Undertaking the job of a firefighter is perhaps one of the most difficult and challenging jobs that one can do. Firefighters work in complex environments, and much of their work begins only after intense training and studying. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are over one million firefighters in the United States. While most of the firefighters in the United States are in active duty, meaning that they provide rescue work and address fire emergencies, a small percentage also manages fire departments by ensuring that all operations run as smoothly as possible. Those that are looking to venture into a firefighter career will find information below about the typical job function. For information on the typical firefighter work schedule, you can check out this page here.
A professional firefighter has a number of duties that can vary, depending on the environment. Firefighters are trained individuals whose main duty is to provide the community with protection during fire disaster situations. Firefighters are trained to extinguish fires in both residential and community areas, and to ensure overall public safety.
The most important duty of a firefighter is to address emergency situations. These situations constitute times when a fire needs to be extinguished and individuals need to be evacuated from a certain area. In addition to these duties, firefighters are also capable of providing medical attention to injured individuals. Fire response situations are also the most dangerous type of situation for a firefighter, as it usually becomes the case that a firefighter is risking his or her own life. In order to properly address fires, firefighters are often able to lift heavy equipment, navigate through burning buildings, and use strength intensive tools such as axes, sledge hammers, power tools, and battling rams.
Apart from extinguishing fires and safely evacuating buildings from individuals, firefighters are also able to provide medical care at the level of most trained EMTs. When one pursues a firefighter career, he or she is required to also undergo EMT training. This training allows firefighters to provide victims with proper care, such as tending to burns, stabilizing the victim, and helping the victim regain consciousness.
To become a firefighter, one needs to be able to work intensive hours around the clock, be able to work in a team setting, and to also be completely dedicated to tasks. While a high school degree can provide a segue into a firefighting career, many departments are also realizing the potential of those who have associate or bachelor degrees in fire science and engineering. The knowledge base and skills that these degrees provide enable potential firefighters with a solid understanding of how to manage fires and reasons that fires are created. Once accepted into a program, individuals must take a course that spans a number of weeks, along with training classes. Upon completion, trainees will gain a vast amount of knowledge in medical emergencies, building codes, fire prevention, emergency medical procedures, hazardous material control, and more.
Earning Potential and Job Growth
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the firefighter profession is expected to grow 7% in the coming years. Those that are employed as firefighters can expect to earn an average of $45,250 per year.
Overall, while becoming a firefighter is not easy, it is well worth it, as it is a gratifying profession and the rewards of protecting people are endless.