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A firefighter is a person who fights fires. These people will do everything they can to save your property without endangering lives. They are prepared, however to give their lives in order to save someone else’s.
Educational Requirements to Become a firefighter are limited. Of course a person will not be sent into the midst of a burning flame without proper training, however, most volunteer departments will train you. Most paid departments require at least a certificate in Firefighting, and many require emergency medical training at the basic level. A certificate in hazardous materials is definitely a plus. Vocational schools that offer a certificate in firefighting also include the EMT and Hazmat certificates.
The days of a firefighter only needing a strong back are over. Additional skills are needed. They include:
- Good health
- Willingness to minimize hazard to your life and others (ie. work as safely as possible)
- Participating in ongoing training
- Empathy (understanding that you are showing up on a family’s worst day they are in shock or panic mode)
- Ability to remain calm in very stressful situations
- Ability to work in confined spaces and complete darkness
- Good dexterity
- Ability to think or plan quickly and execute those plans
- Research (research the structural types in the community and understand construction materials used, burn patterns of those products)
Although salary for a firefighter will feed your family, you will never be rich from working as a firefighter. Competition in the field is stiff, some test sites are testing hundreds of people for one opening. Some departments have testing every two years regardless of whether there is an opening or not. The average firefighter makes $45,600 a year.
Most of the firefighters in the United States are volunteer fire departments. More cities than any of us realize are volunteer fire departments. Some will try to give back to the volunteers by setting up a small retirement fund, however many are not financially able to do that.