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If you enjoy and excel at physical activity, can handle stressful environments and want to help your community, becoming a firefighter may be the right career choice for you. A firefighter’s job is physically demanding, and without the proper training -- before and during the official firefighter’s training process -- you won’t have much hope of getting a job as a firefighter. Although most of a firefighter’s training will occur during the official training phase, you can increase your chances of getting the job by preparing yourself well in advance.
Work out and keep yourself in great condition. A firefighter’s job is labor-intensive. You may have to carry someone out of a burning house, and unless you have the strength and stamina to do so, you’re going to endanger yourself and the person you’re trying to save. Lift weights three to four times a week and do cardio exercises four to five times a week. Don’t target the same muscle group on consecutive days; leave a day of rest for each muscle you work.
Eat healthy. Drink primarily water, and include at least five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. Water helps prevent dehydration and contains no calories, which means you’ll have more energy to work out and keep fit -- and you won’t have the unnecessary calories of soda to burn off during your workout. Increase your intake of protein as well, because protein helps repair muscle damage from workouts. You can find protein in foods such as chicken, fish and eggs.
Take CPR certification courses. You can become CPR certified by taking classes offered by your local fire department, health schools, the American Red Cross or a hospital. You must be CPR certified prior to becoming a firefighter.
Talk to your local fire department and fill out an application. The department will call you in for an oral interview. While all fire departments handle the interview process differently, the typical questions pertain to how you would handle certain situations, such as how you handle a stressful environment, what you would do if an order placed you in grave danger, how you handle an emergency situation, all situations that you’re likely to face as a firefighter. If you do well on the oral interview, the department may choose to select you for the firefighting training process, which is the official firefighter training that you’ll partake in.
Study and listen to all of the training you receive. While much of the training process involves physical activity, you’ll be given training in a classroom as well. You must pass a written exam as the final step to becoming a firefighter. Study the notes, books and material you are given, because you typically have only one opportunity per training period to complete the exam with most fire departments. Most departments allow you take the exam at a later time, but you must complete the training process again.
Cardio exercises include jump-rope, running, swimming and bicycling.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.