A Closer Look at a Career as a Fireperson
If there’s anything that we know about firefighters, it’s that they are often regarded as heroes and heroines. It’s no surprise that there have been an abundance of movies and TV shows where the central characters are firefighters and the challenges they face. Among the most notable films are “Ladder 49” and the classic film “The Towering Inferno” (which your parents or grandparents will know about). As for the TV shows, there’s a plethora of them such as “Chicago Fire” and “Station 19,” but make sure to watch these with adult supervision as some scenes can be downright scary.
Unlike pop culture though, the road to become a firefighter doesn’t just happen in a snap. If this is the profession you have in mind, be prepared for a lot of hard work – and we’re not talking about just physically. There’s more to being a fireperson than just mere physical prowess, let us take a closer look below:
Firepeople – What You Need to Know
Firefighters are the first people anyone calls whenever a fire breaks out in their vicinity, be it a residential or commercial. Their main duty is to look out for individuals whose lives are threatened by the fire and ensure their security and safety by extinguishing the fire or at least minimizing it so it becomes less of a threat.
However, there are times when a fire completely goes out of control and firefighters will have to risk their lives and enter burning structures to save individuals who may have been trapped. At the same time, they put their lives on the line as they endure smoke inhalation and weakening or falling structures.
Despite their job title though, firefighters are also professionals to rely upon in emergencies that don’t necessarily involve a fire. For instance, a recent incident of a man falling down an elevator shaft in Downtown Toronto prompted witnesses to rely on firefighters to rescue the man who fell three floors down.
And if you think firefighters are only for humans, think again! After all, we all know about firepeople rescuing cats trapped in trees. A similar incident occurred in Mooney’s Bay in Ottawa recently except that this involved a Canada goose who got entangled in guide wires that keep birds away from the beach. It was Ottawa Fire Services who came to the poor bird’s rescue.
When not responding to emergencies and being heroes and heroines, firefighters still have a lot to do. They are responsible for the upkeep of their trucks, hoses, and other equipment and take part in continuous training and drills that make them better prepared for emergencies. At times, they also visit schools and community centres to teach kids and adults about fire prevention. This is especially common during fire prevention week.
According to PayScale.com, firefighters can earn C$52,116 a year.
The physical requirements to become a firefighter is extensive, and you will have to earn a valid Physical Fitness Assessment or CPAT in most areas. In addition, it’s ideal that you have a 20/30 vision, as well as certifications in First Aid and CPR Level C. You may also have to complete a Firefighter Practice Aptitude Test which will equip you with the know-how and skills to become an effective firefighter.
On the other hand, the academic requirements for becoming a fireperson is not heavy, but this doesn’t mean that mental prowess takes a backseat. While only a minimum of a Grade 12 diploma is required in terms of education, firefighters need to have the mental alertness and agility to be able to respond appropriately to emergencies. Plus, it takes a lot of courage and valor to put one’s own life on the line to save another – there’s no amount of studying that can earn one those qualities.
Pros and Cons
A career as a fireperson can be physically strenuous. They are on call 24/7 and may be required to put in more work hours depending on the gravity of the emergency. It’s common to hear of people who work 24-hour shifts should the situation call for it. It can be mentally taxing as well since firepeople do put themselves in danger in order to ensure the safety of their community.
While there are disadvantages, the role of a firefighter can be extremely rewarding as it’s definitely a profession that serves a great value to the community.