Firefighting is a highly-rewarding career that requires you to have the zeal to help others in trying times, while most people would run out during an emergency or a fire outbreak, as a firefighter you would be running in, saving lives and properties.
Firefighting is one of the most prestigious careers you can ever find yourself in, as a firefighter you feel like a hero whenever you successfully combat a fire outbreak.
Firefighting can also be dangerous as many firefighters have lost their lives in the line of duty while trying to protect citizens.
So to answer the question ” is firefighting a good career path”, we would say firefighting is a good and highly rewarding career path but it is risky. To succeed as a firefighter you need to follow all safety guidelines & precautions.
Also Read: 15 Highest-Paid Firefighters In California
What Do Firefighters Do?
Firefighters do not only put out fires during outbreaks, they also perform the following;
- Responding to emergency calls and requests for assistance during disasters like flooding, rail accidents, air crashes, and terrorist attacks on infrastructure.
- Conducting fire investigations.
- Writing incident reports.
- Rescuing trapped victims and animals.
- Providing first aid before medical help arrives.
- Performing site checks and clean-ups after an incident and handling accidents as well.
- Becoming familiar with the locality, streets, and routes to respond to emergencies faster and more efficiently.
- Performing checks and maintenance on appliances like the fire engine and its gear, testing fire hydrants, and inspecting emergency water supply.
- Participating in physical training, running drills, and training in their techniques and use of the gear.
- Keeping up with necessary physical fitness to carry out their daily duties.
- Educating the public on fire safety through talks in schools, local businesses, and routine home visits.
Skills Required to Excel in FireFighting
For you to excel in firefighting you have to comply with all safety protocols and also possess the following skills.
Firefighters work in unsafe and uncomfortable conditions like hot, cold, smoke-filled, fumes and confined spaces and at heights during all types of weather conditions. So when working you would need to ensure all these harsh conditions, to complete your task effectively.
This is highly essential if you want to succeed as a firefighter, you would need to communicate effectively with your co-workers as well as victims who put out a distress call.
How Much Do Firefighters Make?
The average annual salary of a firefighter is $48,395. This varies across the nation according to the department or institution and local budget. But if you work in cities where firefighters are paid highly you can get $63,795 annually.
According to ziprecruiter.com an average firefighter in California makes an average of $63,795 a year, which is approximately $30.67 per hour or 1,226 per week or $5,316 per month.
Due to the nature of their jobs, work hours may include irregular working hours.
A shift pattern of 40 to 48 hours a week is common. Most prefer 2-day shifts followed by 2-night shifts, with four days off after.
Different departments follow different duty systems, some allow 24-hour shifts followed by 48 to 72 hours off, while others work a 10/14, meaning 10 hours on shift with 14 hours off.
This type of rotational shift system makes part-time work and job-sharing possible
Opportunities and Advancement
Firefighters are promoted in the order of
- Battalion Chief
- Assistant Chief
- Deputy Chief
You can get promoted up to Battalion chief, but going further you would need a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school either in public administration or any fire service related field.
For you to be employed in the firefighting department you have to undergo a series of training, these training would test your mental strength as well as your physical strength.
Entry-level firefighters receive a few months of training at fire academies under the purview and supervision of the fire department or the state. Recruits receive theoretical lessons and practical knowledge while studying firefighting and techniques for fire prevention.
For you to be employed as an entry-level firefighter you have to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. You would also need to possess the emergency medical technician (EMT) certificate after you undergo some training.
EMT training can include; examining patients, treating trauma patients, and clearing patients with obstructed airways.
Fire service men who are retired can become consultants and offer consultancy roles either as a contractor or a freelancer in the private sector.
Firefighting is a good career path, they don’t only put out fires but they also respond to emergency accidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association, two out of 3 calls that firefighters take are for medical emergencies instead of fires.
So taking firefighting as a career path would also improve your medical skills.
When a firefighter is not handling emergencies, they practice drills at the station, sleep and eat until there time for shift.