FIREFIGHTERS AND EBOLA: 10 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY

ebola and firefighters

UPDATED EDITORS NOTE: This article was written in 2014 at the height of the Ebola outbreak in Africa, when several cases popped up in the United States. Most medical and first responder agencies quickly realized they were unprepared to address the potential of a disease with the rapid spread and high mortality rate of Ebola.

During the Ebola outbreak of 2014, most medical and first responder agencies reactively scrambled to educate their members about the disease, gather appropriate equipment to safe guard members during potential responses, and set new policies to deal with a potential local outbreak.

The article below is focused on Ebola, specifically from a firefighter/first responder perspective. Even though the Ebola cases in the United States and elsewhere (outside of Africa) were contained, the article will give you a good background into Ebola and first responder agency’s concerns when dealing with it. You are strongly encouraged to read this article, because the information and precautions can be applied to other infectious diseases you will encounter this flu season and beyond.

A new, more general article on infectious diseases is currently being written and will be published soon. Some of the information will overlap, but knowing we will soon be full-swing into flu season, both articles will be worth reviewing and discussing with your crews to keep you and your families safe.

Be prepared, take precautions and stay safe.
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CANCER: THE INVISIBLE FIREFIGHTER KILLER

Firefighter Cancer

Cancer is a terrifying diagnosis and an illness that has recently been revealed to pose a great threat to members of the fire service. As firefighters we are exposed to significant carcinogenic chemicals and vapors on a daily basis. These exposures are taking their toll.

Recent studies have indicated that firefighters have twice the risk of developing certain cancers when compared to the general population. The statistics are scary, but this information has brought light to the risks and provided direction for preventing and avoiding exposure to dangerous carcinogens.

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THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY OF CAMERAS IN THE FIRE SERVICE

firefighter helmet cameraLet’s face it, in todays world, cameras are everywhere. Between the news media and reality television, people are addicted to capturing and sharing every facet of life. There are plenty of great benefits that stem from this; however, there are also potential concerns we should all be thinking about, especially as Firefighters. 

These days nearly everyone carries a cell phone with some type of photo and video capability. It’s not uncommon to look up from a rescue or fire scene and see a line of people holding their cell phones in front of them capturing the chaos and along with it, everything you are doing. Couple that with the growing number of surveillance cameras in homes and businesses and it’s not far-fetched to assume our actions are always being caught on camera. [Read more…]

FIREFIGHTER PHYSICAL ABILITY TESTS

Firefighter Physical Ability TestsFirefighting is a very physical job. Fitness is not only a big part of the job, it’s a pass/fail consideration in the hiring phase. The importance of maintaining a healthy, fitness based lifestyle can’t be over emphasized.

Firefighters are physically taxed on a regular basis, and the potential for extreme physical exertion is always present. Modern firefighters are not only expected to be physically ready to respond to any emergency at a moments notice, their very lives may depend on their physical ability.
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FIRE CHIEFS INTERVIEW

Fire Department Chief Collar Brass in Red and GoldThe fire department Chiefs Interview is one of the last steps in the getting your Firefighter job offer. This interview is different from your previous interviews. Typically, the Chiefs Interview is a less formal one-on-one interview between you and the hiring chief.

The Chief conducting your interview will want to get a feel for you, an idea of who you are and how you’ll fit into the organization. He or she will be forming a personal opinion of you: whether or not you will be a good fit in the department, whether or not you’ll represent the department in a positive, professional manner, and whether or not they would personally enjoy working with you.
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FIREFIGHTER JOB INTERVIEWS

Firefighter Interview 650 x 329Interviews will ultimately rank the Firefighter candidates. Of course you have to pass the written exam and basic physical agility test before you get to move on to the interview process, but once there, your ultimate success will be determined by your performance in the firefighter interviews.

There are three basic firefighter interviews you can expect during the hiring process and your progression to each subsequent one is determined by passing the previous one. The three critical firefighter interviews are the personnel interview, the background interview and the Chief’s interview. [Read more…]

FIREFIGHTER TESTS

You must not only pass the written exam, but you must score very well on it to advance in the process.

Most modern fire departments begin their candidate selection process with a written test. While fire department tests do vary, most of them have similarities that candidates can plan and prepare for. Most municipal fire departments operate under some form of local government, usually city, county or state, so passage of a civil service exam is often required.
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THE FIREFIGHTER HIRING PROCESS

Firefighters 650 x 333The Firefighter hiring process can be long and complex. There are several phases to the hiring process and unfortunately many aspiring candidates have no idea where to begin or how to improve their chances for success. If you are serious about a career in the fire service, you need to meticulously plan for each phase of the hiring process.
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WANT TO BECOME A FIREFIGHTER? START HERE.

Firefighter career start 650 x 350Competition for Firefighter positions is extremely high. Your success depends on having a clear plan and preparing for each step along the way. This site and specifically the section under “Hiring Process” will give you a very good idea of the various hiring phases and what to expect during each.
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DO YOU HAVE THE HEART OF A FIREFIGHTER?

If you don’t meet these criteria, you should not even consider a career in the Fire Service.

Many candidates pursuing a career in the Fire Service focus on taking classes, gaining experience or trying to learn the “right” answers to test and interview questions; however, if you don’t truly think about and understand the core essence of being a firefighter, you could be wasting your time pursuing the wrong career. [Read more…]