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Firefighters. Job Outlook. Firefighters. Firefighters protect the public by responding to fires and other emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel on the scene of an accident. Firefighters typically do the following:

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Job Outlook

  • Firefighters protect the public by responding to fires and other emergencies. They are frequently the first emergency personnel on the scene of an accident.
  • Firefighters typically do the following:
    • Drive fire trucks and other emergency vehicles to emergencies
    • Put out fires using hoses and pumps
    • Find and rescue victims in burning buildings or in other emergency conditions
  • Firefighters typically do the following:
    • Treat victims’ injuries with emergency medical services
    • Prepare written reports on fire or emergency incidents
    • Clean and maintain equipment
    • Conduct drills and training in fire fighting techniques
    • Provide public education on fire safety
  • When responding to an emergency, firefighters do tasks assigned by a superior officer. They might be responsible for connecting hoses to hydrants, operating pumps to power the hoses, climbing ladders, or using tools to break through debris. Other firefighters might be responsible for providing medical attention.
  • Most calls firefighters respond to are medical, not fire, emergencies
  • Firefighters’ duties may change several times while they are at the scene of an emergency. In some cases, they might remain at disaster scenes for days, rescuing trapped survivors and assisting with medical treatment.
  • Firefighters may specialize in responding to forest fires or hazardous materials incidents.
firefighters work environment
Firefighters Work Environment
  • Firefighters held about 310,400 jobs in 2010.
  • About 91 percent of paid firefighters worked for local governments in 2010. Most of the remainder worked for federal or state governments. Firefighters also work at airports, chemical plants, and other industrial sites. They work in both cities and rural areas.
  • These employment numbers include only paid career fire fighters. They do not cover volunteer fire fighters.
firefighters work environment1
Firefighters Work Environment
  • Volunteer firefighters have the same duties as paid firefighters and account for the majority of firefighters in many areas.
  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 70 percent of fire departments were staffed entirely by volunteer firefighters in 2008.
firefighters work schedules
Firefighters Work Schedules
  • Firefighters typically work long and varied hours, often about 50 hours a week. Most firefighters work 24-hour shifts on duty and are off the following 48 or 72 hours.
  • Others work 10-hour day shifts for 3 to 4 days, followed by 14-hour night shifts for 3 to 4 nights before receiving 3 to 4 days off. Additional hours may be required when responding to a fire or medical emergency.
how to become a firefighter
How to Become a Firefighter
  • Applicants for firefighter jobs typically must be at least 18 (21 in some areas) years old and have a valid driver’s license.
  • They must also pass a medical exam and drug screening to be hired. After being hired, firefighters may be monitored on a random basis for drug use.
firefighters education
Firefighters Education
  • Most firefighters enter the occupation with postsecondary education, typically a postsecondary non-degree award fire science or a related discipline.
  • There are also associate’s degree programs available. In many jurisdictions, however, the entry-level education needed to become a firefighter is a high school diploma or equivalent