Fantastic, Fiery and Fun Jobs

F is for… Firefighter!

Technically, today’s job isn’t cool – it’s hot, Hot, HOT!

Did you know that both men and women can be firefighters? Anyone who applies for the job must both be physically fit enough to carry or drag heavy weights, as part of the job involves rescuing people who may be passed out or unable to move – not to mention all of the gear required for fighting fires – but there are no restrictions on the gender of firefighters in the United States.

Indeed, check out this all-female fire brigade from the UK, which dates back to 1916:

Jarrow Ladies Fire Brigade, 1916 (photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)

Firefighters must also be emergency medical technicians (EMTs), which means they are able to administer CPR and basic medical care at the scene of an accident or fire. Typically, if you call 911 in the United States, you’ll receive the fire department and a police officer, along with an ambulance, in order to assess the situation.

While a firefighter’s main job is, of course, to extinguish fires, they are also responsible for:

  • Driving fire trucks and other emergency vehicles,
  • Finding and rescuing victims in burning buildings or other emergency situations,
  • Treating sick or injured people,
  • Conducting drills and physical fitness training, and
  • Providing public education on fire safety.

How do you become a firefighter?

Requirements vary from one state to another, but here are the basic steps to becoming a full-fledged firefighter:

  1. Volunteer or apply for a seasonal job (in California, the application period for seasonal jobs falls in November of the year prior to hiring – which occurs from March through June)
  2. Get certified in CPR
  3. Train to become an EMT
  4. Take any exams (oral, written) required
  5. Pass a background check, drug screening, and physical aptitude test
  6. Go through the fire training academy & graduate as a firefighter!

In San Diego, students aged 16 to 21 can also join the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Cadet Program to learn more about what being a firefighter is really like.

In the state of California, firefighters may also engage in aerial firefighting, which requires a pilot’s license. These firefighters are known as Forestry Fire Pilots and Air Operations Officers.

PZL W-3A Sokol – Czech Air Force (photo credit: Pavel Vanka)

Do firefighters need to get a college education? Not necessarily, although as fighting fires becomes ever more challenging and dangerous, the methods that firefighters use continue to evolve, and some degree of study is required. The main requirement for a successful firefighter is physical fitness, along with a heaping helping of bravery. Nevertheless, the National Fire Academy also offers free training courses (both online and in Maryland) that can help firefighters improve their skills.

Think you’ve got what it takes to be a firefighter? If so, I salute you!

Further Reading

Related Films

Other Fantastic Jobs That Start With F

  • Farmer
  • Fashion Designer
  • FBI Investigator
  • Fitness Instructor

Want to learn about even more cool jobs?

Pre-order the book, World’s Coolest Jobs, a collection of all the coolest jobs you never knew existed. On sale September 1, 2017.