What’s involved in being a firefighter?
As a firefighter, you will be called upon to tackle various emergency situations where your problem solving skills and initiative will be vital to resolve issues quickly and calmly. Incidents vary from tackling fires and rescuing people from burning buildings to dealing with chemical spillages and Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs).
A sensitive approach will be required when dealing with members of the public, who may be distressed and confused. Today’s firefighter also works closely with the community to increase their level of awareness and to help prevent incidents from occurring in the first place.
Being able to communicate effectively to schools, community groups, voluntary organisations and others is important, as is treating people with dignity and respect regardless of their background or culture.
The Attributes Required
There are certain personal attributes you will need to fulfil your role as a firefighter. These include confidence, resilience, adaptability, ability to communicate effectivley, integrity and have a commitment to diversity.
The role of the firefighter is continually changing as new techniques and equipment are introduced. As well as responding to emergencies, you will also be expected to work closely with the community.
Additional roles of a firefighter are:
- To prevent fire and accidents from occurring in the first place.
- Educating the community by visiting schools, community centres and people in their own homes.
- Advising people about planning escape routes within their own homes in case of a fire.
- Actively seeking to understand and to value diverse individuals and groups.
Training and Development
As a firefighter you will be expected to undertake a continuous training programme by attending lectures, exercises, practical training sessions and other forms of training to maintain competence levels.
You will be expected to take responsibility for developing your own skills and ensuring that your fitness levels are maintained as the work can be demanding, both physically and mentally.
For an insight into what 12 weeks of training is like, please download the Recruit Diaries from within our downloads area.
Retained Firefighters are an essential part of the Fire and Rescue Service. They serve rural communities, responding to pagers when an emergency call is received. A retained firefighter must live or work within five minutes of the fire station. Clearly, flexibility is key and you will need to be either self employed or have an employer who is supportive and willing for you to leave work at a moments notice to attend an emergency.