In fire fighting 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. Fire fighters 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, fire fighters wear protective clothing. During a fire there could be confusion. so fire fighters are organized and put to differnt duties. These fire fighters are supervised by fire captians , battalion chiefs, or the fire chief. When a fire is out some fire fighters wait arround 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, fire fighters go on medical and emergency calls. Fire inspectors are people who inspect buildings to make sure they are not hazardous. Fire fighters have to keep all of their equipment in top order in case of emergency. There are many training requirements for fire fighting. A person going into fire fighting needs to be 18 years of age or older ands to have at least a high school diploma. “Applicants for municipal fire fighting 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”(Caeers297). Some large departments have on the job training classes or courses for new fire fighters. These courses teach them how to use equipment and study fire fighting techniques (Snelling Sr and Snelling 112) .
Some personal qualities fire fighters need would be courage, mental alertness, endurence, mechanical aptitude, and a sense of public service. Fire fighters also need to work well with others well because they are always in groups with other fire fighters(Jist 278) . Being a fire fighter someone would need to take orders well because in emergency situations it could be very important(Hopke 244) . In fire fighting fire fighters also take medical classes. A fire fighter would start out by getting his EMT class then IEMT and last paramedic. Which is the top medical class a fire fighter can get. Fire fighters take colledge courses to get there medical certification. Lots of people go into firefighting because of the salaries and benefits. While interviewing John Ginn, a firefighter, if he had to do it over again, would he still pick this field and why or why not. He said, “Yes, because…the type of work and benefits.”(Ginn, Personal Interview) The average beginning salaries for beginning fire fighters i about 20-22 thousand dollars a year. As fire fighters work longer they gain rank and get higher pay. The benefits fire fighters get include paid sickdays, paid vacations, medical and liability insurance, and some paid holidays. Fire fighters also get all their protective clothing, breathing equipment, and dress uniforms. They are also provided with everyday uniforms which include shirts and pants. They have to buy their own shoes.
After working 25 years, fire fighters get half pay for retirement. If a fire fighter is disabled in the line of duty they also get retirement pay. (careers 298) These are some of the benefits fire fighter get. The overall employment out look looks good. Every year there are thousands of job opportunities available. These jobs are available from other fire fighters who retire, die or go to a different job. A lot of new jobs are made when a small town upgrades their volunteer fire department to an organized City Fire Department (Hopke 242). Fire fighters seldom get fired or layed off. This is because fire protection is so important. “Even when budget cuts do occur, local fire departments usually cut expenses by postponing equipment purchases or not hiring new fire fighters, rather than by laying off staff” (Jist 279)
The competition for these jobs is tough because so many apply, but even so the employment is good. The working conditions for fire fighting are different than most jobs. Working as a fire fighter could be dangerous. This is because some of the work can involve risking one’s life. In burning buildings the wall, floors, roofs or the whole building could fall on a fire fighter causing death or injury. The fighters risk their own life by doing this just to save other people’s lives and property. Fire fighters are also exposed to gasses and smoke which could be dangerous and cause permanent injury. The hours that fire fighters spend on duty at the fire station can take away from the amount of time a fire fighter can spend with his family as compared to some other jobs (Hopke 246). John Ginn said, “the thing I don’t like about it is that it is hard on the family, being gone at night.”(Ginn Personal Interview) .
Fire fighting can be rewarding, exciting, and dangerous. Fire fighters are needed to save property and lives. Even if fire fighting is dangerous it is worth it when a fire fighter saves a person’s life from a fire or car wreck. Fire fighting is easy to get into after high school and it doesn’t require many post high school classes. Even if fire fighters have to pass a physical test, it is worth it to get on. Fire fighting is a reasonable paying job and has many benefits. Once a fire fighter is into fire fighting they are usually in it until they want to retire or change jobs. This is because fire fighting has a low turnover rate. The working conditions are dangerous and strenuous because of being on call 24 hours a day. Even though fire fighting is dangerous, it would be worth getting into. Fire fighting seems like a job many people would like and enjoy. Fire fighters are liked by most of the community for the service they provide.