public service

Public Services

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What Does a Firefighter Do?

If you tend to run toward danger instead of running away from it, here’s a job that can channel that energy. A firefighter, also known as a fireman, is a highly skilled first responder who works to fight and extinguish fires. A firefighter also takes steps to prevent fires and act as an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Firefighters are almost always the first officials on the scene of a fire, car accident, hazard material spill or other emergency. The work can be very dangerous.

These workers — many of them volunteer firefighters — remain on call at the fire station, where they sleep, eat and perform other duties during shifts that often last 24 hours. 

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Median Salary $
51,000
Jobs Available
23,750+
Firefighters work together in a training exercise to put out a fire
Firefighters learn basic skills at fire academy, but each new fire adds to their education and training. (Credit: Matt Chesin/Unsplash)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Respond to emergencies
  • Extinguish fires using water hoses, fire extinguishers and water pumps
  • Enter burning buildings to rescue people and animals from the flames
  • Keep station and equipment in good work condition
  • Participate in public educational activities on fire safety
  • Update records on service calls, equipment inspection or repair
  • Follow safety policies and report unsafe activities and conditions
  • Conduct drills and training fire exercises
  • Participate in physical fitness training
  • Inspect buildings for fire safety measures
Education + Training

Most employers require a high school diploma and training in emergency medical services. Prospective firefighters must pass written and physical tests, participate in interviews, complete training at a fire academy, and earn emergency medical training (EMT) certification. Applicants typically must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license. They must also pass drug screening.

Fire academy typically lasts about five months. The training includes firefighting and fire-prevention techniques, local building codes, use of firefighting tools and emergency medical tactics. Some firefighters attend  training sessions on anti-arson techniques, disaster preparedness and hazardous materials control.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are physically fit
  • Have compassion and empathy
  • Have courage
  • Are calm under pressure
  • Are able to make quick, sometimes difficult decisions
  • Communicate well

Firefighter training in your area

Coordinates

Fire Science - Fire Officer Certificate

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (0.0 Miles)

Fire Science, A.A.S.

Arizona Western College
Yuma (0.0 Miles)

Fire Fighter (Minimum Standards) Career Certificate

Valencia College
Orlando (0.0 Miles)

Fire Science, A.A.S.

Coconino Community College
Flagstaff (0.0 Miles)

Professional Fire Apparatus Operator Engineer Certificate

Albany Technical College
Albany (0.0 Miles)

Fire Service Leadership, A.A.S.

San Antonio College
San Antonio (0.0 Miles)

Fire Protection Technology: College Certificate

Wayne County Community College District
Detroit (0.0 Miles)

Fire and Rescue Training

Craven Community College
New Bern (0.0 Miles)
Lincoln Land Community College

Fire Service Instructor I Certificate of Completion

Lincoln Land Community College
Springfield (0.0 Miles)
Paradise Valley Community College

Fire Service Management, A.A.S.

Paradise Valley Community College
Phoenix (0.0 Miles)
FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE AT JACKSONVILLE

Fire Science Technology, A.S.

Florida State College at Jacksonville
Jacksonville (0.0 Miles)

Fire Technology Associate Degree

Moreno Valley College
Moreno Valley (0.0 Miles)
Meet Ambassador
Jeffrey Kaplan
Image
Firefighter Jeffrey Kaplan
Meet Ambassador
Jeffrey Kaplan

"As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a firefighter," says Jeffrey Kaplan, captain of the Englewood Fire Department in New Jersey. "The best way I can describe it is that I was the little boy who ran to the window when the firetrucks went by. I just never stopped running to the window."

The 43-year-old loves that no two calls are alike. Read on for more smart advice for anyone considering a career as a firefighter.

Find Firefighter Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Firefighter - Lateral

City of Rio Rancho NM
Rio Rancho ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 years 2 months ago

Fireman - American Queen Steamboat Company

Alcatraz Cruises
Philadelphia ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Fireman - American Queen Steamboat Company

Alcatraz Cruises
Fort Lauderdale ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Fireman - American Queen Steamboat Company

Alcatraz Cruises
New Orleans ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Fireman - American Queen Steamboat Company

Hornblower
Indianapolis ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Fireman - American Queen Steamboat Company

Hornblower
Charleston ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Paid-Per-Call Firefighter

City of Baraboo
Baraboo ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 2 weeks ago

Immediate Document Review (DC)

TransPerfect
Philadelphia ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 months 1 week ago