What To Do Before You Apply for A Firefighter Job
Yesterday my family celebrated the birthday of one of our closest friends of the family. He turned 23, spent the day outdoors, and was nowhere near the celebration that took place. Why? Because he was in Arizona fighting a fire.
From a young age, our friend knew exactly what he wanted to do. He took the necessary classes and finally, only two years ago, began majoring in the necessary forestry classes at Northern Arizona University. Ranked a top 10 forestry program in the U.S., he will leave the program with an in-depth and thorough understanding of how a forest works, as well as the necessary measures that need to be taken to keep it thriving. And like I said above, in his spare time, when he’s not studying forestry, he’s already on the field, taking care of forest fires as they come in.
Is this what all fire fighters go through?
If you were asking yourself whether or not this is what every firefighter must go through, prior to getting their firefighting job, then you wouldn’t be alone. When I first heard the strenuous schooling he was undergoing, I became confused. I didn’t realize so much went into firefighting. I was under the impression that it required brave men and women, who were willing to risk their lives in the flames. While I’ve since come to learn that firefighting doesn’t actually require this amount of schooling, I have definitely learned that there are still a great list of things they must go through, prior to slipping into that great red truck.
Volunteering is perhaps the most underrated way to bulk up your resume and obtain valuable experience. Whether you plan on volunteering in a burn unit, a hospital, or in a fire station, you’ll be showing that you care about someone other than yourself. Firefighting is probably one of the most selfless jobs that you can do. On any given day, firemen and firewomen risk their lives as they head into flame infested buildings to save others. Prior to applying for a firefighting job, you should take a clear look at yourself as a person. Are you selfless enough to give up long hours and days so that you can potentially be burned in a fire? If the answer is no, or you have problems seeing yourself volunteering for any length of time, than perhaps becoming a firefighter is not the right job option for you.
Learn About Fire Technology
While this isn’t actually required, it is highly recommended. Even if you do not want to go the full way and get your degree in fire technology and forestry, taking a class in it can boost your understanding of the firefighting world tenfold. You’ll learn how fires work, how they’re started, and how to understand how they move, giving you a better understanding of how best to avoid an injury or death. Fire technology classes, while also given during the recruitment phase of firefighter academies, will also boost your resume, show initiative, and—like volunteering—show that you’re serious about your career.
Talk With A Fire Fighter
Firefighter jobs are some serious stuff and going into the field blindly accounts for why 70% of recruits drop out. Head to your local fire department and see if there are any firefighters willing to discuss their job with you. Or, if you’re like me and happen to know a firefighter or two, offer to take them to dinner while you pick their brain over what a firefighter does. Be sure to come up with a list of pertinent questions prior to your meeting. If you’re scared about the possibility of enrolling as a firefighter, be honest. Chances are you’ll find that a lot of firefighters are scared of their job, but it’s their desire to help and do what is right that outweighs the risk. Meeting with an actual firefighter is perhaps the best way to decide whether or not a firefighting job is right for you.
Become EMT Certified
The number of applicants per available fire job is rapidly increasing. That is to say that there are many people applying and not enough jobs available. Yet, while many people apply, even less people are actually qualified. Make yourself stand out from the pack by becoming as knowledgeable as possible about the field, including obtaining any certifications you might need beforehand. By gaining experience as a certified EMT, you will be given a good idea of one aspect of firefighting that is not often talked about: rescue. While you’ll definitely be expected at some point to face down fires, you will also need to be well versed in emergency medical training. Firefighters are often the first on the scene of any accident, meaning that a solid foundation in emergency medical aid is a must.
Firefighting jobs are not for everyone, a fact that every firefighting recruitment team is well aware of. Not to mention, many potential firefighting candidates think that they are ready for the glory of the job, but are painfully unaware of what it truly takes to fight fires. If you or someone you know is looking into becoming a firefighter, impress upon them the importance of thinking it through and doing their research. If they seem ready and willing, however, then encourage them to look into pumping their resume. The starting line begins well before they are professionally trained, and starts somewhere out in a fiery field.