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This article is the third in a series of four articles on the process of becoming a firefighter. From the application process and testing requirements to getting the right certifications and understanding the job market outlook, we hear about what to expect from a 25-year veteran.
Where To Start To Become A Firefighter
You have passed tests, oral interviews, physical agility tests and background checks. You finally get the letter you’ve been waiting for and it announces your acceptance to your fire department as a probationary firefighter. Congratulations!
How To Become A Firefighter In India
What happens next largely depends on how the fire department structures its recruitment process. Initially you were told the minimum requirements to apply for the position of Probationary Firefighter. Each fire department’s process will be slightly different, but going through an academy course first is standard practice in most industries.
If the department you are joining runs an academy, you will get the time and date to attend the training academy and possibly some other instructions on what to wear, what to bring, what is expected of you initially. . Follow the instructions and you’ll be on your way.
If your academy is a start-to-finish program, you can expect anywhere from 16 weeks to half a year of classroom training, practical skills training, and basic emergency medical training. Basic EMT training will include a rotation at a local hospital where you will get hands-on experience in almost every phase of emergency medicine.
Your time at the academy will be intense and at times stressful. You will be constantly monitored and evaluated not only on your performance in class, but also on how you function as a team member, how you interact with your classmates, and your attitude and behavior.
Firefighter Training Program
The classroom part of the academy is important, but your instructors and training officers are interested in how you absorb the firefighting traditions and lifestyle.
Some departments require anyone applying for a job as a probationary firefighter to complete a fire training academy and have a basic firefighter certificate issued by the state in which you work. Your department may also require you to hold EMT Basic Certification. If so, your academy experience will be different and much shorter.
Otherwise, you’ll be attending a much smaller version of the Fire Department Academy. It is assumed that you have the knowledge and demonstrated skills to work as a firefighter. During this brief academy, your instructor will bring you up to speed on your department’s expectations, department policies, procedures, rules and regulations.
Once you’ve completed the academy and passed the certification exam, you’ll receive another round of congratulations because you’re now officially a part of the fire station crew!
Become A Firefighter
Now you have your duty uniform and other equipment provided by the department. Most likely you will also be issued a brand new set of personal protective equipment. The last thing you get is your shift assignment. Welcome aboard.
Most departments require new firefighters to have a one-year probationary period, during which you will be tested, examined and evaluated as part of your ongoing training.
Those first few innings can be tough. When you are starting your career your stress level will be high. Strange people, unfamiliar places, and unfamiliar routines can make you feel lost and sometimes abandoned.
Take heart, remember that everyone who lives at the fire station that is now your second home once went through the same emotions and fears that you feel. They understand and will help you. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. If you want to get fit, join fire station life. The most important thing is to listen.
Becoming A Firefighter: The Application Process
Firefighting is full of long and rich traditions. Your department will have its own traditions and you should learn about these traditions and participate in them where possible. These traditions may take the form of certain holiday ceremonies or celebrations, a particular color of helmet, or special processes or procedures for things.
These traditions will be present in almost every fire station, the exception being brand new fire stations that have been built and built recently. In this case, if you are assigned to a new fire station, you will have the opportunity to create traditions that will last long after you finish your time and move on to a new assignment or retire.
Even after my retirement, I miss the camaraderie of the fire station. The men and women I worked with over the years are still part of my family. You will soon discover that it is much more than just a job and that the number of people involved in the fire service is far greater.
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