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Firefighter Job Requirements

Arjun Kulkarni
Looking to make a career as a firefighter. Read this piece to know what it takes to become a firefighter.
A firefighter is a selfless job.
These brave men fight the fire, the smoke, the heat, and put their lives on the line so that they can save those of the others. Few jobs can be so gallant and so mentally difficult as the job of a firefighter.
Seriously, it must take quite a character to walk into a house on fire as others run out of it. So, the first of the many requirements is bravery. What are the other requirements to become a firefighter? We shall see ahead.


Specialized Knowledge Matters

It may seem as if more than the educational qualifications, the requirements tend to deal a lot more with the personal character. But it is not so. Dealing with fire requires specialized knowledge. The ways to extinguish a fire depends a lot on what exactly caused the fire.
So fire caused due to an electric spark will be extinguished differently as compared to any other fire. Hence, to be able to deal with different types of fires, a firefighter needs to have the necessary education and maturity.
Hence, the state laws have decreed that in order to be a firefighter, you need to be at least above 18. Age limits vary depending upon the state or the fire department.
Some fire department also set an upper limit for the age in recognition of the fact that the job of a firefighter can be quite physical, and not all people above a certain age will be able to deal with the physical nature of a firefighter's job.

Education and Other Requirements

The second requirement is that you should have cleared high school and also have taken a course in the field which teaches the basics about firefighting.
So right from basic diplomas in health, safety and environment to fire engineering, there are courses that can teach you the basics of firefighting. The job at the New York Fire Department, one of the most coveted firefighter jobs in America, requires you to have completed 15 college semester credits or have been in a full-time military service.
One more very important part of the requirement is that you have to clear a test set by the fire department. The test set by the fire department asks all the questions, the answers to which any potential firefighter ought to know.
Apart from these, you will be required to pass a physical fitness test, which will test you on the basic rigors that a firefighter has to face and to check if you are up to the challenge. The fitness test may also include a test for eyesight, hearing and mental alertness.
Other requirements may also include the candidates having to be citizens of the country. The New York Fire Department also specifically demands that you have a New York State valid motor vehicle license.

Duties and Responsibilities

The firefighter has to respond to the fire alarm system going off and proceed to the destination. He then has to hold the nozzle and spray water over the area which is on fire. He has to also enter the building, rescue all the people stuck in fire and vacate the building. He then has to ventilate the building properly and search for the cause of the fire.
Gather information regarding the traffic in the vicinity of the fire spot and ensure speedy transport of the fire vehicles.
Inform officers at the control room and at the spot regarding any problems in the pumping machines or other errors, if any.
Determine easy entry locations to save lives. Work as a team to minimize the loss of men and material in the fire incidence.
Ensure that the equipment are functioning effectively, as poor or faulty equipment can lead to the loss of many lives.
Participate in all types of firefighting training sessions.
Firefighters may be involved in non-firefighting related tasks such as leading rescue operations in a caved in building or a mine or during floods and other calamities. An important work that firefighters do is to provide fire safety tips and take fire safety sessions for kids.
So, this was all about the requirements to become a firefighter and a glimpse of what they're expected to do in their tenure. As you can see, the job is not very easy, and hence requires rigorous testing and selection to ensure that the country has the best firefighters available to it!