5 Character Traits To Avoid When Becoming A Firefighter
I’ve told you how to become a firefighter.
I’ve explained to you what the great traits of a firefighter are.
But have you stopped to wonder what the traits are that you should avoid?
Becoming a firefighter comes with a lot of responsibility.
It also can come with a lot of flair and hero-worship, which can both be detrimental to your firefighting dreams.
Whether you’re a volunteer firefighter or looking to turn it into a full-fledged career, here are the character traits that you should be aware of and avoid.
Contentment is good in life. It makes us feel safe, sound, and like we have a solid foundation to fall back on when life gets shook up underneath us. But do you know when contentment is not a good thing? When it comes to fires. Fires are about as chaotic as can be. They do not really follow any rhyme or reason with their movements, and tend to worsen the longer that they burn. Basically, every single firefighter should be prepared to acknowledge that not every fire is created equal. In fact, all fires are created differently. This means that there will never be a time when you, as a firefighter, should enter a situation, content to handle it like the one before it. Being complacent in your job breeds laziness, and laziness killed the cat (okay, I made that up, but it could kill you).
Speaking of laziness, laziness can be the kiss of death not only to you, but to your team of firefighters as well. Lazy firefighters are the ones who think they don’t need to brush up on the basics. They’re the ones who forego practicing drills or slack off while doing them. They are also the ones who will likely get their entire crew injured for doing so. There are certain things that are a part of the firefighting job description. Things like exercising and eating well are part of it and if you are not prepared to consistently hit the gym then you may fall behind in your training. What happens when firefighters forego lifting heavy weights? Their muscle mass depletes, which can in turn become a tragic situation during a fire. If you have a tendency toward bouts of laziness then be prepared to shake yourself of that habit immediately.
If complacency breads laziness, then laziness stems, often times, from an even bigger monster: an overly ripened ego. When you get down to it, there is no place in fire service jobs for egos. Firefighting is unique in that more than anything else it is a team job, and its outcomes always affect the team. Egos have the ability to shatter this team mentality. Whether it is someone thinking that they can handle more than they can chew, or else someone believing that they are too important for a menial job, it can lead to a terrible conclusion for the firefighting house and crew. Add to this that a case of ego-mania can affect even the nicest of people’s personalities. This then leads to the firefighter having problems connecting with not only his fellow workers, but with the people who they work to save.
Sensitivity is important when it comes to becoming a firefighter. Firefighters are often the first on the scene with emergent situations, even those not including an actual fire. This means that they need to be prepared to handle families who are panicked and/or scared over the current situation. However, sensitivity can go too far. Having an understanding and feeling compassion for those involved is one thing, but being too caught up in your own emotions over the situation is another. Devastating things will happen during your time as a firefighter. It comes with the job. Animals will not make it out of the fire, children will pass away, and lives will forever be changed, in large part as a part of how well you perform your job. You, as the firefighter on the scene, must be prepared to handle these situations while also keeping your own emotions in check.
In many cases, firefighters are looked up to, and considered, a version of modern day heroes. Children in particular have a tendency to look up to and admire firefighters, often wanting to become firefighters themselves when they grow older. For this reason, there is a certain image that firefighters are expected to maintain and uphold. When you go through the process of becoming a firefighter you must also be prepared to maintain an upstanding image for the team. This means that you will be expected to not break any laws, and to be calm and collected when handling stressful situations outside of work. If, for whatever reason, you do not think that this is a task that you are up to, then perhaps firefighting is not the job for you.