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.

If you qualify for the above then you must take three exams before getting in to the firefighting school. The first is a written test, a Candidate Physical Ability Test and an aptitude test. Each of these tests determines your knowledge and physical ability to be a part of the firefighter training. Once you have passed, the next goal is to make it through training.

Being a part of the firefighting academies is extremely competitive and few are taken on for a position by the end of training. When going in, you must aim to be the best and most competent. In order to not only survive the training, but also survive dangerous firefighting situations in general, an individual must be able to think clearly, critically and quickly under an increased amount of stress.

In order for students to learn how to do this, training instructors will create “real-life” situations. They will set buildings on fire and make students learn to utilize their think-on-their-feet skills. The goal is to train the students to react intelligently and memorize the proper way to handle certain situations when involved in a fire. The fire trainings take place in easily controlled areas with burn buildings that are meant to be utilized for firefighter training purposes.

Not only are students trained on how to react to a fire but they are also trained on how to gear up in a timely fashion. A firefighter has many layers from the actual suit to the 30 lb. SCBA. Their suits withstand the temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a process and something students must get used to when they are in the training process.

During firefighter training students learn to take orders from their superiors and react as they are told to do so. They learn the ways of the uniform, the truck/hose and the knowledge/skills to be a part of the team. If you pass the training and stood out among the rest you may be looking at your future career.

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