It takes passion and the love for humanity to really accept such a profession.
The choice to take a leap of faith by considering a career in it has to be the most audacious and dynamic decision ever.
Firefighters are really extraordinary and should be treated with so much respect as they are responsible for vehemently saving millions of human lives and properties worldwide.
If this is a field you love and you’re interested in starting your career in firefighting, then this write-up is for you.
Use this “How to” breakdown to get a deep understanding of what firefighting really is and see if you can fit into that firefighting job you want.
In this feature, we will give you insights on how to become a firefighter in BC.
Who is a Firefighter in BC?
Taking it one step at a time, A firefighter is an advocate for humanity.
They have trained personnel who work at a fire department mainly to stop the spread of fires, put it out and curtail the damages from hazardous incidents.
In simple terms, firefighters are safety personnel who save lives and properties as well as the surroundings.
Unlike the common man, these individuals do not have ordinary lives as so much is expected of them in their profession.
The average firefighter man has a required daily routine to rest less, wake up earlier, train for more than 12 hours a day, and the most tasking of all; they don’t have the luxury of time to beautify themselves for hours.
In a matter of two minutes, they’re good to go, sometimes even less, and thus includes their blazers and heavy gears which could weigh over a hundred pounds. Tough, yeah? But it’s the sacrifice they have to make to save a lot of time and resources.
They also have some sort of doctor’s routine as their duties have no time frame or limit, thereby causing them to always be alert and ready.
This contributes to why there are emergency fire service lines to call in every country.
The BC in firefighting simply means “Battalion Chief.”
A battalion chief is the ground-level chief officer in the fire department ranking structure– a chief of a firefighting battalion majorly comprising a number of fire stations and various fire companies.
The typical firefighting battalion chief has more responsibilities than the average firefighter as they have more years of experience used in supervising successful firefighting operations as well as in the department.
What a Firefighter does in BC.
Firefighters are trained to put out fires, rescue lives and properties as well as other humanitarian duties.
At a basic level, that’s all they do–wearing sophisticated uniforms alongside rescue equipment to control fire using fire hydrants and operational pumps to power hoses and of course, the rescue mission–saving trapped fire victims and sending them to the right medical services for treatment.
At advanced levels, Firefighters are hired to implement their skills to safeguard the public in disastrous settings, ranging from floods, building collapses, car accidents, chemical spills and also fire outbreaks.
Note that, these are highly trained individuals who have been certified and confirmed to be capable of handling extreme situations.
In General, The average firefighter;
- Is of the sole aim to ensure the safety of lives and properties during emergency situations.
- Make sure they are well equipped with the necessary safety tools so as not to cause more harm while on duty.
- Power hoses using operational pumps to curb the spread of fires.
- Generally reduces deaths caused by floods, car accidents, chemical spills or any preventable occurrence by 0.5%.
What Qualifications are Required of Imminent Firefighters?
Apart from putting out domestic and wildfires, there are a few qualifications required to expand and execute national standards for eligibility to work as a firefighter and as such, the certification in demand now depends on a few important factors like level of education, location–the state where you choose to serve, health standards and a host of others.
The EMT Certificate:
A very important and sought-after qualification during and after recruitment is the EMT Certificate.
EMT which stands for Emergency Medical Technician is a name given to a person who has been able to extensively gain knowledge and successfully taken and completed the emergency medical course which falls under EMS–Emergency Medical Services.
In simple terms, an emergency medical technician is a specially trained individual certified to provide basic emergency services such as CPR–CardioPulmonary Resuscitation before and during transit to a proper medical institution.
The EMT certificate is a very important certificate to obtain as a firefighter as it’s the experience one needs to administer life-saving treatments during emergency situations, and some sort of first aid to ensure safety.
A Certificate in Paramedics:
This comes after obtaining an EMT certificate. Most interns develop an interest in the firefighting medical treatment field while in their emergency medical technology course of study.
In such cases, they are allowed to advance their knowledge and proceed to study widely paramedics.
However, it’s not necessary to be a firefighting intern before you can obtain a Paramedic certificate.
The course is available to anyone who simply develops a passion to save lives regardless of their profession, from students to social workers to the average trader on the street.
It’s a basic knowledge that’s applicable to daily life activities and hence, the reason it’s being taught in colleges and different educational institutions at different levels.
Basically, the entire training process to become a certified paramedic varies from half a year through three years so as to guarantee a deep understanding of the firefighting emergency response unit.
Governmental or State Certification:
To become an unchallenged certified state firefighter, candidates must exceed basic requirements and expectations–from working experience, training, educational level, and background to other vital requirements and processes.
Moreso, the certification varies depending on the state or county where you choose to work and get verified.
For example, In Pennsylvania, US. A firefighter requires;
- Successful completion in the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) 1001 Level one and Level two certifications of the firefighter course level.
- A valid class three driver’s license and a battalion chief emergency medical assistance licensing board license.
- A two-year experience after the completion of high school in safeguarding lives and properties as well as managing the possible causes of fire in your vicinity.
State certification varies in requirements. However, if they are neighboring states, there wouldn’t be so much difference.
Also, if you’ve previously been certified in your vicinity, identifying with other firefighters and getting certified in different locations would not be a hiccup.
Additional Certificates & Practices:
This involves physical, intellectual, and health evaluations conducted on incoming firefighters to ensure complete sanity and physical strength–both agility and active response.
Physical tests include running, climbing stairs, pulling heavy ropes etc.
Intellectual tests mostly come in written form where the candidates are expected to defend their understanding of the courses they undertook to gain certification.
This exercise is simply to prevent quacks from getting into the system.
After employment, Firefighters are subsequently subjected to drug tests for health checks and also to avoid damages.
In summary, A Firefighter needs:
- Solid coaching and Certificates on EMT and CPR.
- To have undergone basic education on use of apparatus and equipments, heart problems, patient conditions and health emergencies.
- To have at least seven months work experience as an Emergency Medical Technician.
- To have taken the required approved courses, passed the examinations and earned the Certificate.
- To have understood safety actions i.e how to handle panic situations professionally.
- Show competency at every given time throughout the employment.
Importance of a Firefighter in BC to Society.
Over the space of ten years, the number of deaths and loss of properties caused by fire has been on a reassuring decrease ever since more firefighters came on board and the number of workers increased.
This drastic worker increase was as a result of so many people volunteering to join the rescue mission.
It was recorded that about 365,000 firefighters were into the profession and 740,000 volunteered to join the movement. This has been of great help to society and humanity at large.
There are a number of reasons firefighters are considered important to society. Some of which are because:
- Firefighters can fit into any position that demands protection and making equitable decisions in the interest and benefit of society.
- They are prominent members of communities who provide support anywhere outside work- rules, and uniforms. As a part of their emergency training, it is a registered part of them to always show up wherever there is a need to perform their duties.
- They sensitize people on the type of practices to avoid for a disaster-free environment.
- They are most likely to work as EMTs in place of medical personnel.
- Firefighters can handle any emergent situation.
- They can be employed as road safety agents and assigned to fill the gap at road traffic accidents.
- Firefighters are simply agents of safety who can be contacted for whatever kind of incident with an urgent need for safety, ranging from building collapse to a faulty elevator with trapped victims in them.
How to Become a Firefighter in BC; 10 Best Steps to take.
- Get a Degree in Fire Science.
- Ensure to Acquire Intensive EMT & CPR Training.
- Take a Chance at Volunteering.
- Get Fit.
- Sit for Examinations and Seek Employment.
- Have a Wonderful Personality.
- Put Those Skills to Practice (Gain Experience).
- Take Tests.
- Watch Recruitment Periods.
- Expand Your Knowledge.
Get a Degree in Fire Science.
Just as you choose a career in banking or accountancy and go on to study banking and finance or accounting. It’s necessary to study a course relating to whatever career line you want to venture into.
For firefighting, you’re required to study fire science and earn a degree in it. Find institutions that offer such programs and start your career journey from there.
Ensure to Acquire Intensive EMT & CPR Training
These certifications are a must-have for aspiring firefighters as it’s part of the prerequisites for employment and daily firefighting activities.
Not only firefighters, military personnel and every individual working under safety agencies are required to have this knowledge to serve as a solid foundation and boost your confidence throughout your employment.
The EMT course is also an avenue for self-improvement, to detect rough areas and straighten them out so as to avoid slacks throughout your firefighting career.
Take a Chance at Volunteering
Earlier in this article, it was mentioned that the number of actual volunteer firefighters was twice the number of actual career firefighters. Wonder why? It’s because volunteering broadens your knowledge and opens you to a lot of opportunities.
It’s possible to work, learn and gain experience as a volunteer.
It also exposes you to a number of reputable people thereby building great relationships and gathering contacts.
This connection would be of great help to gain stronger ground as a new firefighter in the field.
The job of a firefighter is a very strenuous and demanding one. You have to be sure you’re up to the task.
You’re required to be physically fit to stay on track. In the course of application, firefighting employment agencies would require you to pass some physical tests like running several meters and jumping high obstacles, all for agility purposes.
Sit for Examinations and Seek Employment
Hiring agencies always run written and oral examinations for applicants alongside physical and mental health exams.
This is solely to ensure the candidate is physically fit, healthy and the rightful owner of all certificates presented and claimed.
Physical examinations include agility tests, blood pressure, urinary and blood tests as well as detection of any form of the disease.
Other tests conducted include oral tests which are mostly characterized by discussions on your lifetime goals, career goals, visions, and your method of implementation as a firefighter.
Have a Wonderful Personality
After obtaining all the possible qualifications needed for employment, it would all be a waste if you fail the character tests ranging from competence, diligence, trust, courage and dedication.
It’s required to always display professionalism as often as possible. Criminal records would also be searched for and as an applicant seeking employment, those records are meant to be clean.
Generally, a firefighter is an individual entrusted with so many responsibilities. Hence the need for a background personality check.
Put Those Skills to Practice (Gain Experience).
The years of experience spent working in a particular field is as important as the skill itself and is of high demand when applying for jobs.
Be sure to have practicalized your knowledge one way or another as the lowest duration for experience starts from two years. It is therefore advised to work as an intern in order to gain experience while learning.
Among the basic requirements is the age limit. Most hiring agencies usually employ applicants between 18-30years of age.
Although this age requirement varies among respective firefighting agencies.
During recruitment periods, firefighting agencies host fairs and as someone who’s looking to build a career in the said field, participating in such fairs, and taking examinations could be just the little effort you need to get your dream job.
It starts with the screening process which Involves oral and written tests. Passing this first phase will earn you a shot at an interview which would lead to other phases.
In order to qualify for training courses, candidates would be required to pass two examinations.
The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) and other necessary tests depend on what their policies are.
Note that, in the early stages of job seeking, a series of tests and tasks would be given to grooming your patience and perseverance level.
Watch Recruitment Periods.
The process to become a firefighter is not an easy one. Consistency and determination is a key attribute to achieving your desired results.
With the same motivation, you need to constantly follow up on news about the firefighting agencies you’re interested in joining and learn when their next recruitment period comes up.
This happens annually, sometimes once in two years.
Expand Your Knowledge.
Even after employment and you have become a full firefighter by profession, leaders in your department would determine what other skills you have to acquire. This also varies in career paths. Regardless of your rank, learning is a continuous process.
Stay up-to-date on the latest posts concerning the firefighting field, and surround yourself with the right information, online or anywhere. Read articles like this one, magazines, and stories frequently.
Follow people in your niche on social media platforms for useful and accurate information that can guide you.
Do not stop reading and acquiring knowledge.