting as their career, they must realize that the job entails doing things that seem out of the typical job description of a firefighter. You need the necessary skills to accomplish a range of tasks and at short notice most of the time. Fortunately, the department that takes you up will show you how to accomplish the majority of those tasks, but you’ll also be expected to have a few basic skills with you acquired through experience or training.

Some experienced firefighters claim that a firefighter ought to have knowledge of about 26 trades, including plumbing, electrical engineering, and carpentry, automotive, among others. Of course, this seems unrealistic and even impossible, but firefighters are routinely called on short notice to do tasks related to other trades.

Most people tend to forget that it is firefighters that you call in the middle of the night when you’re stuck and can’t figure out how to accomplish something and the repair shop is closed. And in most cases, firefighters will stop the problem at the very least and then direct you to the relevant contact that will solve the problem completely.

So by now, you should have figured out that a firefighter’s job is not just about putting out fires and rescuing people from danger, but it entails helping out with almost any difficulties that people face in their everyday lives. Firefighters serve the community and country at large by making a difference in people’s lives, besides the mandatory rescue missions that are the core of their work. If you want to make it a worthwhile career, be ready to embrace the challenges that the firefighting job presents, otherwise you’ll end up unhappy and frustrated.

Learn more about firefighters by reading our block, but also firefighter news here.

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Requirements To Become A Firefighter

Working as a fighter is as hard as becoming one. Firefighters work under some of the most stressing conditions, and at times life threatening. In fact, many firefighters have lost their lives right in the middle of doing their duties – trying to rescue others. So before you embark on efforts to become one, it’s prudent that you get to know what it takes and some of the challenges you’re likely to face.

It’s fiercely competitive to be recruited as a firefighter. The interviews can be grueling and demanding, which partly explains why almost 70 percent of prospects abandon their dreams of becoming a firefighter and opt for other choices. There are various reasons for this though, but most times, it’s due to lack of adequate preparation or not knowing what you’re getting into.

Without further ado, let’s get into the requirements needed to become a firefighter, in no particular order, and hopefully by the time you’re through reading them, you’ll be in better position to embark on your efforts of becoming a firefighter.

Become a volunteer – Firefighting is a service to the community and fire departments prefer individuals who demonstrate a desire to serve the community. The best way you can demonstrate this is through past volunteer work, whether or not your experience is related to fire. Also, if you’re just starting out, volunteering is a good way to gain useful references, so seek any volunteering role you can do. The Red Cross and a host of other humanitarian organizations always have openings for volunteers so check regularly for volunteer openings.

Get Emergency Medical Technician Certification (EMT) – Currently, the majority of calls received at fire departments are related to medical emergencies. Unsurprisingly, medical technician skills are becoming a requirement when applying for a firefighter position in many fire departments countrywide. Those that don’t need EMT certification may request after hiring you, so it makes sense to get it as you prepare to apply.

Enlist for a fire technology class – You realize that you’ll be up against fierce competition when you apply to become a firefighter, so you must do anything and everything that will add weight to your profile. While taking a fire technology class is not a pre-requisite for becoming a firefighter, it shows that you have commitment and dedication. It means a lot that someone takes the initiative and prepares for their dream job. What’s more, many fire departments normally look to fire academies when recruiting.

Maintain a polished background – Whatever you think, having a spotless background is going to be the only differentiator in some instances. It’s a known fact that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, and recruiters know this all too well. If your background is plagued by a series of problems such as arrests, parking tickets, domestic violence issues, and more, then it will be harder for you to make it through, especially if the competition has the opposite.

Go through the recruitment phases – This doesn’t mean that you should practically do all the drills and tests of the firefighter recruitment process. It means that you should get acquainted with all the recruitment phases that you have to pass successfully. Of course, the recruitment process is different for every department, but the basics are the same across the board. Do some thorough research about the department you’re applying to or one in your area. Get to know how they conduct their recruitment interviews, whether it is through oral interviews, written tests, physical agility, and more.

These tips should give you a good overview of what it takes to apply for a firefighter job. However, mastering them doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the job – just as there are no guarantees in life – but you’ll be in a better position than your competition nonetheless.

Become a firefighter

So, are you ready to become a firefighter? Read this post to learn more about the process.

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What It’s Like To Be A Firefighter

Firefighting has remained one of the most noble and heroic professions today, even when the times couldn’t get more cynical. Obviously, anyone aspiring to become a firefighter would love to know what it’s like to be a firefighter. Normally, the portrayals we see in movies about the day-to-day lives of firefighters are simply romanticized versions of the real-life activities.

So in this article, we’ll get an idea of what it’s really like to be a firefighter.

Job Overview

Generally, firefighters put out fires and rescue people and property from burning structures. However, putting out fires is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a great deal of heroic courage and determination to go into a burning building as others are rushing out.

Besides putting out fires, firefighters attend to people who are hurt in accidents or those that become suddenly ill at home; they rescue people trapped in buildings; and they may also do ambulance services where necessary to rush people in critical condition to the emergency room. Depending on the region and the particular fire department, some firefighting personnel work to prevent future fires (fire marshals and inspectors). In short, firefighters work where there’s danger and that is why their work is called dangerous work.

Firefighters earn between $29,000 and $46,000 per year and receive a host of benefits including disability, health, and retirement. Their work typically rotates in 24-hour shifts and no two days can be the same in this profession. Work is very unpredictable and varied.

Responding to Calls

One of the hallmarks of a firefighting profession is responding to emergency calls, and it’s almost always at short notice. For their own safety, firefighters have special gear that they must wear when responding to an emergency, especially a fire. Other emergencies that firefighters usually respond to include auto accidents and medical emergencies, among others.

Increasingly, many fire departments are putting emphasis on medical emergencies given the fact that the majority of emergency calls are medical cases, at least for most fire departments.

However, a firefighter’s day is not entirely spent answering emergency calls. Moreover, not all calls require a lot of activity. Some emergencies may be solved on phone and in other cases, calls may involve non-emergency situations and false alarms. In fact, a big proportion of a firefighter’s workday is spent responding to non-emergency calls.

The Gear

In a typical fire emergency, a firefighter will wear a face mask and an air tank for breathing. However, the tanks are usually heavy and the breathing is problematic, not to mention the difficulty of navigating a location that is unfamiliar. But the gear, when worn properly, will protect the firefighter from extreme conditions such as heat and smoke. The material used for the fire-resistant outer gear is called Nomex.

Below the bunker gear, a firefighter wears lightweight cotton clothing and this is usually what you’ll see them wearing at the station when not responding to an emergency. Synthetics are not good for wearing as underneath because they can’t stand extreme heat and can easily melt. On the other hand, cotton allows the wearer’s body to ‘breathe’, preventing steam from building up in conditions of high heat.

For the shoes, leather boots are used and are made of either leather or rubber. They are lined with a fire resistant layer as well as an insulation layer to warm the feet in cold conditions or provide cooling in hot environments.

Overall, you can only get a rough idea of what a typical day is like for a firefighter. Unless you’re one, you can’t really know what it’s like.


Are you perhaps interested in becoming a firefighter? You should take a look at some of these articles;

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Should I Become A Firefighter?

So you’re undecided whether to pursue a career as a firefighter or not? Seeking information from those who know is definitely a prudent step that will help you make an informed decision.

Firefighters are among the select few professionals of unsung heroes, alongside policemen and military personnel. But firefighters hold a special place in the community because they work closely with people, helping them solve everyday issues. This kind of work brings a satisfying feeling and keeps you motivated each day, even on bad days.

Reasons To Become A Firefighter

Firstly, firefighting is an adrenaline rush kind of profession that is both daring and exciting. There’s no other job where you’ll experience an adrenaline rush like a firefighter.

Firefighting is a teamwork profession, so the sense of camaraderie created is unmatched.

Another reason to become a fire fighter is that it requires minimal education requirements. There’s no need for a college degree and only a high school diploma will suffice.

When it comes to salary, firefighters are doing quite good and they receive a number of benefits that are typically generous.

If you want a job with security, this is the job for you. The great majority of firefighters belong to unions, so they’re not usually laid off easily.

Also, firefighters work flexible schedules and some credible sources have put the number of working days in a month to 10.

How Do You Become a Firefighter?

There’s no particular college degree required to become a firefighter. However, you must have at least a high school diploma and a series of other skills. Being involved in the community and volunteer work will boost your chances too. You must also keep in shape and be generally fit. There are numerous trainings you’ll undertake to prepare you with the necessary fire fighting skills.

Expect to face stiff competition when applying for a job in the fire service. Fire departments perform regular testing but it is still competitive to take the test. You should be ready to persevere in case you don’t get hired the first time. But usually, individuals with a background in community service, volunteering, and a clean record stand a higher chance. For more tips on how to become a firefighter, I recommend this.

What happens when you’re selected?

After you’ve been selected as a fire fighter, you’re taken through recruit school that lasts approximately five weeks. If you successfully complete the firefighting part, you’ll progress to the emergency medical technician (EMT) class, which takes approximately three months. You’ll also do physical training each day for two hours, which mainly entails weight training and running.

When you’re through with the EMT class, you’ll progress to the emergency vehicle operation (EVOC) class that takes about a month.

When you complete training, you’ll be placed in a fire department to complete a year’s probation with supervision from a company officer and a preceptor. Although you’ll be on probation, you’ll be working with the crew. Every quarter, you’ll be subjected to a test.

During your probation year, you will acquire knowledge of the initial due response location. Part of your probation requires that you ensure there’s enough coffee and you’ll need to have knowledge of how to use cleaning tools.

There’s no TV during your first year and be ready to be laughed at as you’ll be the subject of the majority of jokes. Obviously, these are all in jest but when you’re a rookie, you need to be able to contend with jokes every now and them. This isn’t a job for the weak hearted. Your team work skills must be impeccable but also, you should have initiative to work on your own.

Now you know what it’s like to become a firefighter, and what the first year in service entails. Go out and become a firefighter today..


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