A firefighter is a highly trained and dedicated professional responsible for responding to fires and various emergencies to protect life, property, and the environment. Their primary duties involve extinguishing fires, rescuing people and animals, and providing medical assistance. Their roles include:
- Fire Suppression: Firefighters are trained to use various firefighting equipment, such as hoses, water pumps, and fire extinguishers, to control and extinguish fires. They may also employ advanced techniques and technology to handle different types of fires.
- Rescue Operations: Firefighters rescue people and animals from dangerous situations, such as building collapses, vehicle accidents, and water-related emergencies. They use specialized tools and equipment, including ladders, ropes, and hydraulic rescue tools, to extricate individuals in distress.
- Emergency Medical Services: Many firefighters are trained as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics. They provide basic and advanced medical care to individuals at the scene of accidents or emergencies before handing over patients to medical professionals.
- Public Education: Firefighters often engage in community outreach and education programs to raise awareness about fire safety. They conduct fire drills, provide safety demonstrations, and distribute educational materials to help prevent fires and injuries.
- Hazardous Materials Response: Some firefighters receive specialized training to respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. They assess and mitigate the risks associated with chemical spills, leaks, or other hazardous substances.
- Training and Continuous Education: Firefighters undergo rigorous training to develop the skills necessary for their job. Training includes fire behavior, rescue techniques, physical fitness, and more. Continuous education is essential to stay updated on new techniques and technologies.
- Teamwork: Firefighters work closely as a team, relying on effective communication and coordination during emergencies. Teamwork is crucial to ensure the safety of both the public and fellow firefighters.
- Preventive Measures: Firefighters also play a role in preventing fires through inspections, enforcing fire codes, and conducting safety assessments. They may inspect buildings to ensure compliance with fire safety regulations and address potential hazards.
- Physical Fitness: The nature of firefighting requires firefighters to maintain a high level of physical fitness. They must be able to perform physically demanding tasks, such as carrying equipment, climbing ladders, and rescuing individuals from challenging situations.
Becoming a firefighter typically involves completing specialized training and education, often through fire academies or training programs. It’s a demanding and rewarding profession that requires a commitment to public safety and the well-being of others.
Who is a Firefighter
According to Wikipedia “A firefighter is a rescuer extensively trained in firefighting, primarily to extinguish hazardous fires that threaten life, property and the environment as well as to rescue people and animals from dangerous situations“.
In this article, we will concentrate on majorly two (2) things.
- Duties of firefighter and
- Relevant qualification
Duties of a Firefighter
Here are some duties:
- Immediately responds in a timely fashion to deals with fire, medical, rescue and other emergency and non-emergency related calls as required.
- Carry out rescue operation, evacuation and conduct head count.
- Give first aid before ambulance crew arrive.
- Conducts full maintenance/safety check on vehicles and equipment.
- Performs routine preventative maintenance tasks to equipment and apparatus.
- Inspect and maintain the appliance (fire engine) and its equipment. Assist in testing fire hydrants and checking emergency water supplies.
- Undertake drills and physical training; take part in training on techniques, use of equipment and related matters.
- Educating and informing the public to promote fire safety.
- After returning from emergency scene, cleans, inspects, and accounts for all equipment used and returns all equipment used to a state of readiness.
- Operates all equipment utilized by TFS such as pumps, hoses, manual ladders, mechanical ladder, generators, automobile extrication equipment.
- Participates in Pre-Incident Fire Planning as required, etc.
Minimum Qualifications to become a firefighter
The qualification depends on the organization and country requirements/standards.
Basically, very basic educational background may be required for the role.
Other requirements could be:
- Fire safety training – Involving the understanding of the chemistry of fire, fire extinguishing, managing fire emergency situations, use of fire fighting equipment, etc.
- Understand the country of operation’s fire regulations and minimum requirements.
- Knowledge of basic first aid and CPR
- Professional body membership may be an added advantage.
- Basic personal skills – (See some below), etc.
- Other necessary qualifications stipulated by the organization or country standard.
Example of firefighter required qualification in Canada
- Successful completion of all stages (1-3) of the OFAI Candidate Testing Services (as verified by possession of CTS Certificate) prior to the date of application submission
- Successful completion of NFPA 1001 Level 1 & 2 plus NFPA 472 from a recognized post-secondary institution prior to the date of application submission
- Possession of a current and valid minimum level CPR HCP Certificate issued prior to the date of application submission
- Possession of a current and valid minimum level Standard First Aid Certificate, issued by a WSIB approved First Aid Trainer prior to the date of application submission
- Effective communication skills
- Integrity and composure
- Ability to follow instructions
- Team player
- Posses good problem-solving skills
- Be confident and resilient
- Adaptable and flexibile
- Sound judgement, courage, decisiveness, quick reactions and the ability to stay calm in difficult circumstances
- The willingness and ability to learn on a continual basis
- An interest in promoting community safety, education and risk prevention.
However, if you are interested in developing a career as a firefighter, you need to understand the duties, qualification and the necessary skills.
Congratulations, all the information you need is covered in this article.
You can check for a firefighter trainer close to you to get certified; that is the starting point.
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