When you see the men and women riding by in those shiney RED trucks, rest assured their role in gaining access to that "ride" was the result of dedication and lots of hard work. The task of becoming a firefighter is not easy!
Applicants must pass a written exam; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical examination that includes drug screening. Background checks and oral interviews are an important part of the process, too. There are far more applicants than there are job openings. If an applicant successfully makes it through this screening process, then the real work begins.
As a rule, entry-level workers in large fire departments are trained for several weeks at the departmentís training center or academy. Through classroom instruction and practical training, the recruits study firefighting techniques, fire prevention, hazardous materials control, local building codes, and emergency medical procedures, including first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They also learn how to use axes, chain saws, fire extinguishers, ladders, self contained breathing apparatus and other firefighting and rescue equipment. After successfully completing this training, they are assigned to a fire company, where they undergo a period of probation.