What Does A Firefighter Do?
Putting out fires from burning structures and rescuing those trapped inside them has long been the role of firefighters. Their responsibility has evolved to encompass responding to various types of emergencies that put people’s lives in danger. One could say that the main task of firefighters is to save lives.
Firefighters are called upon to hose down conflagrations that occur in residential communities, urban and rural areas and even in forests. When called to respond to these situations, they drive their fire trucks and vehicles to the scene where they locate the nearest hydrants and connect their hoses. They also power the hoses by operating the pumps and begin to spray water to put the fire out. They may have to use their ladders in order to put out fires in the higher floors of buildings.
When there are still people trapped inside burning structures, firefighters often have to risk their lives and enter the buildings to save them. They may have to use various tools to break through walls and burning debris in order to get people out. As soon as the injured are placed out of harm’s way, firefighters are also trained to provide the immediate medical attention they need before they are transported for further care to the hospital.
Forest firefighters who are trained to respond to wildfires and bushfires use specialized techniques and equipment to do their job. For example, they know how to create fire lines in order to cut off the fuel supply of the fire and thus prevent it from spreading and causing further damage. Forest firefighting can take days to control, making it dangerous and tiring.
Firefighters are also equipped to handle fires that are caused by gasoline and other types of fuels since these cannot just be put out with water. Some firefighters are also specialists in handling oil spills and chemical accidents where they do their work together with hazardous materials removal workers.
The National Fire Protection Association revealed that fires actually comprise only a minority of the emergency situations that firefighters respond to. In fact, 2 out of 3 calls that they attend to are calls involving medical emergencies. This is why many fire departments require firefighters to attain the EMT-Basic level certification so that they know how to provide first aid treatment to individuals.
Other fire departments go a step further by requiring an EMT-Paramedic certification which enables them to provide more sophisticated first aid treatment at the scene before transporting victims to the hospital. In states where certain emergency situations—such as getting stung by killer bees or being bitten by venomous snakes—are common, firefighters are trained to handle them accordingly. After each emergency incident, firefighters have to write reports and file them with their supervisors.
When firefighters aren’t putting out fires or resuscitating heart attack victims, they are in their fire stations cleaning equipment and maintaining their fire trucks. They need to make sure that these are ready and can respond to emergency situations immediately. They also keep themselves alert and physically fit by constantly performing practice drills and undergoing physical fitness exercises.
Firefighters also educate the public about fire safety by conducting seminars and drills in schools and communities. They also teach students and other individuals how to conduct basic first aid so that they can save the lives of their families and friends even if emergency workers are not yet at the scene. An important component of their training is teaching people how fires can be prevented. By sharing the things that people can do in schools and in their homes to stop fires from happening in the first place, firefighters prevent damage to properties and loss of life.
Some firefighters go on to become fire inspectors and fire investigators. Fire inspectors are tasked with inspecting edifices to make sure that they comply with fire codes and determine if it has fire hazards. They also check if the building has a fire evacuation plan in place. Fire investigators, meanwhile, find out what caused a fire. Like police officers, they gather evidence, talk with witnesses and reconstruct the sequence of events to find out why the fire happened.
Career Spotlight: Firefighter
If you see yourself in a career that gives you the chance to keep fires under control then you can consider a career as a firefighter. But let’s get this straight: Putting out fires is not going to [...]