The Life and Responsibilities of a Firefighter

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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The Life and Responsibilities of a Firefighter

This essay will provide insight into the life and responsibilities of firefighters. It will discuss the challenging aspects of the job, including physical demands, emotional strain, and the critical role firefighters play in emergency response and community safety. The piece will highlight the skills and dedication required in this profession. PapersOwl showcases more free essays that are examples of Firefighter.

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Firefighting is an extremely important job. It saves many lives and property. “Firefighters have the responsibility of protecting life and property from the hazard of fire” (Hopke 242). Firefighters also go on emergency calls such as heart attacks, respiratory problems, any other medical problems or just to help save stuck or trapped animals. If an individual is considering going into firefighting, they should find out all they can about it. They would need to find out especially about the nature of the work, training requirements, the salaries and benefits, and the overall employment outlook.

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A career in fire fighting could be dangerous and exciting as well as rewarding: firefighters are needed to save lives and property.

In firefighting, the nature of work varies depending on the size of the department and city. Some jobs a person could have would be hose handler, ladder handler, truck driver, inspector or tiller handler who drives the back end of a long truck. Firefighters will fight different sizes of fires. Sometimes they fight big burning buildings or little grass fires. Since there is such a great amount of heat put off from a fire, firefighters wear protective clothing. During a fire, there could be confusion, so firefighters are organized and put to different duties. These firefighters are supervised by fire captains, battalion chiefs or the fire chief. When a fire is out, some firefighters wait around to make sure that it is completely out.

There are fire investigation lieutenants or fire marshals that try to figure out what started the fire and where. These people can arrest an arsonist or talk in court according to what they find out. Besides fighting fires, firefighters go on medical and emergency calls. Fire inspectors are people who inspect buildings to make sure they are not hazardous. Firefighters have to keep all of their equipment in top order in case of emergency. There are many training requirements for firefighting. A person going into firefighting needs to be 18 years of age or older and have at least a high school diploma. “Applicants for municipal firefighting jobs may have to pass a written test; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination and agility; and a medical examination including screens for drug use”(Careers 297). Some large departments have on-the-job training classes or courses for new firefighters. These courses teach them how to use equipment and study firefighting techniques (Snelling Sr. and Snelling 112). Some personal qualities firefighters need would be courage, mental alertness, endurance, mechanical aptitude and a sense of public service.

Firefighters also need to work well with others because they are always in groups with other firefighters (Jist 278). Being a firefighter requires someone to take orders well as in emergency situations, it could be very important (Hopke 244). Firefighters also undertake medical classes. A firefighter would start out by taking an EMT class, then IEMT, and finally, paramedic, which is the top medical class a firefighter can attain. Also, firefighters take college courses to obtain their medical certification. Many people enter the field of firefighting due to the salaries and benefits. I asked John Ginn, a firefighter, if given a chance to do it all over again, would he still pick this field and why or why not. He responded, “Yes, because of the type of work and benefits” (Ginn, Personal Interview). The average beginning salary for beginning firefighters is about $20-22 thousand per annum.

As firefighters progress in their career, they gain rank and receive higher pay. The benefits they receive include paid sick leave, paid vacations, medical and liability insurance, and some paid holidays. Firefighters also get their protective clothing, breathing equipment, and dress uniforms. They are also provided with everyday uniforms which include shirts and pants, but they have to buy their own shoes. After 25 years of service, firefighters get half-pay for retirement. If a firefighter is disabled in the line of duty, they also receive retirement pay (Careers 298). These are some of the benefits that firefighters obtain.

The overall employment outlook appears positive. Every year, there are thousands of job opportunities available. These openings occur when current firefighters retire, pass away, or switch careers. Many new positions are created when small towns upgrade their volunteer fire department to an organized city fire department (Hopke 242). Firefighters rarely get fired or laid off due to the importance of fire protection. “Even when budget cuts do occur, local fire departments typically withhold from purchasing new equipment or withhold from hiring new firefighters, rather than laying off staff” (Jist 279). The competition for these jobs is high due to a large number of applicants, but even so, employment prospects are good. The working conditions for firefighters are unlike most jobs because the nature of work can be dangerous. They risk their lives during burning building incidents where the walls, floors, roofs or the entire building could collapse on them causing death or injury.

Firefighters risk their lives to save others and their properties. They are also exposed to gases and smoke, which could be dangerous and cause permanent injuries. The hours spent on duty at the fire station can affect the amount of time a firefighter can spend with their family compared to other jobs (Hopke 246). John Ginn stated, “the thing I don’t like about it is that it is hard on the family, being gone at night”(Ginn Personal Interview). Firefighting can be rewarding, exciting, and dangerous. Firefighters are crucial for saving property and lives. Even if firefighting is dangerous, it is worth it when a firefighter rescues a person from a fire or car wreck.

Firefighting is easy to get into after high school and doesn’t require many post-high-school classes. Even though firefighters have to pass a physical test, it’s worth it. Firefighting is a reasonably paying job with many benefits. Once someone is a firefighter, they usually stay in the profession until they want to retire or change careers. This is because firefighting has a low turnover rate. The working conditions can be dangerous and strenuous, as they are on call 24 hours a day. Despite the dangers of firefighting, it might be worth considering. It seems like a job that many people would enjoy. Firefighters are generally liked by most of the community for the services they provide.

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The Life and Responsibilities of a Firefighter. (2022, Nov 10). Retrieved from