9 Essential Skills Needed to Become a Successful Firefighter

Being a firefighter is a demanding task. By the very definition of the job title, a firefighter is someone who is not afraid to put his life on the line for others. He is a person who goes against the bleakest of odds, duels with death every day and still survives. From running into hellish fires to dropping down wells to save lives, a firefighter performs astonishing feats of courage, strength, and sound-mindedness regularly.

This type of selflessness and courage, and not to mention physical and emotional strength, is a gift not everyone is blessed with. So if you are planning to become a firefighter, then you’ve got your work cut out for self. You need to possess the necessary skills of a fireman, and not all of them can be taught at the academy. Therefore, before you get your hopes up and start day-dreaming of wearing that glorious uniform, you need to take a good hard look at yourself and see if you have the fundamental qualities of fire personnel, which we have listed below.

1. Keep Your Nose Clean!

A hero is a synonym for the term firefighter, because that is what they are, without any question. But while it’s good to hear, being a hero is a hard job. Unlike ordinary folks, you are not allowed to make mistakes and have gray moral areas. You need to be a shining example of what a model citizen should be like. You need to be morally unbreakable, and your actions need to be kind and selfless. Being a public servant, people will look up to you.

You will not only represent yourself but the state and city you belong to. Any wrongdoings or criminal activity on your part will taint the name of the entire department. So, before firefighters are hired, they go through a thorough background check. Any criminal record can permanently damage your chances of ever joining the force. So, keep your nose clean and be on your best behavior at all times.

2. Be a Shrine of Physical Fitness

A fireman’s life is a life of action. Firefighters need to be in phenomenal physical shape. You will be pushed to your limits, and required to summon incredible strength in an instant along with showing amazing flexibility at a moment’s notice. You need to work out daily and start building your strength and stamina.

It is not always about who has the biggest muscles either; most of the times, especially in jobs like this, you need to be finely tuned on an overall basis. That is, your speed, muscles, agility, and stamina should go hand in hand with each other. So, be in tip-top shape and adopt a healthy lifestyle.

3. You Need to be a Braveheart

When you’re staring at a curtain of fire in front of you, engulfing everything in sight, it’s tangerine tongues licking the night air; you will realize just how courageous are those who dare to charge in there, fearlessly. How much control they have over their nerves and how they gather courage even to face such a calamity. A firefighter needs to be a braveheart. It is not about taking the risk; it is about something productive coming out of it. Thus, courage and caution progress together in a fireman’s life. Know this that every action you take in the field will have a direct effect on others.

4. Flexible in Your Work

You will be tested, and forced to work outside your comfort zone, and you need to shine on those occasions as well. Furthermore, you have to be willing to do any task at hand without being rigid. When your squad needs you; when lives are depending on you, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that you come through for them. So, if you cannot adapt to your surroundings and conditions, then this line of work is not for you. Discomfort is a part of the job description when you are a firefighter.

5. Dedicated Towards Tasks at Hand

People who work in jobs like this usually have something mental, spiritual, and emotional driving them. It is a fuel which is more potent than any other thing known to man and can enable a person to push limits beyond the point which is deemed natural. This dedication that a fireman has, to save lives and protect the community is something one cannot manufacture.

If you don’t feel as committed to helping people, then maybe you shouldn’t be a firefighter. There will be times when giving up will seem like a better solution. But, the times when all the odds are against you, will show your dedication towards your job and humanity.

6. Be a Team Player

While a fireman is sometimes a one-man army, he might need his comrades to help on several occasions. Teamwork is a skill every fire personnel needs to have, not just for others but for his own safety too. These passionate firefighters tend to act on impulses often, and they often find themselves in sticky situations. To bail them out of these scenarios, they need others backing them up. Also, going against a raging conflagration requires planning. So, to fill the shoes of a firefighter, you need to be able to work in a team. Being a lone wolf might be cool in the culture right now, but it just cannot work in jobs as intense and critical as this one.

7. Prefer Others Over Yourself

A firefighter is a public servant and hence needs to put others before self. There is no room for selfish behavior in this line of work. Your pain, your injuries, your life, they are all secondary. But it is easier said than done. Selflessness is one of the most prominent characteristics of a firefighter. So, if you have a problem putting other’s before you, then this is not the job for you.

8. Control Your Nerves

Another crucial skill of a fire person is that he must be able to control the nerves and think straight in dangerous situations. It takes a lot of mental fortitude not to let bad conditions cloud your judgment. Keeping a level head is necessary for circumstances where the slightest mistake can lead to a casualty. So, if your temper runs hot and you lack nerve control, then start learning how you can get your mind and heart in line. Try meditation and other such things to begin training yourself in keeping cool and calm in troublesome situations.

9. Resourcefulness, Intellect, and Presence of Mind

The above mentioned three skills are interlinked, and that is why we have decided to cover them in a single point. A firefighter might not always have all the tools that he needs, or sometimes he might be stuck in situations where using a particular device might lead to something terrible happening. So, in those times, he will need to find other ways, which implies to resourcefulness.

Getting the work done with what you’ve got and not letting the progress stop is a vital firefighting skill. Sometimes, you can be provided with all the resources in the world, but you wouldn’t be able to perform tasks that are required at that particular time. A firefighter also needs to be quite smart and handy with the approach. He needs to have the knowledge regarding how houses are built, where to look for things; all of this forms an integral part of a firefighter’s job profile.

Lastly, a fireman needs to have a presence of mind by being aware of the surroundings at all times. The professional also needs to know where he is entering and what will be the way out from there. If you’re jay-walking in a burning building, then you’re as good as dead, and so are all those who are counting on you. So, it is imperative that you keep your wits about yourself at all times, especially when you are in the field.

References

  • https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/firefighter
  • https://www.firerescue1.com/firefighter-training/articles/781925-The-10-traits-all-great-firefighters-have/

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