Do You Want to be a Firefighter?

Have you ever considered a career as a firefighter? It can be incredibly tough, being physically and emotionally demanding, but it can also be extremely rewarding knowing that you’re helping to save people’s lives.

One of the main duties of a firefighter is attending and containing fires. You could also find yourself doing rescue and recovery, fire prevention, attending road crashes, or cleaning large toxic chemical spills. The day of a firefighter is fast-paced and every day brings new challenges.

But if you’d like to become a firefighter, where do you start?

The first step is to see if you can volunteer or get work experience at your local fire station. These are great ways to experience a career first-hand, and ask people working in the job what it’s like. One example is the NSW Community Fire Unit (CFU), where people in areas close to bushland volunteer to raise awareness of bushfires and learn strategies to prepare homes for fire. Certain places also have Cadet programs for young people, like South Australia’s CFS Cadet Program.

The next step is to make sure you’re physically capable. Many recruitment processes to become a firefighter involve a fitness test of some sort. For example, to become a firefighter in Queensland, you will need to pass an Operational Focused Abilities Test (OFAT), which tests things like your strength, reflexes and coordination. Most states also require you to do a Shuttle Run (the infamous Beep Test).

Another important consideration is ensuring you’re mentally capable. Firefighters sometimes have to work in high-stress situations, and deal with people who may be seriously injured or dying. You need to be level-headed and perform well under pressure. In some states you may be tested on your mental and emotional capability, like in Victoria where you need to undertake a psychological questionnaire.

Here are some other attributes you’ll need if you want to be a firefighter:

  • Work well in teams
  • Excellent initiative
  • Commitment to ongoing training and education
  • Strong communication skills
  • Great at problem solving

Firefighting can be a tough job, but worth it knowing you’re helping make your community safe and saving lives. If you’re resilient, love helping others, and aren’t afraid of a challenge, a career as a firefighter could be extremely rewarding.

You can read more about firefighter recruitment in your state at the links below:

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