What does it take to become a firefighter?

When someone decides they want to become a firefighter, they are searching for a very rewarding career. Being a firefighter means you want to help people and be a big part of your community. It's not just putting out fires or saving lives, it is the constant caring about people and their health and making the community a better and saver place to live. This is a career you will not hate going to work and you will look forward to going to work every day. Being a firefighter means that you become part of a huge and caring family. One of the most outstanding advantages of being a firefighter is the job security. This job is a very long term commitment and usually ends up being a life long career. Very rarely do you ever see a firefighter looking for a job. They are a firefighter for the long term duration and never get tired of saving lives.

A firefighter has a lot of pride and satisfaction in their work and just feels good about what they do.

The decision to become a firefighter is one that has to take careful consideration; you must be very dedicated to the choice you make. A firefighter must have a lot of courage and want to risk their lives to save other people. You must be very unselfish and very devoted. Becoming a firefighter is not an easy task, it takes a lot of long hours studying and training. When training to become a firefighter you must train with the most effectiveness as possible. Becoming a firefighter is a very competitive and tough career to choose. The long hours to become a firefighter and the long hours of being a firefighter is sometimes not desired by many. But for the men and women who have become a firefighter, the rewards of saving lives and touching so many lives is more gratifying to them than the long hours they are subjected to. Firefighters take on a lot of physical and psychological exams and go through an extensive criminal and background check just to get accepted into the program. It's not just a basic job that you simply fill out an application, have an interview and get the job.

A firefighter has to have certain characteristics to be considered into the program. They have to be able to work well with others and take orders without attitude. They need to be very flexible and self motivated. A firefighter needs to be able to handle a lot of stress and stay calm when situations are dangerous and threatening. The most important quality they search for when looking for firefighters is the ability to be empathic toward others and be able to be supportive when things are falling apart.

Some of the daily responsibilities include responding to incidents involving emergency calls, watch duty which includes manning the phones and notifying all parties when and emergency call comes in. A firefighter is also responsible for on scene communication which provides complete coordination of all firefighter personnel during their arrival to the scene and during the emergency. Another responsibility involves driving the fire trucks to and from the emergency scenes and operating the emergency apparatus of the fire truck. That is why it is important to have an outstanding driving record and no previous incidences. The firefighter has to be an outstanding citizen in all areas, not just with a driving record.

A firefighter must learn and perfect the pump operations of the fire truck and fire hydrant; including hoses, spanner wrenches and knowing the proper pressure and volume that should be used. Being properly trained on all fire extinguishers and what types are used for each type of fire you come in contact with. Learning the mechanical and manual operation of all ladders on the fire trucks and how to properly handle them when raising them and lowering them. Another very important task they must master is how to properly force entry into buildings that are on fire and the proper way to determine which entry is safe and not safe.

Firefighters need to know exactly what type of ventilation is available and how to increase the ventilation by opening doors or windows without compromising the scene. The median salary is 25,000 to 45,000 a year depending on the state you decide to work for. California is one of the top states for working firefighters, making in the 45,000 figures. A state like Georgia is more on the scale of 25,000 yearly. The disadvantages include the odd hours they work along with low starting salaries. It appears that working by city that you can make more money yearly than working for the state. The median is anywhere from 34,000 to 78,000. Depending on the size of city and the amount of money the city utilizes for fire departments, the more money the firefighters make.

The firefighters in America are somewhat different than the firefighters of let's say the United Kingdom. The UK firefighters belong to what is called the FBU or the Fire Brigades Union, which unionizes all firefighters through the UK. They FBU lobbies and campaigns to keep the firefighters at their most potential level of safety, service and rescue to better serve the community. The FBU is there for the firefighter's protection and controls staffing and management of the UK fire and rescue crews. They maintain a better work environment and keep all members focused on being the best firefighters possible.

The FBU takes this mission very seriously and only allows the most outstanding individuals in the community to provide services to their people. They also insist on complete and thorough training and interviewing before being permitted into the FBU. The work schedules and the pay scales are very similar in the US and the UK in comparing US dollars to UK money. As in the US, the UK firefighters do not receive any over time or extra money for long hours. In some incidences the firefighters do receive some types of compensation and/ or bonuses for their commitment and dedication to the community.