My Advice to you aspiring firefighters, train to be an EMT.
I know, I get it, you want to fight fires and pull people from cars. You don’t want to drive an ambulance or answer 911 calls like am EMT. However, it will typically 3-5 years of applying to jobs in various locations in order to actually get on with a paid fire department. You may be able to find a volunteer job, but you want the real deal with an income right? Those 3-5 years can be extended depending on numerous factors. If you do not want to waste years of your life waiting to do what you love, take your EMT course, and here's why!
Medical Calls are Just as Frequent as Fires
Whether you realize it or not, the reality is that 44% of the calls you are going to get as a firefighter are going to be medical related, requiring you to assist paramedics. In response to this, fire departments need more medically trained personnel on their squads to respond to those calls and help paramedics in every way they can. Your application will look much stronger than the people you are competing for the job with who do not have EMT certification.
Many Fire Departments have Integrated Services
Many fire departments are beginning to offer integrated services in order to provide the most effective aid possible to their communities. This means that they fight fires, and offer basic medical assistance. This cuts back on the risks for the community, as a fire fighter can save time by providing for your medical needs and fighting fires. The community can only benefit from integration, and more and more fire departments are aiming for this kind of integration. Oftentimes integrated fire departments are hiring people straight out of school if they have the kinds of skills and education that will make the integrated department function as it should.
Become a Better Firefighter
One of the best advantages to being trained as an EMT is that is helps make you a better firefighter. The fact that you can both fight fires and tend to the medical needs of most calls you receive makes you a valuable asset in any fire department. Your expertise will save more lives, and make the entire emergency response system which communities rely on, that much more effective and efficient. You will also show that you can handle the stress and pressure of fighting fires along with the pressures of caring for someone’s health. Your skills will surpass many of the other people trying to get a job as a firefighter.
When you want to be a firefighter, you will have to deal with competition, and a long wait time before you can begin an actual paid position in the department. If you want to cut that time down, becoming certified as an EMT has a wealth of benefits, and can get you the job of your dreams that much sooner.
No matter what you decide to do, stay safe out there everyone.