Ranks and Roles of Firefighters in the United States

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Across the globe fire-fighting differs little from the military in terms of leadership titles, ranks and orders. There are several countries around the world that recognize similar titles of leadership within the fire administration but also ones who differ. This article will take a quick and uncomplicated look at the ranks and responsibilities of fire-fighters throughout the United States. This list and summarization will proceed from the lowest ranks to the highest points of authority in the administration. On a simple note, different fire houses have their own symbols, badges and insignias which we will not be including here.

For the purpose of clarification, Fire-fighters in America work under different charges that can be known as, Fire Rescue, Fire Companies, Fire Bureaus, Fire Divisions and Fire Protection Districts. There are also several company types called, Rescue Company, Truck Company, Engine Company,  Medic Company, Squad and a recently added one called Squint. » Read more..

Begin Your Firefighting Journey In High School

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If anyone has ever told you that you must go to college or university before you can begin any training to become a fire-fighter, they know little about what they are saying and mustn’t be very observant. To the contrary, high school courses can offer a valuable foundation of knowledge and training for anyone looking and is determined to get into the fire-fighting field. The following information can help propel you straight onto an effective path toward this decisive career goal.

This information is ideal for those about to begin their four years of high school. If you have already begun high school or at least you still have your senior year left to begin and finish, then it is suggested that you get into as many math and science courses as you can. It’s important to note from the beginning that a majority of fire-fighting departments will require their potential “working candidates” to pass a written test before they can give out any job offers. For many fire departments, there are selected certifications that must be obtained before you are either promoted or even hired. For example, there is what is called a Fire-Fighter 1 Certificate which is compulsory to have by many fire departments. In order to obtain this certificate you must first attain a Hazardous Materials Certificate which is chemically-related, so taking and passing a chemistry science class in high school would be a great asset. Biology will also give you an understanding of the human body which can aid in you (EMT) Emergency Medical Technician training further on down the road. » Read more..

Managing Sleep Routines as a Firefighter

One of the tricky things about being a firefighter can be the shifts and working at times when your body expects you to be asleep. Learning to manage an unusual sleep routine is crucial as not only can this have a dangerous effect on your work, it can also have long-term effects on your health in other areas.

“Biological clock human” by NoNameGYassineMrabetTalk Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Effects of Shift Work

Studies have shown that people who work hours outside of the ‘normal’ working day can face problems with sleepiness and fatigue. This can result in poor concentration, accidents and errors as well as injuries and this is all accentuated when dealing with a dangerous job like firefighting. According to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, shift workers are also at risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease due to either their sleep pattern or their eating pattern.

According to data in the Sleep in America poll, 14% of Americans do shift work and it does have a clear impact on certain areas of the cycle. They are 30% more likes to have excessive daytime sleepiness versus 18% for non-shift workers and 61% more likely to have insomnia versus 30%.

Excessive sleepiness

One of the most commonly reported symptoms of a disruptive sleep pattern is excessive sleepiness. This is where people aren’t adapted to their different sleep routine and experience periods of insomnia when they should be sleeping and drowsiness when they are awake.

When you are due to be awake, take short naps on breaks to help alleviate the drowsiness. Work with others on your shift to keep active during your shift when you aren’t busy to help maintain alertness and if you don’t nap during your breaks, go for a little walk or other activity to stimulate wakefulness.

Coffee and other caffeinated drinks can serve a purpose to help keep awake but need to be used carefully. Use in the middle of the shift but not too near the end when you are planning to go to sleep as it takes quite a long time for the effects of caffeine to wear off. This means it can still be keeping you awake when you want to be asleep.

Sleep tips

There are a few basic ideas to keep in mind to help deal with this. Make sure your bed is comfortable – if the mattress is getting a little lumpy in places consider getting one of the best mattress toppers to make it more comfortable.

When you are sleeping, use eye patches or a similar blackout item to keep out the light and make sure the room is as dark as possible. Use ear plugs if there is noise around you that you cannot ignore.

As mentioned, keep away from coffee and other caffeine drinks near bedtime and another tip is to keep away from alcohol. While it may have an initial benefit to falling asleep, within a short time, your body gets used to it and it ceases to have any affect – it can end up keeping you asleep.

Another tip is to have a warm bath just before bed to relax your body and avoid doing anything strenuous just before bedtime, as this will get your body into an alert state, not a sleep one.

Fire Safety – Prepping for an Emergency

In theory it always sounds nice and professional to tell others that they should always have a fire safety plan in chance of a fire. Maybe some will heed such advice and others will ignore it. The question you must answer now is do you know what to do in a fire emergency yourself? After reading this information, you should know for certain.

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Before you accomplish any task it is imperative that you prepare and make a plan. If there were to be a fire at your home or work place then the first thing you need to know at all times is where you are and how to get to each and every potential fire exit. It is vital to never forget that smoke will come from a fire and smoke is blinding to the eyes and it will fill in every place it can get to whether it’s in rooms, closets and hallways. In an abrupt fire emergency you will more than likely have to crawl on your hands and knees depending on how severe the fire is, so having a plan can be the difference between life and death.

If the possibility ever arises where smoke is visible to you or you actually see a fire but the building’s fire alarm hasn’t gone off, you will need to personally pull the fire alarm near the exit yourself. Once you have sounded the alarm you need to be sure you get yourself out of the building immediately. Make sure you know the emergency contact number(s) beforehand and be sure to call them right away just as soon as you are safely out of the building.  It’s also a good idea to make sure that you don’t have anything sitting on the ground, especially big objects like fishing kayaks or even bigger objects like tandem kayaks.

As a quick reminder, the procedure for discovering fire or seeing smoke is to get out of the area while being sure that all doors behind you are shut, set off the nearest fire alarm to the exit, shut off any types of equipment that is running (industrial, laboratory, etc. depending on where your building location is) and then get out.

If you are in a building that has elevator and stair access then be sure to take the stairs when you are leaving and never the elevator. If your location has signs posted about where you should go in case of a fire then be sure to follow their direction. Under no circumstances should you ever try to re-enter the building no matter whom or what it is for because there is no guarantee that you will get a chance to leave again.

If you have the opportunity to put out a small fire in a building then it might be worth trying (if you know what you are doing) and if the fire is too big then do not waste valuable time and just leave it.

If you are at home or the work place and someone else informs you of a fire or activates the fire alarm then you should walk to the nearest exit and avoid the elevators. If you suspect that someone is caught or stuck in the building then you must contact emergency services instantly. Again, meet at a designated area and do not try to re-enter the building.

In the event that you are trapped in smoke you need to drop to your hands and knees right away, stay low because smoke is thicker at higher positions in the air and hold your breath as much as you can while using something to filter your mouth and nose.

When trapped in a room you should close as many doors as feasible that are between yourself and the fire. Where applicable you should wet some cloth material and place is under any doors to block smoke from entering the room and if there is a window nearby then you should prepare to find a way to contact someone through it on the outside.

Finally, if someone has clothes that are on fire then you must direct and help that person get down on the ground and roll them while smothering out the flames. Of course if it is nearby then you can use water and contact emergency services as soon as possible.

4 Things To Consider Before Becoming A Firefighter

Title: 4 Things To Consider Before Becoming A Firefighter

Being a firefighter is the dream of a lot of young children in America. They play with fire trucks as a kid, imagining themselves running into a burning building to save the occupants and become a hero. While firefighters most certainly do those things, there are also other things that firefighters do on a daily basis that you may not be aware of because they aren’t news worthy.

Waiting…and Waiting

FirefightersFirefighters spend a lot of their time at work waiting. They could be surfing the Internet, checking out the best flushable cat litter when a call comes in. They have to be ready at the drop of a hat, and that includes waiting around until something happens. Most of a firefighter’s time is spent sitting around in the fire house. All of those movies and TV shows you see where guys are in the fire house shooting the breeze, cooking, watching TV, or working out are an accurate depiction of what sometimes goes on before a call comes in. Before becoming a firefighter, just know that your attention can go from cat litter to life saver in a matter of seconds.

Medical Emergencies

We don’t hear about this much, but firefighters are also relied upon for medical emergencies that don’t involve fires. People trust calling fire departments because they are quick, and don’t have the stigma that comes with some private ambulance services of avoiding bad areas and taking a long time to arrive. Firefighters have basic medical training for emergencies like CPR and bandage application, and they have the benefit of the firetruck to get people to the hospital through traffic.


Fighting fires and medical emergencies aren’t all that firefighters do, they also perform inspections at local businesses to make sure those businesses are up to code. They check fire alarms, evacuation routes, and smoke detectors to make sure things are in place and functioning properly if there ever is an emergency. They can spot things an average person couldn’t like a malfunctioning fire extinguisher, or an unsafe cooking device.

Maintaining Equipment

The life of a firefighter is often dependent on the equipment he works with. The fire truck has to be in tiptop running shape and ready to go in a split second, and all of the pumps, gauges, hoses, etc. on a fire truck must be in proper working order. Spending 24 or 48 hours at a time depending on these things to keep you and the people in your community alive is a big deal, so a lot of a firefighter’s time will be spent maintaining the trucks and firehouse so they are ready when a call comes in.


A firefighter is one of the most selfless and important jobs there are in the world today, and every community needs them whether they’re volunteer or funded by tax dollars. If you’re thinking about becoming a firefighter, be sure to think of what life will be like on a daily basis. Chicago Fire may be an entertaining show, but it’s not exactly accurate.


Firearm Technology – Cool Tech On The Rise

Most firefighters will never use firearms unless they are purely for recreational purposes.  That being said, it’s still fun to talk about some of the technology out there that’s being talked about with folks in the firearms field.  Many firefighters have to respond to events that have taken place during a gunshot incident, and seeing new technology out there always gives a little hope that some of those incidents will eventually start to decrease.

My initial reaction to smart guns was one of skepticism. Can we rely on current technology to control the future? My first thought was no.  The “Superiority” warning from Arthur C. Clarke is both a blessing and a curse.  We can be too smart for our own good. But, if we weren’t too smart for our own good, we’d never make any discoveries.  We wouldn’t have face-time, or biometric fingerprint technology.  It is necessary to take risks and make an educated decision, even in regards to human safety.

New Technology

I do not agree that any gun whose safety systems are controlled by radio technology is reliable enough to sell in any capacity. There is the risk of tampering and making the gun unusable, thus defeating its original purpose, to defend the owner/operator.  But, this isn’t new technology. Controlling by radio waves is old technology. » Read more..

The Firefighting Career: Learning The Ropes

We grow up knowing what a fire truck is and what a firefighter does but when it comes time to be a part of the team that puts out fires and saves lives it takes a lot of training. There are many ways to go through this training. Some classes are provided online while others get you involved in real-life interactive classes.

Becoming a firefighter is kind of like becoming a nursing assistant or medical coding specialist: it involves about, if not over, 600 hours of training in 3 to 4 months before one can go active-duty. Enrolling in a firefighter academy is a full-time job and is more often than not run by the fire department in your community.

There are certain requirements to take on this career which is hitting the 18-21 age mark (depending on what station you are training with). You must also have a high school diploma and some departments require a college education. Other requirements involve being physically fit, having a clean background check and corrected 20/20 vision. » Read more..

Why Deep Frying Can Be a Fire Hazard

Did you know that in the United Kingdom, frying with oil is the leading cause of house fires? Sure, they’ve got a culture of fish and chips and frying in pans in their home, and so their risk is higher, but it is an important statistic for fire safety here in America and Manchester specifically.

Are you prepared if the unthinkable happened and you were caught in the middle of a fire caused by ultra hot oil? What can we learn about the British experience? Let’s have a closer look at this type of fire.

The Basics


If oil gets too hot, it can combust, creating a fire. This is why it is important to ensure your deep frying oil is changed regularly and monitored for deterioration. If it is getting murky, dark, or you can see foam along the top, it’s time to buy new stuff. If oil deteriorates, it has a lower smoke point and therefore a lower burn point.

IMPORTANT: Do not try to put out an oil fire with water!

It is imperative that you do not try to do this. Did you know that you can cause a much larger fire if you try to douse it with water? It’s counter to everything you have been told as a kid, and to be fair, there is not enough education out there about this. However, water will simply spread the oil around (they don’t mix, remember), and will also instantly evaporate, causing steam, which literally throws the oil around that gets caught in the steam, spreading the fire very quickly.

How To Put Out an Oil Fire

There are a couple ways to get this situation under control.

The first one is that you should have a fire extinguisher close by. You should be checking it regularly to make sure it’s still good, and you should know how to use it. If it is safe to do so, immediately switch off the power source or heating source of the oil.

Then, use your fire extinguisher to eliminate the blaze. This is fairly tricky and you have to get it done quite quickly for it to be effective. We do not wish to scare you, but the facts are that these fires are dangerous and spread quickly. Obviously, prevention is the best way to stop one!

However, as we said, they do happen, and you need to know how to stop them. If the fire extinguisher is in the next room (it shouldn’t be!) or you can’t get to it for whatever reason, or you see the fire JUST about to happen, you can also smother it. Using a slightly damp dish towel or a pan lid, cover the area that is on fire. You may be in time to eliminate the oxygen, which is needs to continue burning.

You can also dump a lot of baking soda on the fire. This can also be salt or another dry powder like this, though you’d need quite a bit.

The best thing to do is practice safe habits and also have your appropriate fire extinguisher ready in case of emergency situations.

Thanks to our friends at http://ww.fryerhq.com for their assistance with this article and deep fryer knowledge.

Stay safe out there, and remember, we’re here if you need anything. You can always contact us.

Is firefighting a good profession for a compassionate person?

firefighter 3d manIf you are a very caring, compassionate person, focused solely on helping others around you achieve more, stay safe, and make the most of themselves, you have a few options when it comes to your career choices.

As you have likely found out already, not many of them pay well, but they do offer a rare chance to do some very serious work that has a high possibility of making a huge difference in a person’s life. If your goals are to help others without regard to your salary (meaning, you’re just happy to make enough to live your life without too many frills), you can certainly consider becoming a firefighter. There are other options, though so before you jump in, we should discuss those.

Two Best Options For You

So you’re wondering if you should become a firefighter, but you’ve got a concern that it may not be totally right for you. That’s interesting, and you should really take a moment to think things over, weigh the pros and cons, and think about yourself deeply to find the right answer.

1. Home Health Aide

Not all that different, actually, from a firefighter in some ways. Obviously the primary function is very different, but the helpful, sometimes background role that each takes on is similar. Not only that, but each acts as a care taker. The HHA for the elderly and the sick and the immobile, and the firefighter for society, for the people in the burning building, for the child stuck in a tree.

Don’t think that you won’t have to work hard or get away from physical work, either. You might be surprised to know that taking care of someone’s house, chores, and personal things is quite taxing. You may have to help lower your client into and lift your client out of the tub. You’ll have to get them changed in some cases. You will likely be carrying groceries and cleaning all the hard to reach places of the house. This can be taxing, and in fact back problems are common, so you must be in excellent shape!

This is a very selfless career choice, as you will be devoting your days and sometimes nights to looking after someone who otherwise would be forced to live in an uncomfortable, expensive, and impersonal hospital or senior’s home. You might even become an important companion for this person and will help them live with dignity. If this sounds like the right fit, you can search the web for training in your state.

2. Firefighter

Yes, we think you can still be a firefighter.

Great compassion and care is an excellent driver and motivator for people who choose to take this career path. As long as you have the other qualifications such as fitness (bravery goes a long way, too!), you will be just fine.

Not everyone would voluntarily go into a dangerous burning building to save others without a second thought about his own well-being. In some cases you will literally be saving a life that would otherwise have perished in a fire. You will be doing a lot of good around the community when you are not putting out fires.

Your time to decide

So many things about being a firefighter are about compassion and the desire to help your community and fellow man. It comes down to what you want as a person, what you are best suited to, and where you can find a job, so we encourage you to look at both of our recommended lines of work and make the decision you feel is right.

Helmet Cameras and Firefighting – Technology Reviewed

If you’ve ever talked to a firefighter, veteran or rookie, you know that it’s experience. An outsider has little reason to understand the intensity of action in the midst of a fire. While most lack sufficient prior knowledge to understand the technical risks of opening a door in a burning building, we can fully understand the meaning of a rush of flame, smoke, and absence of breathable air.  It is remarkable to see as the firefighter sees, to take in the scene from the point of view of the man or woman in the midst of flames and destruction. The helmet mounted camera technology for firefighters can do these things; bring a viewer into the scenes of a fire from the viewpoint of a firefighter.

Firefighters provide many roles; in urban areas, they include emergency medical technicians, and operating critical life support systems.  In rural areas and undeveloped land areas, the job often includes controlling wildfires. The helmet camera technology would prove useful in forest fires. The actions of firefighters in forest blazes are difficult for the public to envision.  It is difficult to imagine such extremes of heat that can ignite a large green tree in a matter of seconds, and which can travel at the speed of winds.

Forest fires are exceptionally difficult in remote areas. Without roads or other access, firefighters must parachute into wilderness areas to effect techniques for stopping fires. Drought conditions in the United States in recent decades have increased the numbers and severity of wildfires and forest fires.

In summary form, one can assemble the day-to-day experiences of a firefighter into a presentation. To present an accurate description, the video must cover technical preparation, equipment maintenance, and facilities maintenance. These routines are necessary for preparedness. It can show that a vital part of the firefighters duties is maintaining the capacity to mobilize on short notice. When fire alarm calls come, and they must travel to a scene to control a fire, the camera can enable a viewer to see the heat and smoke and sense the urgency of the situation. Fires are hazardous scenes, and they take many lives and vast amounts of property in the United States each year.  See the sample video below of what a firefighter can go through as part of their daily routine as viewed through a Helmet Camera:

As an educational tool, the firefighter helmet camera has a potential to raise public understanding and appreciation of the role in public safety.  It is easy to overlook the risks and dangers involved with controlling a force as powerful as fire.  Fires can burn fuels, creosote, household chemical, cooking oils and resemble a furnace.  These fires produce intense heat and spread rapidly.  Some fires smolder and produce little heat or flame, but toxic fumes instead such as fires from smoldering wires.

As a training tool, the helmet mounted camera offers reinforcement for books simulations, and field exercises. The camera can show situational dangers and safety procedures in real-time and real situations. The camera technology offers the benefit of putting students in situations they may later face in the course of their duties. When deployed in training equipment, the camera technology provides a basis for trainee assessment. Both instructors and trainees can review performances in simulations and field exercises.  It can also provide a basis to assess the effectiveness of training methods.

Volunteer Firefighting and The Benefits it Brings

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It has been estimated that across the United States 69% of fire-fighters are volunteers. Many people think of a Volunteer Fire-fighter as one who simply gives of their time and efforts simply for a greater good and the only thing given back to them in return is gratitude for a good day’s work. However, this is not as permanent of a definition as one might think. It might be better understood to define a volunteer fire-fighter in these two ways:

“A volunteer fire-fighter is one who has agreed to work for no pay.”


“A volunteer fire-fighter is one who volunteers and agrees to get paid for specific jobs.”

The intention of the following information is to exhibit the benefits of doing volunteer work in local fire stations across the country – whether they be financial benefits or otherwise. » Read more..