How Are Fire Fighters Trained?

Firefighters: Our Real Life Superheroes 

Have you ever wished that you magically wake up one day bestowed with super powers to save lives and be a hero? The feeling of saving someone from something that could have otherwise ended their life and everyone applauding you for your heroic actions, isn’t that just the dream?

Well, there’s a very slim chance of that ever happening, the super power part that is. But would you believe that every day someone out there is doing the saving you wish you could do? The people I am talking about are our noble and beloved firefighters.

When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished.  What he does after that is all in the line of work.

-Edward F. Croker

Firefighters are brave and brazen enough to jump into any dangerous situation for the sake of saving others. No matter the danger, they never think twice about risking their lives for others. This is what makes them one of the most respected individuals not just in the United States, but in the whole world.

This makes us wonder, how in the world did these men and women gain this much bravery? What training could they have gone through to be able to face death in the face every single day? Finally, the answer is here.

What Are Firefighters?

Firefighters are one of our first line of defenses when it comes to any emergencies. Whether it is fire related or not, you can depend on them to get you out of your sticky situation. Whether it be car crashes, rescue missions, floods, practically anything that results in someone or something in need of saving, you can rest assure a firefighter can do the job.

What Are The Requirements To Become a Firefighter?

Before an applicant to become a firefighter can even start training he or she already undergo scrutiny. This assures that only the best of the best can be allowed to go through the next stage of becoming a firefighter, which is the actual training.

Here are some of the most important requirements before one can become a fully pledged firefighter:

  1. Pass a Physical Exam– Also known as the Candidate Physical Ability Test; applicants are required to pass an examination which determines if they are physically capable of handling the strenuous job of a firefighter.This exam was made to help fire departments obtain groups of trainable applicants who are physically able to carry out necessary job tasks at fire scenes. The primary focus of the physical ability test is agility, upper body strength, and endurance. (1)
  2. Get a Degree in Fire Science– This isn’t necessarily a requirement to become a Firefighter. However, if you intend to advance in your career as a Firefighter, this would definitely make it easier for you.
  3. Pass Examinations– Fire fighting departments typically require applicants to pass certain exams to make sure that they have enough knowledge to perform their jobs correctly. The tests often include written, physical and psychological exams.
  4. Technical Requirements– there are some requirements that applicants only need to prove such as having a 20/20 vision, high school diploma, a clean criminal record, and lastly be at least 18 years old (21 in some states). Some states have a maximum age limit so make sure to check that out in your locality.

Firefighter Training

Let no man’s ghost return to say his training let him down.

-Firefighters Saying

The actual training is more difficult than any of those tests that the applicants were made to do. It requires the highest level of discipline and hard work. Many candidates drop out from training before they can even finish due to rigorous exercises they are made to do.

Here are some subjects that are taught to firefighter applicants in the United States:

  1. Fire Prevention– the phrase “prevention is better than the cure” is as true as it can get when it comes to fires. It is important for firefighters to know about fire prevention so as they can communicate to their individual communities the best practices in preventing fires.
  2. Fire suppression techniques– as their name signifies, the job of a firefighter is to “fight” fire. They must be fully knowledgeable in important details such as how to put off different types of fire, and what material extinguishes each type of fire.
  3. Hazardous materials control– as was said above, the job of firefighters are now just limited to burning buildings and properties, they may be called upon to help clean up spills of materials hazardous to people.
  4. CPR– Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is necessary for situations where fire victims have inhaled high amounts of smoke.
  5. Chain-of-command protocols– it is important for a firefighter to know the organizational structure of their department so as that they can work more efficiently and effectively as a group.
  6. Simulation Exercises– Possibly the hardest one of them all, simulation exercises places firefighter trainees in mock-up versions of possible events that they may encounter, and yes that includes entering burning structures.

Watch this video on how Burbank Fire Department trains its recruits:

It is indeed hard to become a firefighter, but actually working as one is equally if not more challenging. Hence, before you think about entering a fire department ask yourself if you are willing and able to go through all this process.