At one time, every one of today’s firefighters asked themselves this same questions. They also had doubts about whether or not they can measure up. Firefighters are just like everyone else, with hopes and dreams, families, worries, challenges, mortgages, wins and losses. “America’s heroes”, yes, but not super-natural, firefighters are just regular people who are dedicated to their careers and the communities they share.
How many jobs can you name where you can go to work and continuously be of service to people? Whether it is rescuing people from a burning building, extinguishing fires, rescuing crash victims, saving people from raging water, providing emergency medical care, or neutralizing a hazardous material spill, this profession is all about helping others.
Nearly every firefighter looks forward to each and every day at work. When you become a firefighter, you become part of a large united “fire family”. The firefighters you will work with become as close to you as your own family.
The pursuit of becoming a firefighter can be a successful one, only if you truly want it. This is not a career choice that you sort of want. You have to need it like needing oxygen. The competition is tough but those who are prepared to put their heart and soul into the process, are the ones who come out on top.
What do Fire Fighters do?
Emergency Response whenever Citizens call 911:
- Fires; building; vehicle; wildland; grass.
- Medical Emergencies; cardiac arrest; physical trauma; falls; sudden illness.
- Rescue; car crashes; water emergencies; hazardous materials spills; confined space entrapment; building collapse; severe storm emergencies; floods; victim search and recovery.
Training and Education
Firefighters must continue to keep up with new fire service technologies and current life safety issues and risks. Subjects will range from emergency medical treatments to chemistry of hazardous materials and building construction.
Firefighters who wish to be promoted must study additional subjects like, supervisory techniques, personnel management, budgeting, and public administration.
Fire Prevention and Public Education
Fire Prevention and Public Safety education are important parts of a firefighter’s job. They visit schools to teach fire safety to children and conduct public demonstrations to help the citizens understand what they need to know to stay fire safe and prevent injuries to themselves and their families.
Recruitment education to help young people learn about fire fighting as a career.
Building Inspections to help building owners keep their businesses safe for their employees and the public. Most fires are preventable with a good fire prevention program.
Fire cause investigation is a large part of fire department’s mission. Determining the cause of fires helps firefighters know what to teach people to prevent more fires.
Determining the cause of fires can also lead to identifying arson suspects for criminal prosecution. Arson is a crime and stopping arson is important to the safety of the community and to firefighter safety.
Firefighters must be ready at any time of day and in most large cities, they work a 24 hour shift starting at 8:00 AM and are on duty until 8:00 AM to next day. Firefighter shifts are on a rotating schedule that allows for 24 hours on and 24 hours off for a series of three shifts then they are off duty for 4 days (96 hours) in a nine day cycle.
Firefighters eat and sleep at the fire station during their shift day. They have a normal 8 hour work period, when they do training, inspections and public education classes. After 5:00 PM their time is their own to exercise, study, do recreational activities in the station. If there are no fire calls they are able to sleep in a dorm room, until they are relieved by another shift at 8:00 AM the following morning. Emergency calls that come in during their shift pre-empt everything else they are doing as they respond to the call, whatever it may be.