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How to Become a Firefighter - Standing Out From the Competition

Dec 27, 2007
Firefighting has become such a popular career there is almost always a number of candidates for the few positions available. In fact, many of those whose goal is to become a firefighter have found that they need to look for positions on a nationwide basis and be willing to relocate, even to distant cities.

For that matter, we know some firefighters, who have tried three or four different times in different municipalities, before getting hired.

What all this means is that for you to be a successful candidate, you must find ways to stand out from the crowd. There are certifications you can get that can help you do just this and to win that dream job.

In fact, some experts say that in order to win that coveted badge, you should have all or most of the following:

1. EMT certificate

2. Paramedic license

3. EMT experience on an ambulance or in a hospital either full-time or part-time. This is because in most jurisdictions, firefighters respond to about 60% of the emergency medical service calls. Can you imagine your fire department hiring someone with no EMT experience?

4. CPR for the Professional Rescuer (American Red Cross) or CPR Healthcare Provider.

5. Firefighter 1 Academy Certificate and/or Firefighter 1 State Certification.

6. Specialized training certificates These can be training in Public Education, Fire Prevention, Fire Investigation, Auto Extraction, Rescue Systems, Swift Water Rescue, Hazardous Materials First Responder, etc.

Volunteer experience

In addition, it is good to have volunteer experience. Many counties and small municipalities use volunteer firefighters and this is a great way to get experience. You might also contact your local fire department to see if it uses volunteers in non-firefighting capacities, such as administration, hazmat training, fire prevention, et cetera.

Bilingual ability

Many jurisdictions now give preference to those who are bilingual. The most common second language is, of course, Spanish. However if your second language is something such as Russian, you would most likely stand out from many other candidates.

Memberships and affiliations.

If you are serious about becoming a firefighter, don't wait. Start getting involved in the fire service. One good way to do this is to join those organizations that can teach you what is required to be a firefighter and how to be an excellent one. This includes associations such as:

- State firefighters Association
- International Assoc.of Arson Investigators
- National Fire Protection Association
- National Association of EMTs

It is also good to have an ambulance driver's license and you should have a clean driver's license.

Of course, the best way to stand out as a firefighting candidate is by scoring very high in the written examination. This exam typically takes 3 1/2 hours and consists of 100 or more questions that are often divided into seven different types.

1. Recalling, visualizing, and spatial orientation questions.
2. Reading and verbal/listening comprehension questions
3. Questions on understanding and applying basic mathematics and science
4. Questions relating to tools and equipment
5. Questions about dealing with people
6. Questions relating to mechanical devices
7. Questions that test judgment and reasoning

The only real way to score high on your written examination is by getting a book on firefighter exams and studying it extensively. There are several of these books available via the Internet, and if you are willing to settle for a used copy, they are very inexpensive. The experts on this subject say that you must study for this exam every bit as hard - if not harder - then you would for an important final college exam. In fact, you literally cannot spend too much time studying for this exam.

You can stand out from the crowd and you can win that coveted badge. It just takes a lot of hard work and preparation.
About the Author
Douglas Hanna is the publisher of the http://www.howtobecomeafirefighter101.com website and the popular website, http://www.hd-radio-home.com which contains a ton of information about the new technology called HD radio, digital radio or high def radio.
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