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Firefighters

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Why Would Anyone Want To Be A Firefighter?

Why would a person decide to become a firefighter is not an easy question to
answer. Until you have been a firefighter and experienced it first hand, you
can not really grasp the reality of all the feelings that come with the job.
Have you ever done something nice for someone and got that feeling inside? The
one that makes you feel like you are flying? You feel all warm and fuzzy inside
and can't really explain why? Well, that's why those dedicated to the fire
service stay. Try to imagine the way you would feel if you just saved a life or
rescued someone you did not even know for any other reason than they needed
help. Can you imagine how great you would feel for doing it? This is what the
firefighter feels each time a life is saved or a home is stopped from burning.

Being a firefighter is a very stressful and dangerous job to say the least but
it is in this that many thrives. Not everyone can take on such a job and see it
through making it a lifelong career. Many have tried it just to see if they
would like it bunt the real dedicated heroes of the fire service know from the
first moment they choose this way of life that they will never be the same
again. There lives will forever be entwined in the fire service and even if
they choose to leave the service, they will always be a part of it in their
hearts and minds. If you are thinking about being a professional firefighter,
you need to realize that if you are looking for a good paying job, this is not
it. You will do alright with the salary offered but by no means will you become
wealthy from it. Knowing this only reinforces the dedication that is needed to
the job.

If you are looking for a job that offers a low stress rate, firefighting is not
what you want. To be in the fire services, you need to be able to handle high
stress, low sleep, and situations that are going to press some nerves. It is
especially nice when it is 3:00 Am and it is snowing outside and you get a call
for someone who upon arriving on the scene was only lonely and not really sick.
You feel for them but the stress and warm cozy bed back at the station can
really get you aggravated about it all. If you are already high strung, maybe a
nice desk job is what you want. The risks of injury and death are high for those
choosing the fire services as their career. Many deaths occur as a result of the
job they perform each and every day. Heath related risks are also a real
possibility from the exposure to all types of chemicals.

With this in mind, again I ask, "Why would anyone want to be a firefighter?" I
guess my answer to you would be that along with the all these negative traits
of the fire services, the faithful men and women who have made the choice to do
what they do each and every day are there because they love what they do. They
love being able to help when no one else can. What other job can you do that is
total service tot someone else each time you go to work. This is a big part of
the love of the firefighter to their profession. Now, I guess the only thing
that remains to ask is, "Why do you want to be a firefighter?"

A Firefighter's Character

When we think of firefighters we think of regular people who are doing a great
service for our community but did you ever stop to think about what kind of
traits and characteristic that person has to have to do a great job? Not
everyone can do the job or has what it takes to even try. What is it that makes
a firefighter great? The five main traits are: being able to be resourceful,
honesty, being resilient, being able to be flexible, and to be motivated tot do
the job. Being a true firefighter comes from the inside out not the other way
around.

A firefighter must be honest with others and also with their inner self. It
seems implied that the general thought of a firefighter does not include those
stealing items from the home of the fire nor from the firehouse. Inner honesty
comes when an individual can be honest with themselves about who they really
are. They are able to face their shortcomings as well as their strengths and
use both to the best of their ability. Being honest about not being superheroes
could very well stop a disaster from happening. When you think you are
invincible, there is always one situation that will show you your not. You also
need to realize that you are not going to be able to save all those people you
try to help. At some point you will loose one of them and it is better to face
that fact now then when it comes face to face with you. Trust and honesty is
also a bonding agent with those whom you work with every day. You need to be
able to trust your fellow firefighters with your life.

Resourcefulness, resiliency, having flexibility, and motivation all fall under
the heading of how to do your job better. No fireman ever said they had to miss
a fire because they had other plans. I am sure many wives will attest to the
fact that the dedication can sometimes go far beyond working hours. Bing
resourceful comes in handy when you are faced with a situation and the
conventional tools and methods are just not working or unavailable. There are
some times when improvisation may be necessary and this requires a fast way of
thinking. Let's say you ran out of splints because of the number of patients at
an accident scene. You need to think of something quickly and resourcefulness
will provide the sticks and fabric you need to create a homemade version.
Motivation is the best trait to get you going each and every time you have a
call. Without it, there would be nothing left to go to work each day.

All five traits are important tot ht firefighter and a successful career. The
top of the list has to be honesty. The rest of the four traits are superficial
to this one. Honesty is not a luxury in this field but a requirement and a very
necessary one. To be honest, you need to be able to trust yourself and to gain
trust from the patient as well as fellow firefighters. If you think you have
the traits you need to be a successful firefighter, maybe a firefighting career
is for you to consider.

What Is It Like To Be A Firefighter?

Fire statistics are given to us through television, newspapers, radio, and
other media sources. It is apparent the damage that fire can cause when left to
its own devices. This is why firefighters are so important to the community.
Fire fighters are usually the first face to respond to any time of emergency.
They not only help to remove people who are trapped in burning structures, they
also help with medical emergencies, car accidents, and many other situations.
When they are not treating a patient or putting out a fire, they are cleaning
the equipment and making sure all the items they need are in proper working
order. Constant training is needed to make sure their skills are up to date
with new equipment and techniques. They work together as a team and go where
many others do not even dare to tread. Each team member has a different
responsibility. You have regular firefighters, fire marshals, those who inspect
buildings for fire safety, those who teach and train other firefighters, and
those that are trained in search and rescue techniques. Smokejumpers are sent
to fire situations by helicopter or plane and jump to the fire.

The firefighter is one that needs to stay in shape for the work they must do.
The need to be physically fit to withstand the elements of the fire and also
the stress associated with the emergency situations that arise. While on duty,
they stay in the fire station. For those with a specialty in the fire service,
they may not be assigned to a regular station but stay for duty at an airport
facility or a factory facility. Hours of duty usually mean they pull shifts of
three days on and four days off. Then it switches to four days on and three
days off. This provides at least 40 to 50 hours each week of work. Each shift
runs about ten or twelve hours each time. While at the fire station, they live
like anyone would at their own homes being able to eat, sleep, shower, and
watch television when they are not working on the trucks and equipment or
responding to calls. Fire marshals and fire investigators usually do not
respond to regular calls and will work from an office. Fire inspectors ensure
the buildings in the area are up to code and are being run by the laws set to
ensure fire safety.

Firefighters wear different types of gear to provide protection to them while
they are in a fire or dangerous situations. The biggest piece of gear essential
tot the firefighter is the turn out gear. This provides fire and glass
protection from head to toe when combined with a pair of gloves, boots and a
helmet. Turn out gear is very heavy and very hot. In the summer time it can be
a hundred degrees inside the turn out gear. This is why it is so important for
the firefighter to be in top condition physically.

A firefighter's salary runs about $35,000 to $60,000 a year. Some specialty
firefighters use make as much as $75,000 a year but have undergone extensive
training and are put into extremely dangerous situations. The amount of jobs
for firefighting is expected to rise in the future and there will be more
positions opening up for anyone who wants to make this their full time career.

Requirements To Become A Firefighter

If you are interested in becoming a firefighter, you need to be aware of the
requirements for the job. These will, of course, differ from state to state,
sometimes from town to town as well. Although there are differences, these
general guidelines listed below will give you an idea of what you can expect.

The most general age is usually at least 18 years of age, but there are some
fire departments that allow 17 year olds to apply. The age listed on some
applications as maximum age for applying is 29 years old. Your local fire
department will have their age limits listed on their application forms. Most
fire departments require each applicant to at least possess a high school
diploma, or a GED. This is accepted as general practice in most states, and
most usually is understood. This is a basis to work from when applying for
continuing education specialized in your chosen field. There are some fire
departments that require the applicant to have already attended different
courses and to have acquired special education in fire fighting. Some fire
departments require the applicant to have acquired EMT-Basic, EMT-1 or
equivalent skills for the position you are applying to fill. If you have
successfully completed your EMT-1 or higher, you should be registered with the
NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians). For those that
require additional training, prior to hiring, you will need to show proof of
having obtained certification from the Approved Fire Fighter Training program.

Some fire departments name a clear driving record as mandatory, and require the
applicant to possess a valid and current driver's license with a clear driving
record. Some states go back 3 - 5 years on the driving record concerning points
and the reason you received them. It stands to reason that there must be no
convictions for criminal offenses, especially for anything in relation to the
job of an emergency worker. The applicant must show excellent physical fitness,
and a physical assessment is mandatory during the recruitment process. You will
also undergo a medical exam under the respective fire departments physician.
Your vision is a necessity, and in most cases, they prefer you to have above
average vision, unaided/uncorrected. Color vision as well as peripheral vision
is also tested, along with your hearing, which must also be unaided. You as the
applicant are generally preferred to reside in the county in which you are
applying. You must definitely reside in the state.

The following are some qualifications you may want to attempt to obtain; these
will escalate the worth of your application, and show you are already immersed
in the world of firefighting. This is done by either volunteering or working
during or after high school in career related fields. For instance, first aid
work and/or training, driving large trucks or even emergency vehicles, any form
of medical training or work. Completing any academic or trade program in your
intended field is a benefit toward applying for a job as a firefighter, and be
prepared to have a copy of your transcripts on hand. Most fire departments are
particular in the applicants they choose for recruitment, and hiring. This is
because there is a lot of stress and trust put on these men and women that make
it to the final selection round. It takes someone physically strong and able, as
well as emotionally and mentally strong. The stress alone is enough to bring a
strong man to his knees, add to that, the fact that each call could be the
last, or the fact that you could be facing long term health issues just from
breathing the air around you at the scene of a fire. This and more are reasons
that most people have no desire to be firefighters, however, there are a select
few that make it all the way and become every little boys dream -- a firefighter.

What You Need To Become A Firefighter

If you are truly interested in the fire service, there are a few things you
need to pass in order to do so. There is training, the application process,
background check, physicals, and the health exam to name a few. Each department
and county may have its own special requirements for those wanting to apply for
a position as a full time firefighter. Most of the guidelines fall within about
the same range as the other departments does. Once you have completed all the
formalities of being able to join, you must complete the fire academy for your
training. Being certified to fight fire is necessary or you could be putting
not only your life at risk but also the lives of others. Let's take a look at
some of the things you will need to become a successful firefighter.

The first thing is the application process itself. You can expect to undergo
some of the same things as if you were trying to apply for any other type of
job. A background check and criminal history will be done to ensure you have a
clean history with the law and to make sure you have never been convicted of
arson or other fire related crimes. Many arsonists start out as firefighters.
Also, a clean background check and criminal history will provide the public
with a safe environment. Most of the time you are also required to pass a
physical exam to ensure good health and also a psychological exam to make sure
you are up to the task of facing the stresses of the job. Once you have passed
the application process, you are now ready to learn the essentials of being a
good firefighter at the fire academy.

The fire academy is the place where all the new recruits or applicants will
learn about fire and the different techniques in fighting the fire. You can
learn how to use the equipment properly and to carry out complicated rescue
procedures. The most essential training you will receive is on the behavior and
science of fire. You can not fight something you do not know about. Once you
begin to understand the makeup and actions a fire will take, putting it out
will be made much simpler. When you have completed the training at the fire
academy, you may be placed in a fire department to get the hands on experience
you need. This may be without pay until you can show you are ready to be hired
on full time or until a position opens for you. Most of the time, there is a
waiting list of those who have finished the academy and are waiting to be hired
professionally.

Now that you have finished the application process and finished the fire
academy, you are a firefighter of sorts. You now have the certification you
need to recognize as having the training as a firefighter. What are most
important are the inner qualities that you will never learn in school. These
are the positive traits needed to be a firefighter like honesty, patience,
dedication, love of the job and now you has everything you need to say with
confidence that you are a firefighter and just maybe a pretty good one at that.

Firefighting: The Tools of the Trade.

There are many different tools and pieces of equipment used by firefighters
today. Some of these pieces of equipment rarely see the light of day, and
others rarely see any rest. We will discuss the tools of the trade in the next
part of the article.

The helmet, face mask, and /or visor are specially designed to protect the
firefighters' head from any hard objects that might fall on them, and the visor
helps to protect the eyes from any flying debris. Turn-Out gear, also included
is a turnout jacket and pants - the term 'turn-out' comes from the fact that
the jacket and pants were most usually kept by the fireman's bunk to be ready
at a moment's notice. They are sometimes still referred to as such, or merely
the jacket and pants.

Certified NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), fire retardant gloves
specially designed for the sole job of firefighting are also a necessary part
of the whole outfit. Fire resistant, water-resistant chemical and pathogen
retardant boots, sporting complete steel sole and steel toe complete the gear
and provide the necessary protection on the outside of the body. Underneath the
above mentioned pieces are a few others that will ensure not being burned by
either the steam or fire? Special Carbon and Nomex hoods are capable of
resistance to heat and flame, and are made out of a special material called
meta aramid which is a form of para aramid kevlar. It was first produced by
Dupont.

Items that are needed but do not protect the firefighter from burns are used to
provide the firefighter what is necessary to do his or her job correctly. The
first of these items is the SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) is used
for filtering the air that the firefighter breathes when working around a lot
of smoke or noxious gasses. The PASS (Personal Alert Safety System) is worn by
firefighters and is a tracking device that allows those not inside of the
structure to track the movements of those wearing it. If a person becomes
inactive for a specified amount of time or if they manually trigger the device,
help will respond. A flashlight, hand held radio for communication purposes
between firefighters, and a pager or receiver commonly used for sending alerts
to firefighters not on site at the fire department are all as important as any
other piece. The pagers receive a page if they are needed to respond to the
emergency call. A Pike pole is a piece of equipment that is usually 6 - 10 feet
in length and was originally used to pull down walls and ceilings to prevent the
spread of fires. It is used for poking holes in walls to find hidden fires in
walls or ceilings, as well as being used to break windows or pull things out of
fires. A Halligan bar or multi purpose tool generally used for punching,
twisting, prying, or striking is also an essential tool. This tool is made up
of several different heads, such as a wedge, a claw end, and a crow bar type
end. An authentic halligan bar is one solid tool, not made up of several heads
welded on. In some of the larger departments a thermographic camera or a
special camera that shows thermal imaging (infrared imaging) that is used
inside structures to find victims not able to be seen, and for finding missing
bodies in car wrecks if there are woods nearby.

These are only just a few of the many tools and pieces of equipment that
firefighters use when fighting fires. Just looking at the tools listed above,
you get the feeling they carry a lot of extra weight, in gear and equipment
alone, added to that, any air tanks they have to carry or additional ropes or
hoses, as well as their own weight. It is no wonder they sometimes drop from
sheer exhaustion. Each piece of equipment is vital, and nothing can be left
behind. Although we might not understand all the uses nor needs they have, the
firefighters are trained with all of the equipment they use, and their training
is ongoing. Each fire department is constantly running drills as well as
continuing courses on new equipment as well as teaching the best ways to use
current accessories. As long as there is fire, there will be crises and the
need for trained firefighters.

Fire Investigation

Once the fire department has put out the fire, the next team to go in is the
fire investigation team. Their task to determine what happened to start the
fire and from what direction the fire came from. They use a technique known as
fire science to help in their investigation. In the United States, you need to
hold a certification through the International Association of Arson
investigators to be able to complete fire investigations. For those that choose
to carry it to the next level. There is a national certification through the
National Association of Fire Investigators. This group is made up of
individuals who are professionals in the field of fire and explosives. Fire
investigators can also become specialized by obtaining certain credentials in
specific areas of vehicle investigations, explosives investigations, and also
instructor certifications. Investigators will also find it useful to learn
about many of the common appliances in the home, home construction basics, how
humans behave, etc. Whatever form of fire investigation is chosen, the
intricate details of the scene must be studied for an accurate ruling on the
fires origin.

It is very hard to investigate a fire. Fire investigation is considered to be
one of the more difficult forms of crime scene investigation or forensic
science. The difficult question to ask in fire situations is whether or not it
is an actual crime scene. In most of the other types of crime scenes, the wrong
doing is usually obvious providing a body, blood, or evidence of foul play. With
a fire scene most of those indicators have been destroyed and the fire
investigator is only able to use what is left. In a fire scene the main
argument is about arson. The fire investigator must decide if the fire was
started by an arsonist or by accident. To do this, the investigator must take
all the evidence he has left and also look at the events leading up to the fire
if they are available.

A system is used by the investigator to determine the fires cause. It could
almost be considered a specific scientific method. A highly skilled fire
investigator should have other resources available for those scenes that
require an expert on a certain subject. This means that an appliance may need
to be looked into deeper and by someone qualified to make a judgment call on
the working order of that appliance. In vehicle fires, it is also important to
know if any part of the care was malfunctioning at the time of the fire. These
things are all a part of the fire investigation and should be used when
necessary.

Five things need to be in place to conduct a proper investigation. The first is
the assignment being given to the investigator and them knowing what they are
needed to do. Next, planning comes in and the investigator must get together
all the things they need such as tools, help needed, and equipment for fire
determination. Third, the scene needs to be looked over and examined and any
evidence needs to be collected. Fourth, the evidence collected is examined
carefully, findings are written down, retested, and reevaluated for correct
findings. Finally, the scientific method is used to determine the cause by
whatever the findings are from the evidence. All this is the correct procedure
of the fire investigator when using fire science.




Health Risks In Firefighting

Standing a good chance of being burned, crushed, or killed are only a few of
the risks that firefighters face at each call they respond to, but aside from
these obvious risks, are some not so obvious ones that have long term, damaging
effects in their lives concerning their health and length of life. To understand
these risks we need to be aware of them and how they will ultimately affect our
futures as well.

Self preservation is perhaps the most critical skill these firefighters can
learn. They are taught during their schooling and drills the importance of
knowing where they are and the hazards surrounding them at all times. There are
a few pieces of mandatory equipment to aid specifically in lessening their
chances of developing long term problems. The first of these is their SCBA
(Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) which is used to filter the air around
them in cases of high levels of carbon monoxide or gaseous air, as well as
aiding in preventing smoke inhalation. The problem with these -- they are not,
as with anything man made, 100% foolproof, meaning there is still going to be
noxious gasses or smoke inhaled by the firefighter. The PASS (Personal Alert
Safety System) is used primarily as a means of locating firefighters inside a
burning structure if they have to cease movement for at certain period of time,
or if manually deployed. It enables those outside to keep track of the movement
of the workers inside, and to enter in and aid them if anyone needs it. Along
with these are the personal self rescue ropes. These have proved invaluable of
late, sadly too late for some. Two firefighters in New York lost their lives
after jumping from a fourth story window to get out of the fire. Out of the
four who jumped and somehow managed to survive the fall, just one of them had a
self rescue rope. Following the incident, the city of New York has cleared the
issue of mandatory self rescue ropes for all of their firefighters.

Of all of the hazards they face in a day, you would think it hard to suffer
from any vehicular related incidents, however, the opposite is true. At least a
quarter of all of the deaths that occur to firefighters, in the United States,
are accidents involving vehicles as they are either returning from a crisis or
responding to one. There have also been far too many killed or injured during
their work at an incident, by other vehicles. Following this is the most fatal
hazard to most firefighters everywhere, heart disease. For some, this may come
as a surprise, but for others it is only logical. Heart problems have long been
associated with firefighting, and cardiac death is, shockingly, the primary
cause of death for firefighters in relation to on-duty deaths statistics. There
are other occupational hazards, such as carbon monoxide, and substances
containing nitrogen and carbon, and hydrogen cyanide. Carbon monoxide is most
usually found in most fires that occur, but hydrogen cyanide is a deadly gas
created when plastics, cotton, paper, and other things that contain nitrogen
and carbon in them, are on fire. These deadly gasses are supposedly filtered
through the SCBA, but the inhalation of them retards the flow of oxygen in the
body, possibly resulting in Hypoxia which ultimately can result in heart
trouble.

Smoke inhalation is another largely damaging hazard. Not only are the lungs
effected, but also your heart and your body in a myriad of ways suffers from
the smoke, and can result in atherosclerosis. Hypertension has also been
attributed to firefighting, due to the noise and stress involved in any crisis.
These situations call for speedy actions and quick decisions to be made. This
can be draining emotionally as well as mentally and physically. Over-exertion
can also result in problems with the heart, as some firefighters have a
tendency to push themselves physically much farther than is wise.

Are Emergency Workers Only Firefighters?

Emergency worker is a term that covers such a multitude of job titles and
descriptions. The United States government has a listing that defines the
different classes of emergency workers and the general duties expected of them.
This not, by any means, something for you to act off of, it is merely an article
that attempts to educate people on the different labels for emergency workers,
and how they relate in their jobs during disasters. Even before the onset of
any disaster, you have to have Administration workers. These people manage the
coordination of support activities as well as the recruiting and directing.
Their job includes clerical, technical, and administrative duties among others.
Pilots are another class of emergency workers that are a necessity. Without
these brave men and women and their assistance by air, whether for search or
rescue, there would be many more lives lost. The aviation workers are required
to be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and their aircraft must
be approved by the FAA also.

Communications workers involve those that set up communication posts in an
emergency, and enable contact where there would normally be none. These people
are knowledgeable in the laws governing state and local emergency
communications directives. Those workers that carry the title of Engineering
workers have a busy job that covers many branches of activity, such as,
mechanical, structural, and mainly electrical engineering activities. They are
the ones that are looked to for re-building both temporary shelters and
permanent posts. Their job is to build where nothing is, as well as maintain
roads, bridges, highways and streets. Fire Fighters are also emergency workers.
They not only cover the fires that break out during disasters, but also handle
some of the medical aspects as well as rescue missions. They are expected to
educate the general public concerning fire safety and hazards, and heighten the
awareness of the dangers of different types of fires. Although they are
encouraged, volunteer fire fighters are not listed as emergency workers.

General Emergency workers are perhaps the most chameleons like of the bunch.
They are used where ever they are needed, but rarely specialize in any one type
of emergency. If there is a flood, these workers are called to help bag sand for
a temporary sand wall. They are required by law to register as temporary
emergency workers each time they assist in a disaster. They are the ones that
join in search parties, help handle casualties during a disaster, and work
where ever they are needed most. Emergency workers that work with hazardous
materials respond to incidents that require their help. These emergencies must
follow the formerly coordinated and planned actions that have been approved by
the local or state government concerning the handling of hazardous materials.

Police and other law enforcement workers are responsible for upholding the laws
that comply with state, local, and federal rulings. They are sworn to serve and
protect the people in their communities to the best of their ability. Emergency
workers that handle Mass care are the ones that help hand out food, clothes, and
other simple necessities in the event of a disaster. They handle the planning of
controlled evacuations, manage mass care centers, and provide as much help is
possible for those that have survived through a disaster. As you can see, these
are not all of the categories; however this number of them is certainly
necessary. Emergency workers are, in essence, the very glue that holds our
society together. With out them, we would lack order and discipline, health and
safety. Supporting them and the difficult jobs they carry out is small in
comparison to what they do for everyone else. Everyone, at some point in time
in their lives, will need the aid or assistance of another person, and
regardless of the disaster or circumstances, it is the emergency workers that
provide us with exactly that.

Fire Academies: Which Ones Pass the Test?

As with any occupation, even firefighting has schooling and specialized
training available for those interested in pursuing a career in firefighting.
The difficult thing is finding the right academy, or the best academy to suit
your goals. Depending on your location, here in the United States, you may want
to consider an academy close to you, however, there are some that stand out and
grab attention everywhere for their results as well as their excellent
instruction. One such fire academy is located in San Diego county in
California, proudly offering a highly acclaimed boot camp/instructional course,
specializing in basic fire management/suppression, using portable pumps, water
usage, an introduction into wildland fire behavior, basic training in fire
details, and many more. This particular academy offers this specialized
instruction in a boot camp atmosphere, using former Marine DI's (drill
instructors) as the teachers. The course lasts a period of 21 days, and if
successfully completed, assists the applicant in procuring an entry level job
in firefighting. There daily training routines begin at 05:00 AM and usually
end at 08:00 PM, except on days the are running night training exercises. This
is not an academy for those that would like to drift through their schooling.

To find an academy in your area, visit firejobs.com. They have user friendly
menus that make finding any information concerning this topic and many others,
a breeze. If you are simply researching these academies, you can get an address
of one closest to you, by typing in the city you are looking for. If there is
more than one academy in a state, it gives you a choice of which city. As
informational websites go, this one is at the top of the list for contact
information, and up-to-date information. They also offer a section of
employment opportunities across the United States. This could prove invaluable
for those of you who have already obtained certification in your course work,
and are now searching for a job.

Any of the fire academies you research, all require the applicants to be at
least 17 to 18 years of age. This specific number differs from state to state,
and is sometimes dependant on the type of job the applicant is interested in.
You must have a valid high school diploma, or GED equivalent, as well as having
in your possession a valid driver's license registered in the state in which you
are currently residing. To get a better idea of what you can expect at a fire
academy, and to even get advice on the best one to attend, try getting some
information from your local fire department. Most of them allow you to apply as
a firefighter without the higher education, but you are expected to follow
through and your job duration is often dependant on whether or not you
successfully pass the academy. If you have friends that are currently
firefighters, this could prove invaluable toward gleaning good advice and
information toward the best academy to attend. Do not be afraid to ask
questions and get information. Your diligence can only add to your learning
experience, and try not to underestimate people based on their age, sex, or
rank. Everyone has something to teach you.

Upon successfully completing the fire academy of your choice, you will need to
keep a copy of your transcripts for this and, of course, any other specialized
training, on hand to attach to your application when the time comes. All fire
departments require proof of courses, certifications, and schooling completed
prior to recruitment. By engaging in as much volunteer work as possible before
you actually join the fire department, you will be increasing the level of your
hands on experience, and the wealth of knowledge available. The internet puts a
veritable wealth of information at your fingertips. Use it wisely, and find the
information you need. As long as your age falls in the correct parameters, and
you are physically fit, you could be well on your way to joining the fire
department, and becoming a member of the brotherhood of firefighters.

Women Firefighters: The Unsung Heroes

Just passing the six year mark of the 9-11 terrorist attack in NYC, brings back
to mind some of the devastation and heart ache we, as Americans suffered not so
very long ago. Although it has been six years, in our hearts, the pain is
sometimes as fresh as just the other day. There were so many innocent lives
lost, and not all of them directly from the attack. Many lives were lost,
during the rescue and excavation attempts as well. The many firefighters that
responded as quickly as they were able to respond, saved numerous more lives
that could have raised the death toll, that sad day. It is these firefighters
that we turn our attention to now since many of them were women. Not once
during the interviews and picture taking have I seen a female firefighter being
addressed. Perhaps I have watched all the wrong channels, or read all the wrong
newspapers. Just once I would like to make sure credit is given where credit is
due.

The women at Ground Zero, as well as women everywhere that have embraced
firefighting, regardless of it being mostly a "man's world" have still to be
recognized for their exemplary bravery as well as their untold sacrifices.
Unknown to most people, women have been involved in firefighting for the past
200 years. That alone calls for attention, added to the fact that during World
War II, the firefighting world was predominantly women, due to the fact that it
was actually a necessity. Suffice it to say, when needed, women stand to take up
the slack, and with the men off fighting the war, the women stood and took their
places as bravely as the men.

The first recorded female firefighter was Molly Williams, a slave in New York
and from there on, women found their way into the fire departments and stood
hand in hand with the men there, and working side by side to help save lives in
whatever capacity arose. Too many fallen and wounded women have gone unnoticed.
Most people are not even aware there are women firefighters, let alone ones
that make a difference. These women are not just ordinary firefighters; some of
them hold positions in command and carry their titles proudly. Where does this
leave us today? Strong, brave, and true. Women everywhere are picking up the
banner to support women firefighters, and keep them from fading into complete
obscurity. The number of women firefighters continues to soar. Here in the
United States, they claim 30 - 40, 000 in numbers. That number is far too large
to not attract attention, but apparently there is no one interested in bringing
it to light. That leaves it up to us to educate the younger generations, as
well as the world today, about the women in firefighting. If we don't do it,
who will? For women, it is merely an act of coming full circle, they give life
to their children, and save lives as well.

In some cases, the women that have bravely entered into firefighting, their
jobs are a daily battle for them. Some of them suffer sexual harassment almost
daily, as well as not being recognized as a competent firefighter. For some it
has been an uphill battle, but they have fought long and hard to pave the way
for those that might come behind, and perhaps make the road a bit easier to
follow. They have fought against work place discrimination, improper gear and
uniforms, as well as equal rights and opportunities. It is highly doubtful we
will ever hear all of the stories that they have suffered through, but the ones
we have heard make enough of an impact to give the desire to spread the word. No
longer are the women in firefighting unseen and unheard, and we will no longer
allow them to operate as unsung heroes.

Aviation Firefighters

An airport is a busy place, with the planes and people coming and going,
traffic in and out, what happens when there is an incident that involves
chemicals, fire, or danger? They call the fire department, just as we do, but
it makes you wonder just how quickly they could respond to a call for help with
all of the hustle and bustle of an average day. The airport has their seperate
mini fire department. These firefighters are called aviation firefighters.
Their training is the same on the first aid level, but there are some major
differences that show themselves if you have ever gotten a first hand look at
some of these aviation firefighters in action. Even some of the first
aid/medical training is different, as far as working under certain conditions,
and treating different kinds of wounds. By taking an up close and personal look
at these firefighters, we will understand a little more of what their jobs
entail and how different they are.

First we will take a look at what tasks are sometimes required of them. A large
number of plane crises occur over water, which results in a crash, and when the
aviation firefighters are called, they must have the ability to aid in the
situation, quickly and responsibly. By use of mobile vehicles as well as
watercraft, they aid in the evacuation of people under life threatening
conditions. They must have the ability to remain calm, while making immediate
decisions in the best interest of each situation. Their knowledge and skills of
first aid are far above basic, and they are required to maintain proper
certification and current knowledge during the length of their jobs. Most of
the equipment they use is concurrent with standard firefighting equipment, as
well as using some tools and chemicals that are for more advanced fires and
situations. An understanding of and an ability to use a wide variety of
equipment is mandatory. Along with the usual hoses are foam sprayers, and
complex monitors and machines. As well as having the skills to use the
equipment, they must be knowledgeable on the maintenance and care needed to
keep all fire vehicles, working equipment, including hoses, in top form.

Along with saving people and putting out fires, these special firefighters must
keep in mind the necessity of protecting the environment as well. They are
educated on how to do so, and what course of action would best suit the current
conditions at the site of the emergency. Suffice it to say, not only do they
save lives, but also the earth. During the rush and routine of the airports
activity, these firefighters are manning the Fire Control Center at each
respective airport. They are the ones that maintain safety rules and
regulations are being adhered to, while keeping flight take offs and landings
as safe as possible. They observe the arrivals and departures of all incoming
and outgoing aircraft, to make sure safety is being kept in mind. Another duty
for them is the conduction of inspections concerning fire safety and
inspections of all fire alarms within the airport. At any time, most airports
are teeming with activity, and these firefighters have their hands full. They
are responsible for educating the airport employees on any changes that are
made to fire safety routines or practices, and must conduct fire drills
periodically to ensure everyone is capable of acting in the event of an
emergency.

Some of their physical requirements are, of course, being physically fit, able
to dive with underwater breathing apparatus, as well as swim. The physical
requirements are quite intense, due to the nature of the job and the type of
crises that are expected to occur. To find out more about your local aviation
firefighters, contact your local fire department, or your local airport. To
know them is to appreciate them since they bring more meaning to the phrase,
"flying friendly skies".

Firefighter Museums

For those of you that enjoy a wonderful walk down memory lane, firefighter
museums are especially for you. The number of museums built with the sole
purpose of educating people and memorializing fallen firefighters, has grown
drastically in the United States alone, but other countries are also building
their own firefighter museums. These are special places to visit and immerse
yourself in a different world for a small amount of time. Since most of them
are run solely on the goodwill of donors, many of them are quite small, but
others have grown and hold important pieces of history in them, telling stories
of long forgotten traditions and keeping memories of fallen heroes alive today.
Almost all fifty states in the United States have a firefighter's museum within
their home state. These are experiences from our past that beg for attention and
remembrance. Preserving the history of such a valiant job with deep roots in
each community is only expected, and educating people about it is a necessity.
How many of you are able to say you know even a small portion of the history of
firefighting? Not many do -- not enough care. Our history, of our nation, is
what defines us as the people united together today, and being aware of our
past, even in the firefighting industry, could be a piece of us that has been
missing. Intertwined together is every small part making up the bigger pieces.

It is up to us to remember the brave men and women that selflessly sacrificed
their lives to save others, and their families as well. These family members
are not recognized often enough for having been the strength for their
firefighters. It takes a strong person, mentally emotionally and physically to
be a firefighter and it takes the same kind of person to be their mate. The
countless lives lost while responding to calls is more than tripled when your
figure into account, the number of family members that lost pieces of their
lives and hearts when their firefighter fell. These museums help, even if in a
small way, to keep their memories alive, and to proudly proclaim their actions
and bravery until the world's end. Heroes are special and should be treated as
special people in the eyes of others.

The history of firefighting is a fascinating subject as well, how it evolved
over time and grew to be a major occupation today. The tools, equipment and
gear has changed quite dramatically just from the 1970's. Where there used to
be plain rubber jackets and boots, they now use special hoods of flame
resistant material, helmets with specialized face visors, and most importantly,
SCBA gear (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) for aiding in less smoke
inhalation and the breathing in of noxious gasses. As we have seen the
improvements made in the firefighting industry from the past to the present,
who knows what the future holds? What exciting changes are coming that were not
even thought possible all those years ago. Can you imagine what the future will
think about our primitive items? That is such a funny thought to think on our
fire apparatus as primitive for the future generations.

Locate the nearest firefighter museum to you, visit it and immerse yourself in
their world for a short while. You will come away with a new knowledge and
understanding of what they encounter in the normal course of their days, as
well as a stronger appreciation for the jobs they perform. As we see from the
"Fireman's Prayer", at WorldFireDepartment.com, these brave people give so much
of themselves, and ask for little in return. Shouldn't we be giving them our
support? If you can, make it a day to remember. Maybe you can take a group with
you and share the experience. Better yet, take a child with you and show them
something that will forever be a wonderful memory to them.






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