- CRITTER TALK
Firefighting is one of the most respected professions in the country, and being a firefighter is about accepting challenges and being prepared for them. If you’re training to be a firefighter or you are a firefighter, you must be a safety expert so that you can do your job and keep doing it.
Safety Standards and Procedures
The National Fire Protection Association and other organizations have created standards for safety, but not all departments follow these standards, making it important for firefighters, including those who are working to get their fire science bachelor degree, to have their own understanding of current standards.
Although they may vary, here are some basic rules of engagement for firefighter survival:
Safety Training Is Crucial
For firefighters, training is a must. In fact, firefighters spend as much time training as they do in service. Training is done in a variety of ways: in the classroom, online, in simulations and more. Because of the evolving nature of the work, training should be ongoing, something that firefighters do before and throughout their career.
Hydration Is Important
Firefighters are frequently exposed to extreme heat, which quickly dehydrates their bodies. Firefighters are taught to “put the wet stuff on the red stuff,” meaning drink plenty of liquid.
Working firefighters, on average, lose about 50 to 70 ounces of sweat in 30 to 45 minutes of firefighting activity. And even with as little as a two-percent depletion of body water, the ability to perform high-intensity activity can be greatly impaired. What this means is that you should limit your intake of caffeine and carbonated beverages and consume about half your body weight in ounces of water per day while you’re on duty.
Proper Firefighting Equipment and Tools
There are a variety of basic tools and equipment available to firefighters that can increase their chances of survival.
Safety Is Extremely Important for Firefighters
When you’re a firefighter, safety is crucial. Things can quickly become complicated, but you must constantly ask yourself, “Am I acting safely?” Overall, firefighting is an extremely rewarding and exciting career, but you must pay attention to your physical health and put safety above all else.
About the Author: Jerry Salazar is a writer and a firefighter. He is working to get his emergency management masters degree and hopes to one day teach fire safety to other firefighters.