What is it like to be a firefighter

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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 firefighters 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.

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