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.