Personal Traits And Demands Of A Firefighter
A firefighter can be described as many things. A hero, an advocate for safety, men and women of great valor. Like other first responders such as a police force and EMTs/Paramedics, firefighters are dispatched to emergencies in an hour of need and are typically first to arrive on scene. They not only put their own lives on the line by fighting fires and saving others, they also are active members in the community to educate the public on fire prevention. Fire marshals go around the community in commercial business spaces to check fire system inspections tags to ensure the location’s fire safety complies with local and state guidelines.
Character traits of a firefighter are important puzzle pieces to consider when one enters this field as a profession. Considering the public depends on first responders for not only their safety and well being, you’re also trusted to uphold that standard every single time. Although many are drawn to the field for some superficial and hollow reasons, being a firefighter means that you see things that most people often do not. Exciting calls and the action-packed fires and blazes do happen, but much of the time, firefighters are called to assist those in their greatest time of need. Compassion and trustworthiness are two very important character traits. This industry is not all just fame and glory to be a “hero” and try to impress others with a uniform or a fire engine. Having a will to CARE for others and providing care to those who cannot take care of themselves and having empathy are two more traits necessary to be in this position. When you’re in the field and you must provide care to a person’s loved one, you must look that loved one in the eye and say, “I’m going to do everything I can to help you, but you have to trust me”. In an emergency, these traits carry a lot of merit.
This industry can take its’ toll on fire personnel not only mentally and physically but can at times be emotionally draining as well. Although this position can be enriching and very rewarding, the demands of this position are not to be taken lightly. Mental demands include remember details and safety procedures, how to talk to people in the event of an emergency and addressing others in the time of urgency. Physical demands include heavy lifting for not only equipment and uniforms, but also being a first responder having to assist people if they’re unconscious or injured. Learning demands of this industry are just as important. There are so many pieces of information to learn from how to care for others in the first responder aspect (blood pressure, watching body changes) to laws and regulations regarding fire protection for your city and state. In addition to that, you have to be prepared how to answer questions from the general public. For example, you walk into a commercial office space to see if their extinguishers are up to date for compliance purposes. The owner says “How often do I need to have these tags checked?” The answer would be: “Annually unless the unit is used, then it has to be refilled by a fire protection company. ” Unless someone in fire personnel does not know that information immediately, that would definitely give someone in the general public a reason to question the department.
Just recently, on Friday October 12th, the office I work for had to call 911 for first responders to be dispatched to our parking lot. A delivery driver for a steel company was standing on the back of his flatbed and lost his balance trying to walk across a slick tarp due to the rain. He had fallen off the bed of the truck and broke his arm. As expected, the firefighters were able to assess the patient, check him for any substantial injuries such as a concussion or head injury, and wait with him while the ambulance was en route. From our perspective as the general public, the firefighters had asked us as witnesses if we had any additional information for them after they spoke with the patient. After their brief conversation with a few of our office employees, they assisted the man to the ambulance upon its’ arrival. The truck was with Oklahoma City Fire Department #9, and they were great during the process. Everything they processed was in a timely fashion and did what I would expect a first responder to do which was provide service, assess the situation, remain calm, and wrap up the scene.