5 Things to Expect If You Want to Be a Firefighter


Firefighting is a rewarding, but challenging, profession that you have to be physically and mentally prepared for. Now obviously, this career can be demanding, and there are many things you must know before you decide to pursue this path.

Here, you will learn about some things to expect if you want to be a firefighter. But first, you need to know exactly what firefighters do.

What Do Firefighters Do?

Fight Fires

The bare minimum of being a firefighter is to be available at fire emergencies, explosions, and any natural disasters requiring their expertise. Within these disasters, their main responsibility is to take out or extinguish these fires, save people and property, and even protect animals who might have been caught in the mess. These could include pets in homes or even animals in natural settings during wildfires.

Help with Medical Emergencies

You must know that firefighters are not always there to extinguish fires. They are also very well trained in medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, or even dealing with victims’ burns. They are well trained and equipped in these life support techniques, mainly for support while health services and professionals arrive.

There could be a time frame where the victims have been saved, but ambulances haven’t arrived yet. During this break, firefighters should be equipped to take over.

Educate the Public

Did you know that firefighters also take part in public education? Firefighters take on this public service to educate children in schools or the public during community meetings in educating the public about fire safety. These could be fire drills in schools, safety inspections, and general precautions everyone should take in the case of an emergency.

5 Things to Expect If You Want to Be a Firefighter

Long Hours

Generally, you must work long, typically 24-hour shifts followed by 48 hours off duty. Even on your days off, you may be called in according to your specialty or the extent of the emergency. You must respond to these emergencies on time. Hence you must realize that this job is very mentally and physically demanding.

Physical Demands

Before you pursue a career here, you must go through multiple tests to check whether you are physically fit for the job. These tests or physical examinations are based on strength, endurance, and agility. On the job, you must carry heavy equipment, climb high ladders, and even work in extremely hot or cold conditions.

Emotional Toll

As a firefighter, depending on the extent of the emergency, you must deal with injuries, death, and other traumatic events every day. Having to face fatalities every day can get very difficult, and hence you must learn to remain professional and keep your emotions in check despite the emotional toll this job may take on you.


As a firefighter, you must work with others and succeed. It is a team effort that requires collaboration at most events. You must know how to communicate, take immediate orders, and support your colleagues during emergency events.

Public Service

Firefighting is a public service, and firefighters must be committed to serving their communities. They must be willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. And it can be dedicated to making a positive difference in the world.

What to Achieve If You Want to Be a Firefighter

Education and Training

Yes, most departments, especially entry-level jobs, only require a high school diploma. However, some institutions might require additional qualifications, such as a bachelor’s degree in fire science, for the same entry-level or higher-end jobs. You may need a degree in emergency management or any related field. The additional education provides aspiring firefighters with a deeper “textbook” understanding of the rules and safety precautions to learn better techniques and practices.

Education isn’t just it. You must also undergo rigorous training for firefighters to ensure that you are well-equipped with everything you need to know. This training includes physical fitness, firefighting techniques, search and rescue, hazardous materials handling, and emergency medical services.

Certification and License

Before legally practicing being a firefighter, you must apply to be certified by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or a similar organization. Certifications will vary, but most institutions require some physical fitness test and a written and practical exam. To provide emergency support, they must also be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and have a valid driver’s license to be allowed to practice.


For higher position jobs in the fire department, many require prior experience, which could be related to health, emergency treatment, or even the military. However, internships at these institutions can help you greatly for entry-level jobs.


Despite the physical and emotional challenges being a firefighter can have on you, it is quite a rewarding profession that requires a lot of dedication. You must be willing to put in the long hours needed for on-the-job training. Even the book training and techniques through academic qualifications.

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