So you have decided that fire fighting is the career for you and want to embark on this challenging and rewarding career. You may have seen fire fighters on the television and watched in awe as they battle with major blazes and other disasters. You may have seen them run towards the Twin Towers as everyone else ran away, inspired by their sheer bravery and disregard for their own safety to help their fellow man. Whatever your impression, you may also have wondered about the type of fire training that fire fighters have to undergo for the privilege of serving as fire fighters in the front line. Lets therefore examine some of the fire training requirements and see if you still think that it's the career for you!
Most fire fighters have a number of basic qualifications, and these may include an EMT certificate, a certificate of achievement in Fire Technology and a Firefighter 1 academy certificate. It may also depend on whether or not you intend to enlist at a municipal or a volunteer department. Many volunteer departments require no formal education and will assist the volunteer in receiving basic educational needs, but most paid departments require new recruits to either already have formal education or will insist on it as a requirement for hiring.
Most fire fighters have a distinct advantage if they have paramedic or EMT training, and also a qualification in CPR from the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. Consider training and state certification to Fire Fighter 2 and get some volunteer experience if you are yet to join the department. This means specific experience in fire fighting, either as a volunteer fire fighter or some other branch of the fire service. Don't be afraid to contact your local fire department and ask if they need volunteers in your area. Not only will this give you experience but it will also start to give you contacts that may ease the way. Training such as fire prevention, haz-mat training, fire suppression systems etc. will also make a big impact on your ability to find a spot on a fire department.
Some of the fire training that will help you find you way into a career in fire service may also include:
Another area in which it is useful to gain some expertise is foreign language abilities. Many departments give priority to people who have multiple language capability and some even make it a requirement to take the entrance test!
Fire apparatus driving is another key fire training competence and it's helpful that you have a clean driving record. The risks of driving a relatively heavy vehicle at high speeds on public roads is demanding and the better your driving performance, the more chance that you will have to become a fire apparatus driver, transporting crew and a $500,000 fire engine!
Fire training also covers physical fitness and many people underestimate the high levels of fitness required. If you are to carry another person or a heavy piece of equipment up or down flights of stairs, then you will need to realize that fitness is a key requirement for any fire fighter. This fitness means aerobic activity, cardiovascular activity, and muscular / strength-building activity.
You will also find that the science of fire propagation and prevention are key attributes in fire training. Fires can spread with amazing speed and ferocity and an understanding of its behaviour may one day save your life or the life of a colleague.