Become A Fireman

Firefighter Salaries

Firefighter salaries vary greatly depending on a wide range of factors. Average pay rates for firefighters throughout the United States range from $21,000 to $61,000 per year. Over half of full-time firefighters are paid between $31,000 and $51,000 annually.

One of the biggest factors in firefighter pay is location. For example, Salary.com lists the median salary for all firefighters in New York City as $49,180, while the median listed for an area in rural Virginia is $37,662. Obviously, more populous locations with a greater risk of danger may also come with additional pay, but this does not always hold true. Some mid-sized cities may be able to afford to pay qualified firefighters at higher levels, even though they have relatively less risk when compared with areas like Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York.

The type of job and level held also impact firefighter salaries. Indeed.com statistics for July 2011 indicate the highest paid firefighters are those that hold supervisory or management roles. Average pay for these job types is $65,000 per year. Other higher paid fire fighting positions include those who are also paramedics. Lower ranking firefighters and basic wilderness firefighters are among the lowest paid. General statistics seem to indicate firefighters who are responsible for teams or departments, as well as those who have additional technical skills or education, are higher paid than their counterparts.

As with any position, experience and tenure will increase pay. Full-time firefighters are reviewed on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis for performance. The frequency of review and possible pay raise associated with a positive review depend on the location and procedures of the particular fire department. By providing quality service over a number of years, firefighters can raise their pay by thousands per year as they move from rookie to experienced team member.

In addition to straight pay, firefighters also receive benefits as part of their compensation. Full-time firefighters can expect to receive health insurance which covers medical or dental expenses. They may also be eligible for 401k retirement funds, health expense reimbursement accounts, life insurance, and paid time off in the form of vacation and sick days.

Most of the time, part-time firefighters are paid on an hourly basis and are not eligible for the benefits described above. Volunteer fire departments may offer a small stipend or other perks to members of their team in lieu of salaries. These items are usually at the discretion of local governments or station managers.

Female Firefighters

We Americans suffered great losses during the 9-11 terrorist attack in New York City. Thinking about it brings to mind some of the devastation that we as a country endured. Although it took place many years ago, the pain is very real even today. Many lives were lost, not all directly from the attack. Many people died during the rescue efforts and evacuation attempts. Firefighters responded as quickly as they were able to and saved many lives on this sad day. Many of these firefighters were women. They deserve just as much recognition and praise as the men do.

The women who were at ground zero, and women everywhere who have embraced firefighting as their career of choice need to be recognized for their bravery and untold sacrifices. Most people do not know that women have been involved with firefighting in some way for the last 200 years. During World War II the firefighting world was actually dominated primarily by women because they were a necessity at the time. When needed, women are there to take up the slack. When the men were all away fighting the war, women stood in their places just as bravely as the men did.

The first female firefighter was Molly Williams who was a slave in New York. From then on women found their way towards fire departments and stood hand in hand with the men who were already there. They worked side by side to help save the lives of people whenever the opportunity presented itself. Wounded and fallen female firefighters have gone unnoticed and most people are not aware that these firefighting women exist. These women are more than just ordinary firefighters, some hold positions in command and they carry these titles proudly. Today strong and brave women everywhere are in full support of female firefighters to keep them from fading into obscurity. The amount of female firefighters in the service is always on the rise. In the United States alone, there are approximately 30 to 40 thousand of these brave women. These large numbers are too large not to attract attention. However not many people are willing to bring this to light. It is up to us to educate younger generations, and today’s world about women in firefighting because if we do not do it who will?

female-firefightersIn certain cases, women who have bravely entered the world of firefighting go through a daily battle with their jobs. Often they suffer sexual harassment and are not recognized as being competent in the firefighting world. For most women this is an uphill battle and they have to work very hard every day of their lives to pave the way for those women who follow them so it is easier. Female firefighters have to fight against workplace discrimination as well as gear and uniforms, which are inappropriate for their bodies. They must fight for equal rights and opportunities. One could spend their entire lives listening to the stories female firefighters have to tell and never hear everything they have suffered through. Female firefighters are no longer fighting fires in the shadow of a man. They will continue to thrive as long as people spread the word about their bravery.

Firefighting Around the World

The term, firefighting, brings images of brave male and female firefighters to mind. These people are skilled in the art of fighting fire and have gone through all the crucial steps to becoming a firefighter. They have studied and practiced for a long time to be where they are. These are the men and women who come to aid us in times of distress or disaster. They rescue people and sometimes animals, making them local community heroes. Most people do not realize the great deal of difficulties they have to go through during their intense and difficult training. Even when training is complete, their job is a very difficult one which unfortunately sometimes ends in the death of these brave men and women.

The art of firefighting is known worldwide, from the smallest rural areas to largest cities and towns. Where there is fire, you will find firefighters doing their jobs. Some of these people are professionally trained, and receive an average firefighter salary. Others are volunteer firefighters, who are not usually paid for their services other than with the respect and gratitude of the community. Some firefighters are known as “call” or “retained” and are paid only when they are called in to respond to an emergency. Most countries in all parts of the world use this same system of firefighters, although there are occasionally some differences.

Germany takes firefighting very seriously. A volunteer fire department exists in every town as well as a professional fire department. However, the amount of volunteer fire departments outweighs the professional ones. Volunteer firefighters in Germany have equal knowledge to professional firefighters and will often work with them on the same calls. Even though these firefighters and women generally have the same training and skills as career firefighters, they are still called volunteer firefighters.

Venezuela has a special group of firefighters called university firefighters. These people are specifically trained to respond to fire related emergencies in universities and campuses in the country. They fight fires specifically within campus boundaries and surrounding zones, which are relevant to the university. Venezuela takes education quite seriously both in university, and in their fire department. They are also expected to design and develop new firefighting technology and ideas, and this is encouraged by the government. Eighty percent of university firefighters either possess a degree already, or are working towards one. This ensures a higher level of ability and intelligence, proving that a higher education applies to all areas of life.

firefighting-around-the-worldAustralia has two groups of firefighters, which are volunteer and career firefighters. Volunteer firefighters are trained similarly to career firefighters and are trained to assume command if they are the first to arrive at the scene of a fire. This includes assuming command over local fire departments as well. Volunteer firefighters are usually paid by their employers if they are called away to fight fires while they are scheduled to work. Although each country has small differences in the way their fire departments are run, the art of firefighting is universal.

Steps to Becoming A Firefighter

If you are interested in becoming a firefighter, some things need to be done in order for you to succeed. First there is training, then the application process which includes background checks, physicals, and a health exam. Every fire department in the country have their own specific requirements for those who want to apply to work with them. Guidelines in most fire departments are similar. You must complete fire academy training in all cases. Becoming certified to respond to fire emergencies is necessary because without it you are not only putting your own life at risk, but the lives of others.

The first thing you must go through is the application process itself. This is similar to the process of many other jobs in that a background and criminal history check will be done to ensure you have a clean record. They especially look for any previous charges of arson or other fire related crimes. A clean background check is important because your job will be to provide the public with a safe environment to live in. Most fire departments require a physical exam and a psychological exam to ensure that you are up for the tasks and stresses of the job. After the application process is complete, you will be ready to learn all the essentials in fire fighting at the fire academy.

The fire academy is where all applicants will learn about fire as well as the different techniques for extinguishing them. They learn about the proper use of equipment and carry out many fire rescue procedure drills until they have them memorized. The science of fire is taught and is very important to learn. You cannot help fight an enemy you know nothing about so learning about everything associated with fire is very important for your job. After your fire academy is completed, you will be able to be placed in a fire department so that you can get the hands on experience that you need. You might have to work without pay until you can be hired on as a full time firefighter. There is usually a waiting list at each fire department to be hired on professionally.

becoming-a-firefighterAfter finishing the application process and fire academy, you are officially a firefighter. You have the certification to be recognized as a firefighter. Most importantly, are the qualities you will have inside yourself and how you have grown as a person. These qualities cannot be taught in any school. You will have patience, dedication, honesty, and a deep love for the job you’ve set out to achieve. You will have the confidence to say that you are a firefighter. Once you have the requirements to become a firefighter you will be able to get started on your journey to save the lives of many in a community that has given so much to you. Most importantly, it is a way to give back to the firefighters who spend each and every day saving lives, becoming heroes in the eyes of others.

Requirements to Become A Firefighter

If you are interested in the steps to becoming a firefighter, you must first be aware of the job requirements. While these will often differ from state to state and even city to city the following will give you a basic idea about what you can expect.

Generally, you must be at least 18 years of age to be accepted into any fire department or training academy. However, some allow 17 year olds to apply. Certain applications also have a maximum age of 29 years to apply. You will need to contact your local fire department to find out the exact age requirements. Most fire departments and academies also require that you have your high school diploma or GED equivalent. This is a common requirement for not only firefighting, but also in order to get continuing education in any chosen field. Many fire departments require that you complete special courses or special education in fire fighting such as EMT Basic or EMT 1 before you can even apply for an entry-level position. Once you have successfully a course in EMT 1 or higher, you can become registered with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, or NREMT. For fire departments, which require these additional courses, you will need to show proof of certification before you may be accepted into the firefighter training program.

With some fire departments, it is required that you have a clear driving record, and must have a valid driver’s license. In some states, they will go back three to five years in your driving record to check for any problems you may have had, and what happened. You cannot have any criminal convictions or offenses on file, especially those that would be in relation to the job of an emergency worker. Every applicant must be in excellent physical shape and a complete physical assessment must be completed during the recruitment process. The fire departments own physician will also conduct a medical exam to ensure you are in perfect health. Your vision must be perfect in most cases, and often times it is preferable to be above average vision. Peripheral vision and color vision is also tested along with your hearing. Both vision and hearing must be unaided.

Some additional qualifications may be a good idea because they help your chances in being chosen for a firefighter position and show your willingness and dedication to firefighting. Volunteer work is one of these qualifications and can be done during high school in firefighter related fields. First aid work or training, driving emergency vehicles, or any form of medical training can be used to an advantage when applying for a position. Any trade or academic program in the firefighter field or relating to the field will definitely be an advantage for you. Be prepared to have a copy of your transcripts on hand when you are applying.

firefighter-jacketFire departments are very particular about who they hire and will only hire the best of the best. This is because a lot of trust and stress are put onto the male and female firefighter. Someone who is physically strong, as well as mentally and emotionally strong is necessary to perform the kind of job firefighters do. The stress of the job can bring even the strongest of men to his knees. Firefighters have the realization that any call they respond to could be their last, and that the jobs they do can lead to long term health effects from breathing air contaminated with smoke and chemicals. It is because of these reasons that most people have no desire to be firefighters, and do not have what it takes. Very few people make their dream of becoming a firefighter a reality.

Can Anyone Become A Fireman?

When most people think of firefighters, they think of average men and women who just happen to do extraordinary things for their community. However, firefighters are not just average people, they possess incredible traits that help them do their jobs, and do them well. Five traits which are common amongst firefighters are: being resilient, the ability to be flexible, motivation to get the job done, being resourceful, and honesty. Becoming a firefighter must begin on the inside, and many of the personality traits a fireman has cannot be taught.

If a person is to become a fireman, they need to be honest both with themselves, and with the people around them. Sometimes the biggest truth a fireman can tell himself is that he is not a hero. In order to do a good job, a fireman must accept both his strengths, and his weaknesses, and use both in the best way he can. True honesty means that when a firefighter is faced with a challenge above his abilities, he will admit to himself that he is not invincible, and by doing so he can prevent himself, and others from being hurt. Honesty is so important when becoming a firefighter because you need to be trusted with the lives of others and you must also trust other firefighters with your life. A fireman must also realize, that there will be times when he cannot save everybody, because sooner or later he will be faced with the reality that even though his job is to save the lives of others, he may lose someone.

In order to do a better job, a fireman must have resourcefulness, flexibility, resiliency, and be able to motivate himself and others. Firefighters are dedicated to their jobs, and you will never hear one say that they had to miss a fire because they had other plans. Fireman wives can confirm that oftentimes the dedication of a firefighter goes far and beyond the standard working hours.

For a firefighters, being resourceful is important because sometimes they will be faced with a situation where the usual method and tools for dealing with it are unavailable. Because of this, firefighters need to improvise with whatever tools are available to them. For instance: If there was a situation in which the fireman ran out of splints due to the number of people at an accident scene, he would need to think of an alternative quickly.

Motivation is also an important trait that all firefighters should have. Motivation gives each fireman the drive they need to get the job done. They can easily motivate themselves and each other, getting them excited and ready for each call.

rookie-firefightersAll of these traits are important not only to the firefighter, but to anyone he or she crosses paths with. Of all the traits previously discussed, the most important one is by far honesty. It is not a luxury, but a requirement for this field of work. First and foremost, you need to trust yourself in order for the people you help, as well as other firefighters to trust you. If you are a person who have these traits, you could become a firefighter.

Fire Investigation

After the firefighters job is complete, and they have finished extinguishing the fire, the fire investigation team begins their work. Their job is to find evidence that will tell them how the fire started, and where it started. To help them in their investigation, they use a technique called fire science. In order to complete fire investigations in the United States, you must have certification through the International Association of Arson Investigators. There is also a national certification level that you can get by going through the National Association of Fire Investigators. Professionals in the field of fire and explosives make up this group and can specialize in explosives investigation, instructor certification, and vehicle investigation. These investigators learn about many of the common culprits found in the home, such as plug in appliances or cigarettes, which often result in fires. They also learn about home construction and how humans behave. No matter which form of fire investigation is used, the details of the scene must always be studied in order to have an accurate idea about the fire’s origin.

Investigating a fire is very difficult, and is considered one of the hardest forms of crime scene investigation. One of the most difficult questions that a fire investigator must answer is whether there has even been a crime. In other forms of crime scene investigations there is easy to see evidence of foul play, murder and wrongdoing. In a scene where there has been a fire, much of the evidence will have been destroyed, and the investigator must use what is left to determine whether the fire started by accident, or if it was done intentionally using arson. The fire investigator will look at the available evidence, and events leading up to the fire if they are available.

To determine the cause of a fire, the investigator will use a specific scientific method. Oftentimes, experts must be called in to look at specific appliances to see if they were in working order, or if they could have caused the fire. In the case of vehicle fires, it is important to know how the vehicle was functioning during the time of the fire, so they may need to use another expert to determine whether a malfunction in the vehicle could have caused the fire.

fire-investigationThere are five things that need to be in place in order to conduct a proper fire investigation. First, the assignment is given to the investigator, which lets them know what they are needed for. Second, the investigator must plan things that could be needed during the investigation such as equipment, expert help, or tools for the job. Thirdly, the scene needs to be examined closely in order to find any possible evidence and collect it. Fourth, the evidence must be collected and carefully examined, written down, tested, and evaluated. Finally, their methods are used to determine the cause of the fire after examining the findings from the evidence collected. These are the procedures that fire use when conducting an investigation using fire science.

Aviation Firefighters

Airports are very busy places. Planes come and go and people are in and out all the time. So who can help when there is an accident that involves chemicals or fire? Aviation firefighters do. Aviation firefighters are a mini fire department inside the regular fire department. Their job is to quickly respond to any call involving airports or planes. Much of the aviation firefighter training is the same as the training for regular firefighting jobs, however there are some differences. They need to be trained to work under special conditions, and they are taught to treat different types of wounds. We’re going to take an up close and personal look at aviation firefighters, so we can understand more about these differences, and what their specialized jobs entail.

The majority of plane crashes occur over water. When a plane crashes, aviation firefighters are called to the scene to help. They have the ability to respond to the situation quickly and responsibly. They use motor vehicles and also watercraft to assist in evacuating people who are in life threatening situations. They remain calm in the face of danger and make immediate decisions that will help best in each particular situation. Their first aid skills are far above basic training, and their training is constantly refreshed with current information during the entire length of their jobs. While aviation firemen use much of the same equipment as regular firemen, they have access to other tools and chemicals which are to be used for more advanced situations and fires. It is mandatory that aviation firemen have a total understanding of, and the ability to use a wide variety of equipment. In addition to regular fire hoses, they can also use foam sprayers, complex monitors, and machines. Not only do they need to have the knowledge and skills to use this advanced equipment, but they must also be educated in the care and maintenance of this equipment. This way, all fire vehicles, equipment, and hoses will be in top condition when they need to use it.

In addition to saving human lives, and extinguishing fires, aviation firefighters must also keep the environment in mind. They always use the more efficient course of action for the given situation at the emergency site in order to minimize any environmental impact. Even when there are no emergencies, aviation firemen are hard at work in the airports Fire Control Centers making sure that all safety rules and regulations are being followed. By doing this, they help keep flight take offs and landings safe for everyone involved. They also conduct regular inspections of anything concerning fire safety, such as the fire alarms in the airport. Aviation firefighters are also important for updating and educating all airport employees of changes made to safety routines, while organizing periodic fire drills to ensure everyone is able to react properly in a state of emergency. Airports are filled with constant activity so the firefighters job is a busy one.

aviation-firefightersAviation firemen have to be in peak physical condition to do their jobs. They are trained to dive underwater while wearing a breathing apparatus, and must be strong swimmers. While the physical demands are intense, the nature of the job requires it. To find out more information about aviation firemen, contact your local fire department or airport. You can’t truly appreciate an aviation firefighter unless you know them, and what they’re capable of. It takes a special breed of person. They need nerves of steel, really good eyesight, and the ability to accurately control and use all of there hands and feet to navigate and control the helicopter. It also helps if you have a high level of skill with math and are not afraid of heights as you will be up in the air most of the day of course.

Support Your Local Fire Department

Who are the brave men and women who respond to our fire related 911 emergency calls? Do we really know who they are? Maybe not personally, but we know them. These are the mothers, fathers, sons and daughters and possibly some of the bravest male and female firefighters of the world. We should familiarize ourselves with the firefighters of our communities. All it takes is a brief trip to your local fire department. Simply introduce yourself and listen to the heroic stories that the male and female firefighter has to share.

Lack of community support often makes firefighters feel cut off from the rest of the community. Firefighters are no different from you or me, other than they have been extensively trained to have life saving skills, and have learned the art of fire prevention and suppression. Most fire departments try to reach out to the community by hosting money raising events. Like everyone else, the holidays are important to the firefighters of the community. Often they will have fun little get-togethers for members of the community so that they can educate people on fire safety skills.

Fire departments will have a special member or officer who will visit schools so he or she can assist in educating young children on the importance of fire safety, and how to react in the case of a fire. The famous stop, drop, and roll skill is taught to all children at various ages so that they have the skills to put out a fire on their bodies if needed. Children love to learn about firefighters and how important they are as members of a community.

If you are looking for a way to help your local fire department, and show them the community support that they deserve, try becoming a volunteer firefighter. If you decide to do this, it is important to keep some points in mind when engaging in this type of activity. Start slowly and try not to overdo it. It is best to speak with the fire chief or mayor and make them aware of your ideas for volunteering. They will let you know where volunteer firefighters are needed. It may not be where you want to be, but it is where you are needed.

When recruiting others to volunteer with you, maintain control of the group as a whole, and personally. The fire department already have a full load of work and are very busy, so they do not need additional work. Keep the volunteer group to a number you can easily control and manage. The people in your group should genuinely wish to help and not try to control the fire department.

local-fire-departmentCommunication is very important. Keep open lines between the fire chief, the mayor, and yourself. By having open communication you will show that the volunteers are going to help and not just cause problems. Be sure that you understand everything that is said as this will enable you and others to help appropriately, keeping problems to a minimum.

It is a fun and rewarding experience to support your local fire department. Do not try to fix or change the fire department, just offer your assistance where it is needed the most. Always approach the proper officials in a kind, respectful, and open manner. Share your ideas, and listen to what they have to say. Possible support you could provide can range from cooking for them, to running a fundraising charity. Work together with them as this is how a community stays together.

Firefighting Museums

In the United States alone, the number of museums that exist for the sole purpose of educating people about, and creating memorials for fallen firefighters, has grown dramatically. Most of these museums are run on donations, and are a great place to visit for those interested in firefighter history. These museums help keep the memory of fallen firefighters alive. Although firefighter museums are often small, in the United States, there is one in almost every state. Each museum holds pieces of history, which tell stories of long forgotten firefighter traditions and keeping the memories of these men and women alive. Educating people about firefighter history is essential to our culture because not many people know even a small amount of firefighter history. It is part of the history of our great nation and is what defines us as a whole. Being aware of our past can teach us valuable lessons and help us to plan for the future.

These male and female firefighters are brave men and women who have sacrificed themselves to save others, as well as their families. The family members of firefighters are not recognized often enough. They provided strength and love to these firefighters while they were alive and it takes an emotionally and physically strong person to be the mate of a firefighter. These family members of firefighters lost parts of their hearts and lives when their firefighter was lost. Museums do help, even if it is only in a small way, by keeping the memories of these brave firefighters alive long after they are gone. The museums proudly display their actions and bravery to the world. These firefighters are heroes, and should be treated like heroes.

The history of firefighting is very fascinating. It evolved over time and turned into the major occupation that we know of today. The changes in equipment and tools used by firefighters have changed drastically since just the 1970′s. Firefighters used to wear plain rubber boots and jackets. The firefighter costume has changed quite a bit since then. They now wear special hoods made of flame resistant materials, a breathing apparatus that aids in less inhalation of smoke or gasses, and helmets, which have special face visors. With all of the changes that have been made in the firefighting industry, who knows what the future will bring? Things we do not even think are possible now may be around ten or twenty years from now. Can you imagine what people in the future will think about the equipment and methods used today?

firefighter-museumI recommend that you visit the nearest firefighter museum to you so that you can completely immerse yourself in their world for a while. You will leave with knowledge you did not have before, and an understanding of what firefighters go through on a regular basis. You will be able to see what an average day is like for a firefighter, and gain a stronger appreciation for the jobs they perform. These brave firefighters have given so much of themselves while asking for little in return. Most of the time the price to enter, if there is one, is donated to fallen firefighters families or to buy new equipment for active fire fighters. Its a great way to spend the afternoon. Most of the time they have great gear and artifacts to look at that are from centuries past. Its amazing they were even able to put fires out with some of the ancient equipment.

Next Page »