A good firefighter needs to embody a wide range of personality traits, abilities, and skills that make you "perfect" for the difficult job of rescuing victims from burning buildings. Check out these important qualities and character traits any firefighter should have for success in the field.
Heart And Integrity
First and foremost, a good firefighter must have the heart to put his or her life in danger and rescue others. The self-sacrifice and bravery it takes to have a career in fire service are unquestionable, and it has nothing to do with one's mental aptitude or intelligence. You must maintain that drive and passion throughout your career.
It's no secret that firefighters must be physically fit to handle the job; it's another crucial firefighter qualification. Your clothing and equipment are dense and heavy, and you have to scale ladders, run, and jump while wearing them. Not only must you pass a physical assessment—sometimes called a "fit test" or "physical ability test" (PAT)—to qualify, but also prove you have the raw strength and agility needed for many parts of the job. The PAT tests your ability to complete tasks at different "stations," and these tasks must be completed in a certain sequence. You must be able to climb several flights of stairs with all of your gear and equipment and have the strength left to do the actual job: Fight the fire for however long it takes to get under control.
Accountability And Reliability
All public service professionals are expected to be accountable for their actions—they are, after all, serving the public. The public depends on you to be there when it matters most.
There is also a certain amount of reliability that's needed among the firefighting team as well. Crew members must be able to trust and depend on their colleagues; everyone who is participating in the fire rescue has a job that's critical, and your colleagues trust you with their lives.
Ability To Work Under Stress And Adapt
The ability to perform quickly and methodically when disaster strikes is one of the most important skills you must have. Urgent and life-threatening situations have no room for hesitation. You must rush into a burning building, fight the fire, and perform rescue missions, no matter how dire the situation. Firefighters can come across many obstacles while performing fire rescue missions: a floor that is no longer there, a caved-in wall, or downed support beams. You must know how to overcome them.
Firefighters don't have to be master mathematicians to perform job duties well, but you do have to have the fundamental mechanical aptitude. Firefighters work with a wide range of mechanical equipment and tools, and you must know how to mitigate disasters while using your tools. You must know how to solve problems in the heat of the moment.
In addition to all of these character traits and skills, a firefighter is often expected to have undergone EMT or paramedic training. If you take a look at the open firefighter positions across the U.S., you'll see that many of them require a basic EMT or paramedic certification in addition to the fire rescue training that's required. When it comes to being a great firefighter, though, character traits are just as important as obtaining the necessary firefighter qualifications, certifications, and skills.
Become A Firefighter
If you’re ready to get to work, then get to a school for your training! It’s a competitive field, so while there is no official amount of training required, most firefighters have 6-24 months of learning under their belts before applying for a position. You’ll be on the force before you know it!