Not All Heroes Where Capes: A Guide on How to Become a Firefighter

Do you have a genuine desire to help others? Serving as a firefighter can be a fulfilling and rewarding career because you’ll get to save lives. But first, you have to learn how to become a firefighter.

Your primary responsibilities will be to battle and extinguish fires with the right firefighting equipment and save lives in the process. Besides that, you’ll have to respond to medical emergencies and educate the public about fire safety through school talks and station tours.

How to Become a Firefighter

One of the best things about becoming a firefighter is that as long as you are over 18 years and have a driver’s license, you can send an application. 

Of course, there’s a little more to that, like passing a physical test, a drug screening exam, and several other things we’ll be looking at in this post. This is a breakdown of all the steps you need to take to become a successful firefighter.

Start by Volunteering

Plenty of firefighters started their career off as volunteers, and it’s an awesome way to gauge whether you really want to be part of the action. Most fire departments have openings for a broad scope of volunteer positions. You will start with essential services such as helping around in the station, but you will gain insights into the career and build a network that could prove to be indispensable in the future. 

Meet the Education Requirements

At the bare minimum, you need to have a GED or high-school diploma to join firefighters. Go for fire training in college because most fire departments hire based on volunteer work and post-secondary fire training. As you advance, you may have to get a fire science degree although different organizations have different training requirements. 

With a fire science degree, you’ll learn so much more than just firefighting. You’ll find programs for firefighting technology that’ll prepare you for fire arson investigation and fire inspection. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you must learn how to:

  • Suppress and extinguish fires using the right firefighting equipment
  • Evacuate fire structures
  • Treat victims
  • Maintain firefighting equipment
  • Participate in public education

Go For CPR Training

Firefighters are expected to give medical aid to victims, whether from fire incidents or other accidents. 

For this reason, you must get CPR training from a reputable institution. You can check out the American Red Cross or a similar agency offering the training. Having a Red Cross card can give you a higher chance of joining ride-along exercises with veteran firefighters. 

Get Fit Enough to Handle Fire Fighting Equipment

Becoming a firefighter means staying fit at all times, and not just for the fire fighting equipment. Once you’re a firefighter, you are bound to work under stressful conditions and long hours, so getting in shape should be on your agenda. 

You must also pass the physical ability test because the events include hose drags, stair climbs, ladder raise, equipment carrying, force entry, search, ceiling breach, and more. The job is naturally physically demanding, so prepare yourself for a life of working out. 

Stay Away From Trouble

If you have made mistakes in the past that could jeopardize your chances of fulfilling your dream of becoming a firefighter, this is the best time to rectify them. If you had a criminal record, you must do everything possible to rectify it because it will show in your background check. 

If during the interview, they ask you about your past record, you should own your mistakes and tell them what you have done, or are currently doing, to change your ways. It would be best if you were upfront about things like your driving record. 

Beyond this, your employers may scan your social media, so be mindful of the things you post. You may not have to close your accounts, but take down any content that may prevent you from getting hired. The background check will improve your credit score, so try to improve it before you start looking for a job. 

Take Your Exams Then Apply For Work

The hiring process of firefighters basically includes a physical exam, an oral interview, background check, and drug screening. You’ll be required to provide your job history, credit history, academic record, and personal references. The written examination will include human relations, problem-solving skills, math, memory, and reasoning, as well as written and oral communication. 

The physical exam will include eyesight, blood pressure, hearing, urine, and blood. Besides that, you’ll have a psychological exam that will cover your personality traits that’ll help in your firefighting career. 

Keep in mind that you’ll not just work in your local area, you’ll be called out by wilderness agencies, state fire organizations, fire fighting equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and even construction trades. 

Some firefighting agencies require firefighters to enroll or volunteer in accredited programs for apprenticeships. Chances are, you’ll be sent to a state, federal, or local academy. You may also get to take a course at the National Fire Protection Association.

Advance Your Career

If you have been thinking about becoming a firefighter, have you thought about advancement opportunities or even job stability? Usually, you’ll find that in the public sector, advancements are established based on ongoing training and experience. 

Don’t give up on your training after you get hired. Go back to class and earn more certificates. Get in the line of work and gain more experience. If you get a degree in fire science, you will have an opportunity to raise your rank, your earnings, and your responsibilities. You may advance from firefighter to lieutenant, battalion chief, captain, assistant chief, or fire chief. 

There You Have It

These are the steps you take to become a firefighter. It would help if you started learning about firefighting equipment because you’ll be dealing with a lot of things, and you need to know how to handle each one of them. If you love helping people and you want to be a hero, then you don’t need a cape.

Learn how to become a firefighter and you’ll undoubtedly save the lives of people who will forever be grateful to you. Kindly go through our website for more informative posts.