Firefighting is a highly rewarding career that is responsible for protecting and saving the lives of thousands of people and their property each year. However, the process of becoming a firefighter—whether you become a wildland firefighter or a structural firefighter—and the job itself, involves a lot of hard work and numerous challenges. Ultimately, it takes a certain type of person to become successful in the field. If you’re considering a career as a firefighter, it’s important to do some self-reflection to ensure that you are right for the job before you embark on the challenging path ahead. Here are some essential skills all firefighters must have.
Firefighting is essentially high-stakes problem-solving. Each emergency fire situation is different and must be handled in a different manner, depending on the circumstances. As such, firefighters need to have exceptional problem-solving skills.
They must be able to adapt to their situation, assess the best solution, and carry out an optimized plan while under intense pressure. For example, firefighters may need to figure out how to rescue a trapped civilian or find a new escape route if their current one becomes blocked. In any case, problem-solving skills are imperative to carrying out the duties of a firefighter.
Another essential skill all firefighters must have is the ability to effectively operate, maintain, and fix machinery. Firefighters rely heavily on specialized equipment and machinery, such as fire hoses, engines, tanks, and hand tools, to accomplish their duties. As such, quality mechanical skills are essential to being successful as a firefighter.
Good teamwork skills are necessary for practically any job. However, they are especially important for firefighters. As a firefighter, you must rely on your team, and vice versa, to get the job done safely. Because every second counts when fighting a fire, all members of a crew must work together seamlessly to ensure the success of their shared mission.
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