The Life of A Firefighter
By Maryam Sheikh
Blaring sirens, bright red trucks, and long hoses. The life of a firefighter is constantly changing. It is sure exhausting, but rewarding.
Firefighters must be willing to put themselves in dangerous situations in order to fight fire, salvage accidents, and put the lives of others ahead of their own. Furthermore, they must have the ability to think of solutions to problems on the spot when they are thrust into new situations. They have to maintain their composure, be able to think critically, and analyze details. Firefighters are also good team members. They work with the rest of their groups, listen to each other, and trust one another.
Often working long and tiring hours, firefighters may work between 24 and 48 hours on any given shift. If there are emergencies, they may be called to work overtime. When they are at the firehouse, they make sure all the equipment is ready and safe to use, clean the area, and engage in rope and sprinkler drills. They also might catch up on some sleep until they are called for an emergency!
On calls, firefighters engage all of their senses in order to rescue people. They must brave the intense heat, loud noises, restricted air, and other obstacles in order to save victims. They also have to be comfortable with people because they are often in situations where they are interacting with many different people in vulnerable situations.
In preparation to fight fire and other accidents, firefighters follow a physically demanding fitness routine. They regularly carry tools such as heavy hoses, ladders, pumps, and extinguishers. In fact, when firefighters are not on call, they are often doing apparatus and equipment checks to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Outside of the firehouse and calls, firefighters also have other jobs. They can work with medical professionals and law enforcement, and can also participate in school programs. They may come to schools to teach students about the importance of fire safety, how to deal with an emergency, and what it is like to be a firefighter.
What exactly does it take to become a firefighter?
In Ontario, firefighters must have a high school diploma, be willing to work flexible and long shifts, have a Standard First Aid certificate, and CPR training at a level for Health Care Providers. Additionally, they must go through firefighter education and training or have previous experience as part time firefighters. Each municipality differs in its requirements.
The next time you are in your city, try to find your local firehouse. See if you can arrange a visit and see some of the equipment that is used and maybe even step foot into a fire engine.
It’s also very important to appreciate and recognize the work firefighters do. They are incredibly brave to put their lives on the line for people they do not know. They spent countless hours training, battling, and rescuing people from dangerous situations. Moreover, many of them sacrifice time with their own families to protect citizens. Our cities would not be the same without them!