Firefighter Job Description and Duties

Is Firefighting the

Career for You?

Are you looking for an exciting and meaningful career?

Firefighting is a calling and chances are that if you are on our site, you are drawn to this career.

But is it right for you?

Let's take a look at the firefighter job description and duties to see if this job is right for you!


Firefighter Job Description:

What Do Firefighters Do?​

Perhaps you have heard stories of veteran firefighters who risked their lives to save people or protect property.

Being a firefighter is dangerous and it requires bravery.

But even more, it requires hours of training and the ability to reason under extreme pressure.

Here's the deal...

​As a firefighter, you wear many hats.

We often think of firefighters extinguishing fires, but they must be prepared to respond to any emergency situation.

These firefighter duties and responsibilities fall under the job description:

  • Putting out structure fires
  • Responding to brush fires
  • Car accidents
  • Natural disasters
  • Medical emergencies
  • Water rescues
  • Hazardous materials incidents

You may cut open a care or help clean up after a call in the course of your day.

Non-emergency duties include helping install car seats and giving fire-safety presentations.

Firefighters work with people.

​Rendering emergency medical services and first aid is common.

Firefighters gather information in order to deploy appropriate resources.

You may have to speak to people who are not used to working in emergency conditions.

As a first responder, you'll learn to remain calm and focused regardless of the situation.

Much of a firefighter's day consists of cleaning, inspecting, and making minor repairs to equipment.

Engine bays are kept in spotless condition.

The clean environment is essential for you to get geared up and onto the truck or ambulance safely and quickly.

What are the Firefighter Job Requirements?

​Here are some of the minimum firefighter job requirements...

1.  To apply, you need at least a high school diploma or a GED and a clean background check.

2.  An associate degree in fire science is a bonus.

3.  Different states and municipalities have their own programs to train you to their specifications.

4.  Firefighting requires strength and endurance

You may have to carry up to 75 pounds of gear while climbing ladders and flights of stairs, lift bulky items, or crawl into tight spaces.

Physical fitness is essential.

5.  The firefighter job outlook is in high demand, but the process for becoming a paid firefighter is competitive.

6.  Volunteer firefighting experience is an excellent way to stand out.

Some volunteer departments have junior firefighter programs for those of you who have the call early in life.​

Relevant experience is not limited to volunteer firefighting.

7.  Military service demonstrates a willingness to follow orders, perform under stress, and be part of a team.

Fire companies have a rank structure similar to the armed forces.

Almost any experience can have relevance too.

Taking advantage of these opportunities shows a selection committee that you have a track record of success in this type of work.

This is crazy...

When applying, use the firefighter job description for resume reference.

This will help you hone in on what that particular department is looking for.

You can typically get a copy of it from the Human Resources Department.​

Firefighter Responsibilities  

If your application is accepted, then you go through an extensive training program, the fire academy.

While the content of each program varies, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides a list of codes and standards for training.​

Your career trajectory and the needs of the Department will dictate which areas you'll focus on in training.

Fire academies can take 3-6 months or 600 hours to complete but may last longer if you're obtaining additional certifications.

But here's the kicker...

Firefighters are often trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).

This enables you to run ambulance calls and assist Paramedics on the scene.

This dual certification process requires additional hours.

​These programs are designed to prepare you for the variety of emergency situations that you'll encounter.

A typical day includes physical training, reading, classroom studies, and tests.

The firefighter career requirements have high standards and must be met.

Drills and hands on experience for each type of emergency are essential components of training.

After completing fire school, you'll engage in training and certification activities on a regular basis throughout your career.​

What Are the Duties of a Firefighter?

You might be wondering what are the duties of a firefighter?

Shifts lengths vary, but the most common is 24 hours on and 48 hours off.

During a 24 hour shift, firefighters live at the station.  You'll cook and eat your meals, sleep, shower, exercise, drill, and await the next call.

Some emergencies require you to work overtime.

Many firefighting jobs come with paid time off, but you're never guaranteed to get off work on a holiday.

Emergencies have no regard for meals and sleep, schedules, or holidays.

What's the bottom line?

Firefighters know that when the call comes, they must drop everything and go.

At all times, firefighters represent their Department.

Your appearance is a reflection of your professionalism.

Here's an example of a Department's grooming policy:

  • Jewelry may have to be taken off or covered to prevent injury
  • Beards are out of the questions and mustaches can't interfere with the seal on your air mask.
  • You should also be able to conceal tattoos under your uniform
  • Hair length should not extend below the collar

Firefighter salary varies depending on the Department, years of service, and certifications.

Average pay hovers between $32,000 and $54,000 per year.

Paid time off, sick leave, health insurance, and retirement plans are often part of the firefighter's job benefit package.

You may not become wealthy as a firefighter, but you can make a reasonable living.

The real wealth comes from the experiences that you'll have in this career.


If you're looking for an exciting career that makes an impact on others in your community, then firefighting might be a good fit for you.

No two days will be the same.

The average person runs away from emergencies but firefighters run towards them.

They do this armed with life saving knowledge and a selfless willingness to help those in need.

If the firefighter job description and duties sounds exciting to you, start your journey now!

And please share this with people who you feel may be interested in becoming a firefighter.​


1.  Cincinnati Firefighter Job Duties

2.  ​Springfield Firefighter Job Description

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Jim Connelly

The Founder of Public Safety Elite, I'm a proud member of the Fire Service, a dedicated husband to a wonderful wife, proud father of a beautiful young lady, and passionate about Public Safety for a fulfilling career!

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