id you know that more than 70 percent of people who are pursuing a career in firefighting eventually give up? We don’t mention this to discourage you, of course, but to make it perfectly clear that becoming a firefighter is a long and challenging process. From physical training to mental preparation, the requirements for this noble, but dangerous vocation are truly intimidating.
Besides being exceptionally brave, these are the 8 other things you need to be or do before applying for a job as a firefighter.
- Get Familiar with Hiring Process Specifics
The hiring process is not the same in every station. In case you’ll be applying for a job in multiple departments or regions, you need to get as familiar as you can with their specific steps and phases. Go down there, talk to their recruitment agents, and learn more about what to expect once you apply.
- Get an EMT Certification
A certain number of rookie firefighters get certified as emergency medical technicians only after they get hired for a job, as the recruit academy teaches these life-saving skills during the initial training. Still, around 90 percent of departments won’t even consider your resume if it lacks an EMT certificate. There’s plenty of great classes around, so think about taking one before your apply.
- Volunteer and do some Community Service
Though firefighting is community service work like no other, most departments accept candidates with any kind of volunteering experience. Whether you spend your time fighting with flames or cooking lunch for the homeless, your contribution to the community is highly appreciated.
- Learn About Fire Behaviour
Most local communities offer insightful classes on fire behaviour and technology, building construction, and firefighter injuries. These subjects are also a part of the recruitment training, but only a handful of departments devote enough time to exploring them in depth.
The fire behaviour certificate will look great on your resume, not to mention that this newly acquired knowledge and skills will help you score some important points on your firefighter tests.
- Take as Many Firefighter Tests as You Can
There’s more than just one, you know. You’ll need to pass an oral interview, a written exam, and a physical ability test, and we’re not being pessimistic when we say that you’ll certainly fail at least one of them. Firefighter tests are not a walk in the park, which is a reason more to start taking them early on. The mistakes you make will tell you exactly what to work on in order to improve your chances.
- Start Preparing for a Background Investigation
Even if you do pass all the exams, there’s still one step of the hiring process that most aspiring firefighters fail to excel at. Whether because it’s usually around 25 pages long, or because it includes some delicate questions about the applicant’s personal life, the background investigation is considered to be the trickiest part of the entire journey. Get a copy of one now, and start preparing your answers.
- Get to Know the Fire Department from Inside Out
This includes not only the theoretical side of the firefighting service, but also the hands-on experience. You can learn more about your potential job by stopping by the local station and talking to your future colleagues about firefighting equipment, techniques, and risks that go along with the job. In case they offer a volunteer position that might allow you to gain some experience, be sure to take it.
- Be Cautious and Stay Healthy
Unfortunately, those with a record of health issues are usually turned down by the hiring firefighting departments. Some injuries are very common in this job – firefighter hearing loss claims, for example, have take years to manifest. You can’t do anything about the problems from your past, that’s for sure, but you can work on your health and diligence enough to prevent them from happening in the future.
A career in firefighting is a very rewarding one, both in terms of community service and professional growth. It’s not for everyone, though. For this job, a perfect hiring candidate would have to be skilful, well-informed, and passionate enough to keep people safe at any cost, and at any given time.