Firefighters’ goals are to save lives, property and the environment. A fire can rapidly spread and endanger many lives; however, with modern firefighting techniques, catastrophe is usually, but not always, avoided. To prevent fires from starting, a firefighter’s duties can include public education about fire safety and conducting fire inspections of locations for their adherence to local fire codes.
Because firefighters are often the first responders to people in critical conditions, firefighters may provide many other valuable services to the community they serve, such as:
Emergency medical services, as technicians or as licensed paramedics, staffing ambulances;
Defensive Hazardous materials mitigation (HAZMAT);
Community disaster support.
Fire risk assessments
There are specialized area of fire and rescue operations that are considered special operations. These areas may require schools and classes to be attended for subject specific training.
A hose team training to fight an aircraft fire aboard a US aircraft carrier, 2006
Wildland fire suppression;
Search and rescue;
Offensive Hazardous materials technician (HAZMAT);
Shipboard and military fire and rescue;
Tactical paramedic support (“SWAT medics”);
High-angle rope rescue;
Swift water rescue.
Confined space rescue
Firefighters usually follow the 24 hour shift schedule. They usually report to work around 0700 and leave the following day at 0700. Some fire departments work 8 or 12 hour shifts but the 24 hour shift is far more common. Australian firefighters work a 10/14 shift in which the day shift works 10 hours and the night shift works 14 hours.