Ever wonder what it is like to be a firefighter? Whether you are working in a small town or a vast metropolitan area a career as a firefighter offers an exciting and unique experience, unlike other occupations. Being a firefighter means building a relationship with a community by striving to make a difference through community awareness and education on fire issues, hazard reduction, legislation compliance and don’t forget most importantly saving the lives of others. Being a firefighter demands physical and mental strength, persistence, compassion and also a sense of service. It is not just a job; it is a career.
On average, a full-time firefighter works an average of 48-70 hours per week with most fire stations dividing the hours into 24-hour shifts. One of the unique aspects of being a firefighter is that it is different from most professions in the sense that a lot of the firefighters when on duty live and eat together at the firehouse (this is different per location). Think of it like coworkers who are also roommates sharing household duties including cooking and cleaning. At the firehouse, there are multiple dwelling areas such as office space, kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms, and TV/rec rooms.
What’s an average day like? In the morning when the shift is started the firefighters change into their uniforms and prepare their fire kits. The officer in charge (OIC) details the duties, and then the fire engine and other pieces of equipment are checked—batteries are fresh, oxygen and water tanks are full, emergency lighting is working appropriately, fuel is full, etc.
Next, training occurs from structuring training calendars that specify the focus for the training each day to basic training like practicing putting ladders up against the tower, to even more technical scenario training. Some firehouses even have classroom work or require the crew to pass a monthly test. Then, there is time for the firefighters to work on their different assigned objectives or station cleanings.
Fitness is also a priority, given the physical demands of the job. Many departments require a regular fitness assessment that each crew member has to pass. Also, it can be a pass/fail consideration during the hiring process, with most professional fire departments having standardized fitness tests each potential candidate is required to pass.
Some days are also spent out in the community teaching people about fire protection, fitting smoke alarms or making sure that businesses are meeting fire safety regulations. Don’t forget, at any point, the bells could go down, and the crew has to rush to their fire engines!
Firefighters work in stressful situations, but it is also an incredibly rewarding profession. A crew cannot predict when they are going to be called out for fires or other emergencies within a community. However, it is a career like no other and rewards of the job make the stressors and challenges worth it.
American Firehouse Furniture is firefighter owned and operated. We offer a full line of specialty furniture for fire stations and we have strived to eliminate as many of the products used in furniture that are believed to have potential health concerns.