Becoming a firefighter is a dream job for many people, but doing so requires some qualifications and principles you must understand before starting your journey. Whether it’s your educational background, physical fitness, or mental readiness for the job, be aware of what you need to know before becoming a firefighter. It can prepare you better for your future training and ensure you have everything you need to succeed in your field.
The Educational Recommendations
Prospective firefighters need at least a GED to qualify for training, but while it’s not necessarily a requirement, higher education will lead to more opportunities. Generally, firefighters earn a degree in fire science to expand their knowledge of the field, which can inform their decisions on the job. Additionally, training as an EMT provides you with valuable life-saving techniques you will utilize while in your role.
Know What Your Department Requires
Some departments only require a GED, but others can make advanced education mandatory if they so choose. Look into different departments and their expectations, and make sure to pick one that is a fit for your background.
How To Protect Yourself
By nature, firefighting can be a dangerous profession that regularly puts you in harm’s way, so you need to know exactly what you’re getting into and accept the accompanying risks. Familiarize yourself with the techniques and equipment to protect yourself while out on calls to mitigate or outright eliminate the danger.
You may have the knowledge and training necessary, but failing to utilize all the tools at your disposal to protect yourself puts everyone around you at risk. Your job is to show up prepared, but failing to do so will jeopardize the safety of the people you came to help.
When you choose a physically demanding occupation, you need the ability to carry out whatever the job demands of you. Firefighting training requires candidates to undergo a physical examination that tests their strength, stamina, and endurance to ensure adequate fitness. These tests involve dynamic exercises that pull directly from real-world scenarios. Some to anticipate include:
- Stair climbing
- Hose dragging
- Forcible entry
- Ceiling reach and pull
- Equipment carrying
Condition Your Body
It’s not enough to be physically strong; you need to acclimate your body to the weight and movements the job has you doing. Conditioning is the key, and you need to adjust your body to the demands of the position.
Acknowledge The Responsibility
While it may not be an everyday occurrence, you’ll face moments when others put their lives and livelihoods in your hands. Because others will rely on you, you need to perform at your best at all times; anything less will risk losing people and property. Know what to expect before you become a firefighter, and be able to accept that responsibility of both success and failure.