Firefighters are primarily responsible for responding to fires, accidents and other incidents where risks are posed to life and property. You will work closely with the local community to increase their level of fire safety awareness in order to help prevent fires and accidents happening in the first place.
Promoting fire safety and enforcing fire safety standards in public and commercial premises, you’ll act and advise on all matters relating to the protection of life and property from fire and other risks.
Employers of firefighters
- local authority fire services
- airports and ports
- the armed forces
- a small number of industrial organizations, such as those in the chemical, nuclear, gas and oil industries
- responding immediately and safely to emergency calls and requests for assistance;
- attending emergency incidents including fires, road accidents, floods, terrorist incidents, spillages of dangerous substances, and rail and air crashes;
- rescuing trapped people and animals;
- minimising distress and suffering, including giving first aid before ambulance crews arrive;
- safeguarding your own and other people’s personal safety at all times;
- cleaning up and checking the site after dealing with an incident;
- taking time to become familiar with local streets, roads and buildings so you can respond to emergency calls with speed and efficiency;
- inspecting and maintaining the appliance (fire engine) and its equipment, assisting in testing fire hydrants and checking emergency water supplies;
- undertaking drills and physical training and taking part in training on techniques, use of equipment and related matters;
- maintaining the level of physical fitness necessary to carry out all the duties of a firefighter;
- educating and informing the public to promote fire safety by giving talks in schools and to local organizations, as well as home visits to offer advice, etc;
- maintaining links with the local community.
You can become a firefighter both with or without a degree. Academic qualifications are not necessary for entry, although a number of degree subjects including physical, chemical and materials sciences or engineering may be helpful, both for entry and later promotion.
- effective communication skills;
- integrity, composure and a reassuring manner;
- the ability to follow instructions;
- the ability to work as part of a team;
- problem-solving skills;
- patience, understanding and sensitivity;
- confidence and resilience;
- adaptability and flexibility;
- sound judgement, courage, decisiveness, quick reactions and the ability to stay calm in difficult circumstances;
- the willingness and ability to learn on a continual basis;
- an interest in promoting community safety, education and risk prevention.