How to Become a Firefighter in Five Easy Steps!

Many children dream of being firefighters when they grow up. The challenge and excitement of battling blazing infernos and rescuing people who are in danger is thrilling for youngsters who don’t quite understand the demands and inherent dangers of being a firefighter. For some, however, the call to serve and protect never goes away. Those among us who are prepared to answer that call are cut from a different cloth. If you want to become a firefighter, here are the five steps you need to take. 

Check Off the Basics 

Before you begin the journey toward becoming a firefighter, you have to make sure you qualify. Recruits must be at least 18 years of age, though some limited on-the-job training can begin at a younger age. They must also hold a valid driver’s license and be able to pass a criminal background check and drug screening.  

During the recruitment process, applicants must demonstrate both mental and physical ability. Pre-tests to move forward to the next stage include written and physical components. For the written exam, applicants are test their spatial awareness, reading comprehension, mechanical reasoning, logic observation, and memory. Physically, one must be able to pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). This includes being able to run for a pre-determined time period, rapidly climb up and down stairs, and lift and carry at least 200 pounds. 

EMT Certification 

Because firefighters often find themselves facing situations involving injury or illness, some jurisdictions require firefighters to be certified as Emergency Medical Technicians. This licensing includes basic first aid care for patient stabilization and transportation to a medical facility. CPR, tourniquet application, and wound treating as well as other basic care training can supplement your ability to act quickly and as needed.  

Learn more about Performance Training Systems EMS exam prep services here! 

Enroll in a Fire Academy 

Once you qualify as a future firefighter, enrolling in a fire academy can provide classroom and hands-on training can enrich on-the-job training. In the classroom environment, you can learn about things which may not be covered in the field, such as arson prevention or hazardous waste identification and management. Fire academies also provide controlled training scenarios to learn the proper techniques and methods necessary for a variety of real-world situations. 

Optional: Formal Education 

If you want to explore further career options within the emergency services industry, considering higher education options can help set you up for a full and fulfilling career. Colleges, universities, and trade schools offer Associate and Bachelor degrees that can make the path to career growth easier. For those interested in fire science, transitioning to a paramedic role, or seeking advancement in leadership as a firefighter, higher education may be necessary. A Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Forestry with a focus on firefighting or environmental protection opens employment avenues that may not be available otherwise. 

Continued Learning 

Even if you are not interested in other career avenues, continuous learning is vital to being a successful firefighter. Staying on top of advancements in fire prevention and firefighting technologies is key to protecting people and saving those in need. Continuing to take training courses and refresh your knowledge will keep you on top of your game for as long as possible. Firefighter exam prep with Performance Training Systems can help! 

For more information about our EMS and firefighter exam prep services, contact us today! 

Becoming an EMT: The Top Three Things You Need to Know

The call to help your fellow man is strong in some people, drawing them to public service careers like military, medical, or other public safety careers. For those who feel that need to protect and serve, the path to fulfilling that role may be in emergency response positions. EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters are often the first people on the scene when it comes to emergency situations like car accidents, fires, or medical emergencies.  

If you think you’re ready to answer the call and enter the emergency response field, here are the top five things you need to know! 

This is NOT a 9 to 5 Job 

Being in this field is a full-time commitment. This is not a job that clocks in at 9 am and out at 5 pm Monday through Friday. As an Emergency Medical Technician, you can expect long shift that never truly end because you may be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes weekends and holidays, which may be among the busiest times of the year. Be sure you are ready for the time commitment that comes with a career in emergency services. 

As an EMT, the majority of your time will be at home base in a dispatch center. That doesn’t mean you won’t be working. While on duty but not responding to a call, EMTs are responsible for keeping all equipment is top condition and fully prepared in case of dispatchment. Emergency responders also have to maintain their own physical condition to be able to respond as needed. 

The Difference Between EMT and Paramedics 

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are not one in the same. Emergency Medical Technicians are trained to respond quickly to emergency situations and provide medical support services and transportation to injured or ill patients. EMTs receive basic medical training to be able to provide life-supporting care. This includes CPR, tourniquet application, and wound treating, as well as stabilization for broken bones and spinal injuries.  

Paramedics have the same medical and emergency response training as EMTs with additional training to allow for more advanced levels of care. Where Emergency Medical Technicians receive about 120 to 150 hours of training on average, paramedic training can be between 1,200 to 1,800 hours. Paramedics can administer medication, start intravenous lines, and even perform advanced airway management procedures.  

Because both career paths share a common origin point, having adequate training on the most basic levels is important. All first responders are thoroughly trained both in the classroom and on the field to act quickly and accurately in order to save lives. Before one can be certified as an EMT, they must pass an exam to prove their knowledge and understanding.  

EMS exam prep services like those offered by Performance Training Systems can help you in your quest to become an emergency responder. Whether you need to know how to prepare for the EMS exam, online firefighter exam prep, or assistance with paramedical exams, we have the solution for you. 

High Demand 

Not everyone is suited for the life of an EMT. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians estimates about 700,000 EMTs provide services to 25 to 30 million patients per year. This is a high stress, high demand job which requires a cool head and the ability to think and act quickly and provide accurate care. You must be prepared for whatever the day throws your way, including life and death situations. This career path may open up doors leading to higher roles such as paramedic or firefighter work, but only for those who can answer the call. 

If you are on your way to becoming an EMT, we want to help you become the best you can be. Our EMS exam preparation services include online sample tests with randomly generated questions that meet NFPA standards to give you a well-rounded sense of what to expect. We also offer assistance preparing for firefighter selection or promotion exams. 

For more information about our services, contact Performance Training Systems today!