3 Unexpected Duties of a Firefighter
If you asked a young kid who dreamed of growing up to become a firefighter what he imagines a day in the life would be like, he might answer with some fantastical stories about riding around on the big red engine, running into and out of burning buildings, and being a local hero.
And while it’s true that those are important functions of a firefighter, there’s more to this important community service job than battling flames and screeching through town behind sirens and flashing lights. Firefighters play a pivotal role in the communities they serve, and that includes the following unexpected duties.
The “rescuing a kitten from a tree” is a popular children’s story trope, but it’s not a completely fictionalized version of events. Colorful kids’ books illustrate it as an easy-fix situation, and luckily the firefighter is there with a tall ladder! In reality though, the animal might be trapped in a dangerous situation, being neglected or abused by its owners, be a part of an illegal breeding or fighting operation, be trapped inside a burning or otherwise unsafe building, or any other manner of danger. Firefighters’ skills, training, and protective often translate to these situations.
Educate the Public
Firefighters have a responsibility to not only fight fires, but to contribute to fire prevention and increase fire safety as well. Firefighters often visit schools, community centers, businesses, and even families at home upon specific request to discuss fire prevention and safety. Firefighters can explain what a building’s risk factors are, and help create an evacuation plan that helps everyone get out as safely and quickly as possible. These visits are especially important in providing young children their first fire safety education and can be a driving factor in a safe and thorough evacuation—or even the total prevention of a fire in the first place.
Not every fire department receives adequate funding from the governmental budget, but vehicle, equipment, and firehouse maintenance all require money. Add also supplies for firefighters on duty and special projects occasionally needing funding. Firefighters often organize and participate in their own fundraisers to keep operations and business as usual.