Fire Extinguisher : 101

Fire Extinguisher : 101

The Basics of Firefighter Training

About Fire Extinguishers
Using a Fire Extinguisher
Fire Prevention
Fire Hazards
First Aid for Fire
Financial Protection
Biggest Fires in History

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This article is intended to provide individuals with general information pertaining to the basics of fire fighting.

We greatly depend on our firefighters in the event of an emergency (see here for some of the biggest fires ever) - firefighters have an extremely demanding job. In order to become a firefighter, hopeful recruits must endure rigorous training, obtain a specialized and scientific education and prove their physical endurance in real life settings. Firefighter training is intense and difficult; however, it ultimately leads to one of the most rewarding jobs out there.

Firefighter TrainingAm I cut out to be Firefighter?
Many kids dream of becoming a firefighter, and every year many adults from all over the continent pursue the career relentlessly. They read about how to become a firefighter, speak to those currently serving on a firefighting team and investigate the schooling requirements. In most cases, if the desire is strong enough, the investigation will prompt them to enlist into firefighter training.

Experts recommend that aspiring candidates give serious thought to the potential risks and physical demands associated with the job before beginning the training process. It is a lengthy course and can be an expensive one. Only those with serious intent to follow through will make it.

Where to Start
Successful recruits advise finding a currently serving or recently retired firefighter to act as a mentor. This person can guide you through the training process and encourage you when things get tough. They will also be a good source of practical information regarding the career – such as typical hours of work, on the job requirements and the current firefighter salary.

Education Requirements
Investigate the local training programs for firefighters and paramedics at nearby colleges or academies in order to obtain information on the basics. It is also necessary to apply for a position at the fire halls in your state and across the continent.

Potential recruits need to upgrade several skills that are beyond the immediate scope of firefighting. Community involvement is often required for a firefighter to be offered a position. Upgrading your education to include a second language and improve math and science levels will help solidify the dream. Volunteering in your local area is also a great idea.

Outside of the school classroom, additional learning and training will be required prior to physical testing and stepping into a firefighter’s uniform. Be sure to have up-to-date CPR and Life Guard training certification. Knowing the basics of heavy equipment operation is a plus for many municipalities, and knowledge in the handling of hazardous material is often a requirement.

Physical Requirements
Physical fitness is essential in this career. Firefighter training is an intense physical trial and your body should be in top shape at the onset. A healthy diet, as well as regular physical exercise and muscle toning, need to be part of a firefighter’s lifestyle.

Good vision is an important factor to consider. As a general rule, firefighters must have a minimum vision level of 20/30, which must be an uncorrected level of vision. If you currently wear glasses or contacts, you may want to examine the possibility of laser vision correction.

Entering the Firefighter Training Program
You have read about how to become a firefighter, taken the time to upgrade your education and are in top physical condition. The next step is to apply for positions at the local fire departments. Many people recommend applying wherever you can, even if you prefer to work in a specific area. You will most likely learn something in the process.

An initial interview is the first stage of application. Similar to any job interview, it is conducted face to face and will either make or break your chances with that particular fire department. Be prepared. Hopefully, prior to your interview, you will have had many discussions with your mentor and hitched a few rides on actual fire trucks. Dress well and be professional at all times. Firefighting is a very serious position; hence, acting overly familiar and aloof at this stage will not help your chances.

Although you would undoubtedly welcome information on available positions, expected firefighter salary and hours of work, the department may or may not provide you with such information during the interview. They may withhold those particular details until (and if) you move farther along in the process.

As a general rule, you can count on working long shifts as a firefighter with a certain amount of days on and a certain amount of days off. You will be required to work holidays and can anticipate a salary of around $40,000 once you gain experience in the department.

After the interview, you can expect a written skills test, pertaining to the training and education that you upgraded before applying. Lastly, you will need to undergo the physical test, which will be harsh and demanding, as the job often is.

Once both of these tests have been passed, you will enter the department’s training or apprentice program, which may be a close repeat of what you previously learned in the firefighter training program. There will be a probationary period of employment that generally lasts from 3 to 6 months before you become a full-fledged firefighter.

Beyond the monetary benefits of this job, there are many intangible rewards. For those who successfully make it through the training, it will be a career that enriches their lives as they protect the lives of others.


Written by John Manley
Having experienced 2 house fires, John Manley now devotes some of his spare time educating people about the importance of having fire extinguishers, CO and fire alarms, and proper escape plans though the website: Fire Extinguisher: 101 -


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