Things To Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Firefighter

Things To Ask Yourself Before Becoming a Firefighter


A new round of graduates is just leaving the fire academy and beginning their new positions. Meanwhile, you might be debating if firefighting is the career choice for you. Many believe this career is like it seems in the movies, but the realities of this crucial public service are far from fantasy. As you’re figuring matters out, consider these four things to ask yourself before becoming a firefighter.

Are You Able To Wait on Employment?

When working as a firefighter, you must view it as a freelance position, depending on your area. If you reside near or in a large city, you have a better chance of finding full-time work than volunteer positions or freelance opportunities.

Every person entering special training courses needs to prepare for those stretches of time when it takes two to eight months or longer to secure a job. While faced with this extended period of unemployment, you need to ask yourself if it’s feasible to wait this long.

Should You Be Honest on the Application?

This question crosses the minds of many fire academy applicants. The answer is that yes, you should always be honest on an application. If there are certain things they ask for, such as criminal history, it’s better to provide information freely rather than wait for someone from HR to discover something.

You should keep your nose clean from the moment of submitting applications all the way through the waiting period. Many organizations provide opportunities to update your file and permit you to mention any last-minute things you forgot to say on the application or during your interview.

Do You Have Realistic Expectations?

Fires are much more than what you see in film and television—the fires you face aren’t always under control, and training takes longer than a half-hour exercise like on screen. Again, when you step out into the field, you approach frightening and critical moments.

Expect yourself to stay busy, even when there are slow periods. If you can’t handle sitting in a place that slows down often but requires you to be ready to go at any moment, this isn’t a good match. Many people find ways to spend these down periods, such as networking or further training, but these require self-motivation. While thinking about training, reach out to local students or current workers and ask what their experience was like between training and working full-time.

What Mentors Do You Have Around?

Prospective firefighters should have someone to rely on for support. Many fields have mentors, especially in a small community with only one local fire station or hospital.

Working with mentors sets you up for success and delivers better insight into the ins and outs of being a firefighter. Get yourself a mentor if you haven’t already—they let you in on different industry knowledge, especially the kind of fire equipment needed for every job.

It’s essential to check in with yourself and reflect on these things to consider before becoming a firefighter. Give yourself time to think these things over, then decide if this career suits who you are. In the meantime, think about shadowing a firefighter to get a better idea of life on the job.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock royalty-free image #369003324



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