A career as a fire fighter involves a number of aspects such as physical strength, endurance and mental strength. As a fire fighter, you are bound to face great responsibilities and also encounter difficult challenges. At times, body strength and determination aren’t enough; and no matter how much you train as a fire fighter, if you lack essential personal fire fighter qualities, your performance and overall success may suffer.
When you go for an interview as a fire fighter applicant, recruiters will not only look for physical traits, strength, endurance and flexibility; but also your personal qualities. These personal qualities are generally known as the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs). Your personality reflects your work ethics. It shows how much you love and value your job of helping other people in jeopardy. So, apart from the physical exam, you will be assessed based on your outlook in life and personal character traits. Therefore, it is important that you understand what are some of the most common characteristics of firefighters:
1. Demonstrate an obligation to Integrity and Diversity
This essentially means that as a firefighter, you should be able to treat all people impartially, whether at the work place or within the community. You also need to be aware of your community. A competent firefighter should always maintain an open approach when dealing with people of diverse backgrounds. You should also be willing to accept other people’s differences such as gender, social background, disability, age, physical appearance, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Firefighters are also expected to maintain the relevant ideals, be candid, and also be responsible for their own actions. You should be ready to challenge any unbecoming behavior, as long as it is inconsistent with the principles of the Fire Service.
2. Always open to change
The Fire Service is always changing. As with any establishment that has a desire to constantly develop and improve, change is inevitable. In order for that change to be realized effectively, firefighters must accept and be accommodating of it. All great firefighters must understand that there is need for change before applying for the role. In the course of your career as a firefighter there will be numerous changes and working practices that you will need to uphold. Working practices must change as safety procedures, technology and equipment improve.
The physical burdens of firefighting are crystal clear. Firefighters usually lift and move very heavy equipment. At times, they have to carry people during rescue operations. Typically, they do all of this while wearing heavyweight shielding gear and breathing devices. Resting is often simply not possible during emergencies. Apart from being in excellent physical condition, firefighters need an attitude of determination and hardiness. This is what will help you to make use of your physical abilities to push through difficulties and to endure in the heart of grim situations to save lives and property.
4. Demonstrate a certain degree of confidence and flexibility
As a firefighter, you will at some point attend some tough episodes. Some of these instances will test your emotional stability, physical strength, not to mention your ability to stay calm when everything else around you is going wrong. As other people leave burning buildings, you will be going in, employing your skills and equipment to save property and life. Thus, with all of this in mind, you need to always stay cool and in control of your emotions and especially when emergency situations arise.
Firefighters must always remember their training and learn to concentrate with the task at hand in spite of all the confusion and panicking around. Even when things don’t go according to plan, firefighters must get the job done and learn from their mistakes later on.
5. Have the ability to work with other people
You can’t work alone as a firefighter. You must be able to work as a team. The size of the team will vary, depending on several factors such as the nature of the assignment in hand. However, firefighters always work in teams ranging from 2-20 people. Hence, being able to work effectively as a team member is crucial for the job.
In order for a team to work well and competently, its members need to have a positive relationship. You don’t have to personally like each other, but you need to have a good and concrete working relationship. You won’t always work with members of your fire brigade; you will meet many different teams including Police and Ambulance crews. Wherever your superiors find it appropriate to post you, you will need to be in a position to calm and reassure members of the public.
When you work as a team, you need to always be mindful of the wider team goals. For instance, when given a task that needs executing in short notice, you need to be competent enough to deliver appropriately. Always be on the ready.
It is also very important that you represent the Fire Service positively wherever you go. Obviously, you are definitely proud to work as a firefighter and that should come across in your everyday work. The Fire Service has a vital and esteemed image to keep and it is your job as a firefighter to maintain it.
Others important characteristics include:
- Being able to communicate effectively
- Being an apt problem solver
- Being conscious of situations around you
- Showing some level of commitment to excellence
The reason why firefighter personal traits are very vital is that unlike tests and other forms of training, personal traits cannot be acquired in a short period of time. In most cases, personality traits must begin earlier on within an individual. When you absorb these distinct and honorable traits first, the mental and physical aspects of the job will certainly follow. Therefore, leading to an effective and superior performance. When it comes to serving others with lots of dedication, Fire Brigades only want what’s best; and for this reason, personal quality assessment is taken very seriously and followed to the letter.