Is a Fire Service Job Really for You?
Firefighting, not just in Australia but anywhere, isn’t all rescuing kittens from trees and rescuing grateful grannies while women swoon over your display of bravery. Fire service jobs are very hard work, and understanding the job before studying for the tests and applying for
the job will save you and others time and effort if you were to realize that it wasn’t for you.
Answering these questions is a key factor to understanding your responsibilities.
Are you trustworthy and open?
Can your team trust you to do your part, have their backs, and pull your weight; even if there is a huge pile of pressure on you to push your limits? Can you do it safely?
Firefighting is a team job, and they are generally a tight knit team. You’ll have to break into their clique and fit in. You’ll need to be open to helping them develop their fire service skills, and be open to criticism from them to hone your own skills, especially in the early months. The learning curve for fire service jobs is steep, as mistakes can be fatal.
Can you be trusted with members of the public, especially when they are stressed? People affected by fires, and who
aren’t firefighters which get used to uncontrolled fire’s destructive capabilities, are hysterical and exactly the opposite of calm. You need to be
their calming source and their confidence.
You will be a public figure and as such, rules are set that you must be trusted to follow. Your Fire House is counting on you to follow their uniform rules, and also their orders on how you deal with the public, how you do your job and when you train. Often fire service jobs require you to be on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in emergency situations. Your loved ones may not see you for entire days and the job isn’t
over until it’s over, often you’ll be working until the work is done. Can you be trusted to be at work when you’re needed and for as long as you’re needed?
Can you handle trauma?
There are things people should never be exposed to. There are things more disturbing than nightmares. And THEN there are things that Firefighters see. Injuries to adults, deceased children, and maimed animals are only the beginning of a long list of trauma you will experience in the line of duty.
Are you responsible enough to maintain your fitness and training?
Fire service is the kind of job that you have to be at your best at all times. Your physical fitness is your responsibility and your training is a mix of yours and your team’s responsibility. Your fitness is of utmost importance: you will have to have the endurance to stay on your feet for several hours, outside, in the middle of summer with a roaring fire so close that you can feel the heat through your dozens of kilograms worth of protective
Firefighting is not the cushiest office job. Is this something you can handle?
These questions aren’t meant to scare you away, but instead to make you realize the reality of fire service jobs. If you do feel anxiety when you’re answering these questions, it’s not the end of your dream to be a firefighter, but it does mean you need to work just a little bit harder than those who don’t. If your response is outright fear, maybe firefighting isn’t for you.
Regardless of your reaction, you can join a fire service job and you can become more comfortable with the discomforts associated with it.
A bit of food for thought anyway.