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Being a firefighter is among the most demanding and challenging jobs. Firefighters extinguish fires that jeopardize the lives of people and animals. Their work protects people’s property and the environment.
Importantly, firefighters have to start their career in fire safety with a high school diploma or GED. It is not mandatory to have a bachelor’s degree for a career in firefighting. However, a bachelor’s degree in related subjects, like fire science, can aid in career advancement in this profession. You can enroll yourself in a fire academy to get firefighter training, rescue tactics, physical skills, and basic knowledge. Alternatively, you can choose to volunteer at the local fire station to get your start in this occupation.
Additionally, some fire departments also offer apprentice programs. These programs give new prospects opportunities to learn from experienced firefighters and usually take three or four years to complete. Afterward, individuals must pass tests and interviews for admission.
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There are also many online certifications where firefighters can enhance their skills at their own pace. Some of these online certifications are:
1. EMT Certification
One of the main things required for constant progress in any career is continuing your education. Therefore, ambitious individuals look for ways to expand their skills and knowledge. To this end, numerous platforms such as CE solutions offer certifications to boost your firefighting career. They offer courses structured by industry experts and authorized by local fire advisory boards to give the best continuing education.
Specific certifications, such as EMT certification, are necessary to begin a firefighter job, and online programs are available. However, due to the hands-on nature of this certification, it is not possible to learn everything online. Some institutes do offer EMT training online, along with coursework. But a hybrid program with in-person training EMT classes is more valuable. Also, an online EMT certification from an accredited source is mandatory.
In other words, a firefighter must possess certification as an emergency medical technician. This is because these individuals need to give instant medical care to people affected by the fire. An EMT-certified firefighter passes an exam that ensures they have sound skills to evaluate a patient’s condition. They demonstrate they can deal with traumatic and cardiac emergencies. Importantly, they must be aware of the danger of blocked airways in fire-affected individuals. Moreover, they must know how to treat that condition.
Basically, most fire academies and fire departments only accept individuals for firefighter training who have an EMT certification.
2. Paramedic Certification
A paramedic is a professional who has training for dealing with medical emergencies in stressful situations. Many platforms have online paramedic programs through which someone can become a licensed paramedic. Alternatively, these programs can become the base for any other healthcare profession. Usually, students should have a basic EMT certificate to enroll in this program. But some institutes may only require a high school diploma for paramedic training. Paramedics are ideal candidates for the profession of firefighting.
This certification program consists of 1,300 hours of training. In this program, students learn medical skills such as intravenous medical care and stitching wounds. They also learn to conduct minor procedures to help prevent death. That is, paramedic training ensures that firefighters can give advanced lifesaving support to patients while en route to the hospital. In other words, paramedic training decreases the chances of mortality, as patients get instant medical attention.
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3. Firefighter I & II Certification
Online fire academies offer courses, training material, and firefighter level I & II certification. These programs provide the specific knowledge and skills required for professional firefighter I & II qualifications. They are the primary certification firefighters need to become a certified firefighter according to NFPA 1001 standards. The NFPA is the National Fire Protection Association. This organization sets the minimum job performance requirements for volunteer and career firefighters.
Online firefighter certification programs train firefighters in communications principles and fire extinguishing methods. In these courses, firefighters learn how to handle fire streams. They also learn how to analyze the source and possible route of fire and use advanced techniques to suppress it.
Additionally, tools are crucial for controlling fire spread. This course also thoroughly explains firefighting tools and their proper use.
4. HAZMAT Certification
HAZMAT is an abbreviation for hazardous materials. It is a designation that refers to materials that are explosive, toxic, or caustic. Hazardous substances can be in the form of gas, liquid, or solid. Their release and mishandling can put lives, property, and the environment at risk. Accidental fires from the explosion of hazardous materials can cause devastating crises. Moreover, the first ones to respond and reach such sites are firefighters. Therefore, a firefighter must be well-trained and skillful in dealing with chemical and biological hazards.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific standards for firefighters that require HAZMAT certification. These standards help firefighters identify hazardous materials and understand the best techniques to subdue their effects. HAZMAT certification can be highly advantageous for a firefighter as it can lead to specialization in this particular area.
5. DOD Firefighter Certification
The Department of Defense (DOD) firefighter certification is for both Civilian Fire and Emergency Services Firefighters and DOD firefighters. However, candidates for this designation must have Firefighter I & II and HAZMAT operations certificates. Additionally, they must have one year of on-ground experience in this field.
Various accredited online DOD firefighter certification programs can give academic and hands-on training using virtual tools. Individuals get advanced training, management and leadership skills, and communication with other departments through this program.
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Firefighters are heroes who endanger their own lives to ensure the safety of people and buildings. Multiple standardized certificates help individuals start or advance their firefighting careers. These certifications provide skills that increase operation speed and enhance firefighting abilities. The credentials listed in this article are among the most necessary and beneficial for a flourishing firefighting career.