Characteristics of a Firefighter
So you want to be a firefighter? It's easy to romanticize the firefighting profession with all the stories of
courage and heroism that have arisen from it. However, while it is relatively easy to wish to become a
firefighter or dream of becoming one, there are certain characteristics that will make you succeed in this field.
First of all, you have to be able to work as a member of a team. Firefighting is not solitary work, thank God,
so if you're a loner or have the penchant for doing things yourself, this might not be the right profession for
you. Working with others entails having good interpersonal relationships both with your colleagues and your
superiors. You need to have the ability to listen to others, to accept constructive criticism, to follow orders and
take charge when the situation calls for it.
Being able to stay calm under intense pressure is another quality that all successful firefighters have. When
your station responds to any emergency, the stresses can become overwhelming especially when the safety
of others is involved. The ability to think on your feet and use common sense are very valuable in this trade.
You also need to be able to concentrate on one task or a series of tasks for long hours at a time. Most of all,
a firefighter needs to be able to make quick decisions and perform complex tasks while in the midst of life-
Initiative and innovation are important traits that a firefighter must have. You must be resourceful as you deal
with the injured or the critically-ill. You need to be able to use good judgment and do what needs to be done to
bring about the best outcome in any situation.
A firefighter needs to genuinely care about people. You have to be willing to rescue or extend a helping hand
to them no matter what their beliefs or preferences are. Firefighting is in the business of helping everyone and
there is no room for prejudices or judgments here. This being said, however, you should still be aware of the
various differences among peoples and cultures so that you will be able to perform your job well.
As far as the physical attributes are concerned, you need to be agile and strong. You need to be able to endure
the harsh environments that you will find yourself in as you respond to emergency situations. This means
having good cardiovascular and muscular strength. In other words, you have to be really fit and healthy if you
want to succeed in this job.
Finally, a firefighter must be optimistic and have a sense of humor. Firemen see the negative side of life. They
are also exposed to the most hopeless of situations. Despite these, the most successful of them have that
uncanny ability to remain positive and hopeful in the most dire of circumstances. To balance the stresses of the
job, a good sense of humor and the ability to lighten up are also much-needed characteristics.
If you believe that you have what it takes to be a Fire Fighter, then the first step is the Fire Fighter Exam Study Guide that walks you through the entire Fire Fighter hiring process.
For more information, go to our page for the Fire Fighter Exam Study Guide.