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.

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.

How to Choose a Firefighter Academy

Just like any other job, firefighters need special firefighter training and schooling to be able to do a good job. If you are interested in pursuing a firefighting career, it may be difficult at first to find the right academy to suit your goals. Depending on where you live, you may want to consider one close to you, but not all of them are created equally. Some academies stand out due to their excellent instruction and results. One of these fire training facilities is located in San Diego, CA and proudly offers an acclaimed boot camp and instructional course. They specialize in basic fire management training by using portable pumps, basic training in fire details, water usage, and wild land fire behavior, among others. They use former marine drill instructors in a boot camp type atmosphere to train you how to become a firefighter. The course itself lasts 21 days and assists applicants in securing an entry level firefighting job, assuming they pass the course. At this academy, training begins at 5 in the morning and runs until 8 at night. It is definitely not an academy for someone who wants to take it easy.

If you’re looking for a fire academy in your local area, you may want to visit firejobs.com. Their user friendly navigation makes finding any information you’re looking for easy. As far as informative websites go, this one is the best at providing contact information and they keep everything up to date. Not only do they provide information on training facilities, but also job postings for those who already have training and are looking for an entry level job with a fire department.

No matter what academy you go to, they all require that you be at least 17 or 18 years of age, depending on which state it is located in. You must also have a high school diploma or GED plus you must also have a valid driver’s license. If you would like a better idea about fire training or for recommendations on which fire training academies you should go to, contact your local fire department. Never be afraid to ask questions as they will only add to your knowledge in the field and help you with your firefighting job in the future. Keep your mind open to everyone you encounter on your journey to becoming a firefighter because you never know who you might meet along the way who will have important information to help you.

firefighter-training-dummyOnce you have successfully completed your firefighter training at your chosen academy, you will need to keep a copy of your transcripts for the course, as well as documentation of any specialized training you received. Any fire department you apply to will require proof of this training in order to recruit you. It will look good for you if you have hands on volunteer work experience. This will improve your chances of being recruited. As long as you’re in peak physical condition, and get the necessary training, you could be on your way to becoming a firefighter. You just need to be focused and determined to achieve your goal and you will get there. It’s not an easy road but the payoffs are great. Being able to help your fellow neighbors in emergency situations is a very rewarding experience and it is responsibility that you must earn.