Photo provided by Wei Wen Cai.

There are many types of firemen in the United States and other countries, including forest firefighters, sea firefighters, volunteer firefighters, retained firefighters, etc. Each of them has different duties but the forest firefighter is likely the most dangerous.

Forest firefighters mainly focus on wildfires in woods and forests. Forest firefighters do not only put out forests fires, but also have a lot of responsibilities going on at the same time. Other than suppressing forest fires, forest firefighters provide services including maintaining contact with fire dispatchers at all times in order to notify them of the need for additional firefighters and supplies, rescue fire victims, and administer emergency medical aid, establish water supplies, collaborate with other firefighters as a member of a firefighting crew, fell trees, cut and clear brush, and dig trenches in order to create fire lines etc.

To become a forest firefighter, there are specific kinds of requirements. It is actually hard to become a forest firefighter due to a lot of factors. We should understand that the task is complicated because the altitude and scarcity of roads can make it hard to get supplies to the location. First, firefighters use basic knowledge of the area and predicted weather conditions in order to fight fires. This becomes a fundamental strategy of being a forest firefighter. Second, forest firefighters must be in the best physical shape, have a great deal of stamina, make quick decisions under pressure, and work well on their own as well as with a team.

There is also a type of forest firefighter called a seasonal firefighter. They normally work from May to September which is approximately around fire seasons. People who are interested in being a seasonal forest firefighter should be at least a high school graduate, 18 years or older and pass a stringent physical examination. All new hires must attend basic firefighter classes with a final examination. Basic fire graduates assist in organizing fire crews for low to medium risk fires.

Before becoming forest firefighters, all employees should have attended classes. The National Wildfire Coordinating Group standardizes training and qualifications for Wildland firefighters over state and federal agencies. The material taught in classes cover firefighting techniques, prevention, hazards and emergency medical procedures. In addition to the skills listed above, students also learn how to use axes, chain saws, fire extinguishers, ladders ect… and rescue equipment. Those completing the lessons receive an Incident Qualification Card, which certifies that they have the necessary qualifications.

In conclusion, forest firefighters require a lot of skills and training. You need to be passionate to face all of the problems and challenges. Becoming a forest firefighter, people are expected to risk their lives. However, it is a good job for people who are not scared to sacrifice.

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