Miscellaneous / Firefighting
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Autor: anton 02 December 2010
Words: 2459 | Pages: 10
The alarm sounds. You now have about five minutes to get yourself ready and aware for what your about to be facing. During those five precious minutes, someone's house is a blaze with fire. It is your duty to put that fire out, preserve as much as possible, and protect life. Do you think you could handle so much responsibility, pressure, and risk? I know I could. It is a dream of mine to become a firefighter in all sense of the word. I enjoy the thought of risk taking and even helping people, which is why I think that this profession would be just right for me. Ever since I was about 11 years old, and my house had caught fire, had I wanted to be a firefighter. Just watching all of those skilled firefighters mesmerized me. They had such precision and knew exactly what to do in what seemed every situation that would be thrown at them. I feel as though this is their personality and traits added to this accuracy at being so good at what they do. I also have quick reflexes, good stamina, and I tend to think of myself as a fast and logical thinking, just as they all were. I chose this career not only for my liking to it, but also because of the growth in the profession. Firefighting is a field that has potential for growth in the coming years, the education, requirements, and dedication are all equally important to this extremely dangerous, yet exciting job.
Firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs out in the occupation world today. Summed up as a whole, firefighters are trained to fight fires, rescue people in need and provide medical services for humans and animals. There are many steps needed to prepare to be a firefighter. Your characteristics and personality play a big role in choosing this career. Being outgoing and a people person will help out dramatically. Firefighters live in the station when on call or duty. The setting in the stations is very "dorm Ð’â€“ like" (Pitts Interview 9/20/05). It is described as a college life setting, living with many other people. You have to be willing to get along with others through communication and compromise. Also, firefighters have to prepare themselves to be in top physical shape. Sometimes, physical strength of firefighters is described as "top notch" because they have to be able to run and lift heavy materials, while at the same time carrying equipment with a large quantity of weight. Another step needed to get ready to be a firefighter is having a good background in schooling.
To be a basic firefighter there are a few tests you need to pass. To start off, you need to be at least 18 years of age. Also, you need to have 30/20 vision and this will be determined by taking an eye vision-screening test (Fire Protection and Safety Technology par. 3). Having a high school diploma is a must. Passing a medical, physical, and written test is mandatory. The last test you need to pass to become a basic firefighter is a background test. If you have no criminal history, you will inevitably pass this test with flying colors. The difference between a basic firefighter and a regular firefighter is; a basic firefighter is not actually allowed to put out any fires. He or she is able to train to be one, but can have no partake in putting out fires or assisting in any medical care or attention. To actually fight fires and be what people actually think of when they hear the word "firefighter", there are a few more steps needed to help you prepare for this. You need to go to college and get a bachelor's degree and finish out school with thirty or more college credits. If you feel as though college is not the life for you, opting to join the military for two service years can also qualify you. This means though, that you need to completely serve out two full year terms in the military without dropping out. After applying for a job and getting hired by a station, young firefighters usually go and work/train at an academy for the first few weeks of their new job. At that academy, they learn to fight fires properly and also what to do in times when people or animals need medical attention (Fire Protection and Safety Technology par. 11).
There are a lot of things that you can do to help yourself out in finding a career in the firefighting field. There are many independent study courses and classes that you can take to help you better qualify for the job. Some of these classes are known as EMI's. In these classes you learn more about CPR, and medical services. You can also qualify and study to have and get your Medical Technician Certificate (Bingham 26 -27). Having these types of certificates is a big plus on a resume. Also, by taking a class in architecture your chances of finding a job greatly increase. Because so many fires happen in buildings, knowing the structure and how they are build can save a firefighters life. The chances of a building collapsing when it is on fire greatly rise. These collapses could lead to many injuries or even death for the firefighter. The last extracurricular classes that could help you out in finding a better job, or beating people out of the job are: chemistry courses. When fires erupt, chemicals usually fly into the air. In most cases, these chemicals are deadly or harmful to ones health. The firefighter's knowledge of knowing these chemicals will help them preserve their life. Being a volunteer firefighter, sometimes known as an EMT, can also boost your chances of finding a better job than those who did not volunteer at any firehouses. This looks very good on a resume as well, and helps you later win and land paying jobs.
After much deliberation and consideration, I chose the college, Kean University to look into for studying to be a firefighter. Kean University is located in New Jersey. The population of the campus is 13,000, which I feel is just right for me (Kean par.1). I chose this school not based on the population of the school, but on the program it had to offer for firefighting. Kean has one of the best firefighting programs in the whole country (Kean par. 2). Some other pluses it has to offer are: it is only thirty minutes away from New York City. This plays a very important role because it has a lot of great access to very good firehouses. New York City also has the most well known fire department in all of the United States (USFA par. 6). At Kean University they make sure you are prepared in your field before letting you off into the real world to find a job.
In training to be a firefighter, you learn many different but helpful facts. Mattress and bedding fires are the second most common type of fire out there. These types of fires then lead to houses fires. House fires are just one of the many types of fires they have to put out. Other common problems that firefighters have to deal with are: airplane crashes, assisting in childbirth, dealing with bomb threats, having to clean up gas leaks, and putting out car fires and brush fires (Pitts Interview 9/20/05). In training, you also learn how to climb and help people on the ladder. Standing on the ladder is very dangerous. The ladder's that the firefighters use can go stories high so falling off would most likely lead to your death. You cannot be scared of heights in this profession.
Being a firefighter has many benefits to it. For instance, you get health and life insurance no matter what firehouse you work for, just because it is such a high-risk job. Your family gets dental plans and vision plans for eye screening, even for every kid that you have. As a firefighter, you also get paid vacations and holidays. Because you have to wear a uniform that has a lot of pieces to it, you get a uniform allowance because it can get very expensive. They give you this because you are required to wear the uniform, it is not an option. Once you retire, you get a pension plan that is set up for you so that you are still getting paid while you are not even working. The average salary for a firefighter, nothing higher, is around $38,810 in the first year (Norman 70). Recruits, someone learning to be a firefighter, only gets paid $99 a day, but it also is not all day long and you are pretty much just learning the trade of what you are supposed to be doing on the job. Over pay is frequent because of the weird hours and shifts that firefighters have to work. Unlike most jobs, being a firefighter is not a nine to five job. You usually work twenty-four hour shifts, and then you get two days off. Or sometimes you can work three ten-hour shifts and then get three days off after your shifts are over. I feel as though this would be a great schedule. The more overtime you work as a firefighter the more your salary increases by the end of the year or payment period. Also, if you join a worker's union your ending salary will most definitely be higher than if you were not to be in one. Three out of four firefighters are in a union, so I think it is pretty safe to say that this would be a wise decision (Norman 280).
Women have increasingly joined the firefighting force since this career started. This is a definite plus side for me being a female. The United States government economists expect this job to rise in people wanting to be this occupation at least until the year 2012. Lay offs are very uncommon in the field of firefighting. This is mainly because firefighters are a necessity in a town, so they are cut into the city's budget every year. And when the budget of a city is cut, the city cuts equipment, not firefighters (USFA par. 17). Overall, this job is like any other job out there besides for the strange hours. It is still very stressful on your mind and body, but at the same time you do have a lot of days off. I feel that the hours are the only thing in the job that I would have to get used to during my first year of actually being on the job. I believe that I would make it my first year if I really put my whole body, mind, and soul into the job.
Firefighting has been around since sometime around 1855. This is one of the first known dates to be recorded for an actual firehouse being built. Although, the profession itself has changed a lot since that time. For one thing, newer equipment is being used such as fire trucks and fire hoses. All technology is more advanced and they now use computers on a daily basis as well. Even though the technology has increased, risks are still about the same. Around 30% of firefighters develop some form of a cancer having to do with smoke inhalation from being around it so often. Another 8% of firefighters die on the job by putting their lives on the line. This is why they are sometimes referred to as "Hometown Heroes", because they are in all sense of those words.
Everyone benefits from firefighters. Period. All races, sexes, and ages of people benefit from them. All plants, trees, and wildlife benefit from them. Even all pets and untamed animals benefit from them. The reason they benefit from firefighters is because they are there to protect every single thing from fire or damage. Buildings and property also benefit from firefighters because they are trained to preserve them as much as they can or feel possible. It is their responsibility.
Firefighters have a certain responsibility for all people's lives no matter who they are. All firefighters are taught and have the same three main goals in order of importance, they are: Protect life, protect the environment, and last but not least, protection of property (USFA par. 4). Every single day that they are on the job, their life is on the line. They have a responsibility that they commit to when they join the force of being a firefighter. This unwritten responsibility can also make them stay at disaster sites for days on end without getting off shift no matter if their shift has terminated or not. The last big responsibility they have is to ensure they are going to do their job, whether it is putting out a fire or rescuing a cat from a tree.
After doing all the research on this occupation, I feel that it is right for me in most cases. This profession is definitely mentally and emotionally there for me, I feel as though I could handle all the emotions that come my way. Although, I am not physically big enough for this profession. I am only five foot, and weigh about half as much as the equipment that the firefighters carry on their backs. This could be a struggle for me to overcome. I could make a living easily off of this career. It is definitely enough money for myself alone to get by, but if I were to add kids into the mix, money would be tight, on my salary alone. I would only be able to afford a little more than the average person, and I am not sure I would want to live this way. This is not the lifestyle in which I would want to lead. I would be constantly worrying about money issues. Although, this job is very realistic. The pay is about the average of the U.S. salary, and the job itself is very average as well. All in all, after researching this paper, my mind has yet to be changed on wanting to become a fire woman!
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