Become a female firefighter if you dare! It’s not that easy as you can see!
Becoming a female firefighter can be both positive and negative. There is nothing wrong of course in becoming a female firefighter, but it does come with some baggage. In an industry that is predominantly male, it’s hard coming in to work knowing you’re not going to be accepted by everyone. When the general public hears the word “firefighter,” they think of a tall, strong, beefy man, not a smaller-framed woman. So for those of us in the minority in the fire service, there is typically a lot of proving to be done. I hear it almost every day when I’m in uniform or in my turnout gear, comments such as, “You’re a firefighter? But you’re so small” and “How do you wear that? It weighs as much as you do.”
Lets first take a look at how hard it is to just go through the training as a woman, and in this case, a model!
Here are a couple positive and negative things about the job!
To go along with the good deeds you’ll perform as a firefighter, you’ll likely receive a handsome paycheck. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes the median pay as $45,250 annually, which is above the average of $33,840 for all U.S. jobs and $36,660 for jobs in the protective service field. Overtime is not uncommon, and after 20 or 25 years of work, you’ll likely have a pension waiting for you. Although pension amounts vary for each municipality, the International Association of Firefighters said the average pension for retired firefighters was between $30,455 and $36,545.
Negative: Grueling and Hazardous
The career of a firefighter is mentally, emotionally and physically taxing. Some firefighters work 24 hours straight and take 48 hours off, while others work fewer hours but more consecutive days. The fatigue that results is compounded because firrefighters do not just sit around. You’re training, participating in community events and responding to emergencies. You’re physically active throughout the day. Your emotional state is also in flux. You’re seeing things most people don’t get to see and don’t want to see. From life-threatening car wrecks to entire buildings turning into a charred mess, you’re going to go through a lot of situations that put you in a difficult place emotionally. And, of course, you’re putting your life in danger. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, 32,675 firefighters suffered injuries while at the scene of a fire, while 13,355 suffered injuries during non-fire incidents.
Positive: Helping People
If being a firefighter was all about the bad times, it’d be a very depressing and lonely job. But the bad is offset, at least somewhat, by the good that you do. Fire departments visit schools and teach children about fire safety, attend fairs, help with charities and interact with the people in the community. Of course, the ultimate deed is saving people’s lives. From getting pets out of a burning building to shuffling a family out of a smoke-filled apartment and into safety, you have the opportunity to make a profound and literally life-changing difference in people’s lives. You’ll also respond to serious car accidents, helping victims trapped inside their vehicles and assisting with injuries until the paramedics arrive.
Negative: Job Prospects
While you generally don’t need a degree to become a firefighter, you will need to pass a few tests and have an emergency medical technician certification. That’s the easy part. Getting your foot in the door is another story. The BLS doesn’t paint a pretty picture for job growth, estimating employment to grow 9 percent through 2020, which is below the U.S. average. Men also dominate the field. Women made up only 4.5 percent of the total number of firefighters in 2011, according to a survey conducted by the BLS.
How To Become A Female Firefighter?
VOLUNTEER FOR THE TRADE
If you ask a local how to become a firefighter, many will tell you they started as a volunteer. Departments will often have openings for people to do a wide range of volunteer services, including community service. You may help around the station or staff a table at a community fair. A voluntary role not only will help you build vital professional contacts in the field, but also introduce yourself to the local firefighting community. This connection may prove indispensable in entering this a highly competitive field.
FIND CPR TRAINING AND GET FIT 2
Firefighters work long hours under stressful conditions. They are typically more physically fit than people in professions other than law enforcement or athletics. Get in shape. You’ll be required to pass a strenuous physical examination at the time you apply for work as a firefighter.Find a CPR class at the American Red Cross or other agency offering training. Holding a Red Cross card can boost your chances of going on ride-along exercises with the firefighting team or handling physical duties around the station. If you can take full EMT training while you work as a volunteer, you’ll have even stronger credentials then it’s time to apply for firefighter status.It’s a great time to clean up any academic deficiencies if they might hamper your efforts to attend firefighting training or fire school. If there are items in personal backgrounds that require clearing, now’s the time.
GET A FIRE SCIENCE DEGREE
Go to school in fire science. Again, each hiring organization may have its specific training requirements. Typically, newly recruited firefighters combine volunteer or practical firefighting experience with post-secondary fire training at a college or academy. You’ll find firefighting technology programs that prepare students for work as firemen, fire investigators, fire arson investigators and fire inspectors.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you’ll be expected to know or be willing to learn how to:
Suppress and extinguish fires with hoses, pumps and additional apparatus.
Evacuate fire structures and treat victims
Drive and operate emergency vehicles and pump engines
Maintain firefighting equipment
Participate in public education
TAKE EXAMS AND APPLY FOR WORK
Your hiring process will typically include a written examination, oral interview, background investigation, drug screening and physical aptitude/agility exam. You’ll be asked to provide an extensive job history, academic record, credit history, and a list of personal references.The written exam covers math, human relations, problem solving, written and oral communications, judgment, memory and reasoning. A physical exam will cover your hearing, eyesight, blood pressure, blood and urine. A psychological exam will cover personality traits specific to performance as a firefighter.Your oral interview typically covers short-term and lifetime career goals, your vision as a life in firefighting and why you’re choosing that specific agency or department.Meet the basic requirements, typically having corrected 20/20 eyesight, a high school diploma, own a clean criminal record and be at least 18 years old (21 in some agencies).Remember, firefighters not only work for local departments, they take jobs with wilderness firefighting agencies, state fire organizations, with the construction trades, fire-equipment manufacturers and suppliers.Some agencies require candidates to volunteer or enroll in accredited apprenticeship programs that combine work with firefighter training. You may be sent to a federal, state or local firefighting academy that follows U.S. Fire Administration guidelines. The National Fire Protection Association also offers a 110-hour certification course.
ADVANCE IN YOUR PROFESSION
While many candidates ask how to become a fireman, you’d be surprised how few don’t ask their prospective employers about job stability and advancement opportunities. Advancements in the public sector are usually pegged to ranks established on the basis of experience and ongoing training.Continue your training. Heading to class to earn advanced certifications or college degrees in fire science can boost your rank, earnings and responsibilities. You can rise from firefighter to engineer and on to lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, deputy chief and fire chief.