I know it sounds cliché, but not everyone out there knows the exact specific requirements for someone in the firefighter job role. There are many different hats you have to put on as a firefighter and not all of them are as glamorous or fabled as some of us would like to believe. We like to believe what we see on movies and television that every part of a firefighter’s job role is based solely on rushing in to the rescue to save someone from a burning building, or getting out the jaws of life to pull someone from a burning wreck. While all that is good for press and gets viewers, it’s not everything a firefighter is nor can expect to encounter in their daily life. In order to give you some insight into the daily life of a firefighter, I am going to present you two separate lists of what most people think of when trying to become a firefighter, as well as what most people don’t think of.
Here is List #1 that contains some of the more publicized things you can expect to experience in your daily life as a firefighter:
- Respond to Fire Alerts/Alarms and Put Out Fires
- Respond to Emergency Calls for Emergency Medical Services
- Use Life Saving Techniques to assist people in need of medical assistance
- Respond to Hazmat Exposure Requests to assist in sequestration and cleanup
- Respond to Traffic Accidents and other Health Jeopardizing Incidents
- Perform any and all responses up to State Regulatory Guidelines
Below list #2 which provides you the additional tasks you can also expect to do in your daily life as a firefighter that you typically don’t see on television or in the media:
- Clean and Inspect all Firefighting Equipment
- Wash Fire Trucks
- Clean and inspect the Fire Barracks
- Enthusiastically participate in training exercises
- Routinely brush up on knowledge of the city you are working in, including streets and building location
- Study and be aware of your closest geographic water supplies
- Enter service calls/requests into content management systems
- Assist in non-life threatening situations such as assisting and training how to install a child car seat properly.
- Study the city’s safety handbook
- Assist in Fire Prevention Demonstrations
- Assist with local health agencies to visit and talk to individuals that may have been subject to local fire trauma
- School Presentations for Youth Programs
The reality is that you probably aren’t going to do everything on either of these lists every day, and you probably won’t do everything on list #1 or list #2 all in one day either. You will probably have a really good mix of the two. Becoming a firefighter is one of the most prestigious yet thankless careers. The reality is that most people try to get into this field after watching something publicized by the local media or other media outlets. To jump into this career just based on what’s out there in popular media is not the best choice. The reality is that you are going to end up somewhere in between and the most important thing to realize is that you are going to have to deal with a lot more tasks than you probably didn’t plan on, which is why it’s a good idea to get out and visit fire stations, make friends in the industry and talk to firefighters directly about their daily lives and their direct job responsibilities.
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- Associate of Science in Fire Science
- Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration
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