Those interested in becoming a firefighter should earn a fire science degree. Course topics include report writing, fire science law, hazardous materials, mass casualty incident management, fire behavior and combustion, building construction, fire rescue procedures, and methods of controlling different types of fires. Students will learn how to treat victims? injuries with emergency medical services, prepare written reports on fire or emergency incidents, and clean and maintain equipment.
A firefighter puts out fires, rescues victims, and responds to other emergencies such as car accidents and natural disasters. It's also a firefighter's job to teach people about fire safety, inspect buildings for fire hazards, and plan escape routes and emergency firefighting strategies. Firefighters generally have a higher rate of injury and illness than the national average because of overexposure to flames and smoke. Firefighters need to be physically fit, dedicated, ready and willing to sacrifice their lives, and able to think clearly while under lots of stress. Aside from being a firefighter, career options are available as a forest fire inspector, fire equipment specialist, fire safety building inspector, and fire department chief.
Firefighters are usually certified as emergency medical technicians at the EMT-Basic level; and all firefighters must go through 12 to 18 weeks of simulation training to learn how to operate fire engines, fire extinguishers, ladders, hoses, axes, and other firefighting equipment.