To become a firefighter is a serious and responsible decision. This job is one of those which people’s lives depend on, and if you are not qualified enough, it can lead to terrible consequences. If you have taken into consideration all pros and cons, if you are able to work in team and endure stress, if you are ready for irregular hours and still want to devote your life to saving people, our guide how to become a firefighter is for you!
1. Get Your EMT Certification
EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) certificate is necessary for almost all departments hiring firefighters. There are 3 levels now: EMT basic, EMT intermediate and EMT paramedic (soon EMT intermediate will be taken away so that only two levels remain). Since you obtain EMT paramedic, it immediately makes you a very attractive applicant for a position of a firefighter. Work experience for a 911 ambulance would also be a great plus.
2. Become A Volunteer
Since you don’t have any experience, it is not likely that any company will take you as a firefighter. Start providing volunteer community service work – this way you will create a good resume and later get references. Start searching through the Internet where volunteer firefighters are needed and apply there. Networking with professional firefighters and showing your potential is also of great help in the beginning of your career.
3. Start Your Career
After getting your EMT certificate you will be required to complete a probation period on a fire station lasting 1 year. You will remain under the supervision of the company officer. You will become a part of the crew still remaining on probation – you’ll have to learn all the maps of your response area and show your best knowledge and skills. You must also be prepared that rookies are often told to make coffee and clean bathrooms, as well as they often become the object of more experienced firefighters’ jokes. Such job is not for weak and sensitive people; you must have a strong character and show that you are more than just a useless inexperienced rookie.
4. Long For New Information
Firefighter is not just a job; it is the way you live. We recommend you read specialized magazines, such as Firehouse or FireEngineering and keep the track of events via Internet. Fire departments like to ask questions like “How do you see fire service in 5 years?” or “What are the greatest issues facing fire industry today?” Educate yourself and search for available opportunities to enrich your knowledge not to get into a confusing situation.
5. Attend The Interview
Apply for the position in the desired company and prepare for an interview. Think of the answers to possible questions, such as why you are so willing to become a firefighter or how your qualities and skills will help you during the work. Keep calm and confident – who wants to hire a nervous person as a firefighter?
Once you’ve got the coveted job, learn as mush as you can about your department: history, names of the personnel, unofficial rules. Be polite to everyone you meet, attend department functions such as holiday parties, barbeques, union meetings, etc. – this will help you become involved in the department’s life and smoothly enter your new team.
These were our basic instructions how to become a firefighter. Of course, they don’t guarantee that you immediately get a great career in the fire service. Be patient, hard working, reliable and dedicated, don’t be afraid of any obstacles and remember: you have chosen the noblest profession, saving millions of lives every day!