“Not everybody would choose to be a firefighter or an ambulance driver. Not everyone wants to see the nasty bits of life.”

Guy Martin, Celebrity

Pros and Cons of Being a Fireman

advantages and disadvantages of being a firefighter

Becoming a firefighter is a childhood dream for many children around the world. However, once they become older, they will be ready to turn their dream into reality. If you currently consider becoming a firefighter, make sure to analyze all the pros and cons of being a firefighter in this article to get a better impression of how the job really looks like and whether you still want to do it or not.

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Advantages of Being a Firefighter

  1. You can be the hero for many people
  2. Firefighters help people out
  3. You can support your local community
  4. Firefighters will always be needed
  5. Your shift is over once you leave the fire department
  6. Your parents will be proud of you
  7. Firefighters don’t have to sit in the office all day long
  8. You will get some action sooner or later
  9. Firefighters stay fit
  10. Being a firefighter is more than a job
  11. You learn discipline as a firefighter
  12. Firefighters get plenty of responsibility
  13. Becoming a firefighter can give you a purpose in life
  14. Your colleagues will become your second family
  15. Rather low requirements to become a firefighter

You can be the hero for many people

One advantage of being a firefighter is that you will usually be the hero for people. Since you will rescue people and save their lives, they will be forever grateful for what you were doing for them. Moreover, you not only save lives, you also save the homes of many people. People often work their entire lives for financing and building a home.

However, if it burns down, they often will lose their home and often don’t have the money to buy a new one. Consequently, if you are the one who blows out the fire, people will thank you for that forever since you had been the one saving their homes and all their belongings.

Firefighters help people out

In general, you can also go to your job with a pretty good feeling since you know that you do good for others and act in an altruistic manner. In fact, being altruistic makes many people happier than money in the long run since they know that their work is really appreciated by others.

In turn, firemen will often stay motivated their whole career since they know that their work is valued and urgently needed in society.

You can support your local community

Especially if you still live in the neighborhood you have grown up in, you will know many people in this area and you will also have many friends there.

Consequently, in case of fires, you could be the one saving the lives of your friends and this can be a great motivation to do the best you can every day of your fireman career.

Firefighters will always be needed

By becoming a firefighter, you can also profit from pretty high job security. In fact, firefighters will always be needed and it will take quite a long time before firefighters could be entirely replaced by robots and other machines.

Moreover, due to climate change, the risk for natural disasters like increases dramatically, which in turn also implies that more firemen will be needed in the near future.

Consequently, you don’t have to worry to become unemployed as a firefighter since your work will be urgently needed for many decades.

Your shift is over once you leave the fire department

Another benefit of being a firefighter is that you will not have to do any work once you have finished your shift. In many other jobs, you will still be available for calls and other minor things you have to do once you have left the office.

However, as a firefighter, you don’t have to be available anymore after your shift is over and can enjoy your leisure without having to worry about being available to your boss.

Your parents will be proud of you

By becoming a firefighter, you will also have the opportunity to make your parents proud. While your parents will still worry about you, they will also tell all their friends about your career and what you are doing. In general, firemen have a pretty good reputation in society since they simply do an important job most people are too afraid to do. In turn, many people will really admire what you do for society.

Some shop owners will even provide you with free meals for your whole family to show their appreciation. All this will not only benefit yourself and your family, your family members will also be really proud of the important things you are doing for society and of the high social status you have achieved.

Firefighters don’t have to sit in the office all day long

Another upside of being a firefighter is that you also don’t have to sit in an office all day long. In many jobs, you sit in front of a computer for the whole workday and this can be quite annoying, especially if you are the type of person who also wants to do some physical work.

In fact, I know from personal experience how hard it can be to just do computer work in an office without the chance to get out of the office for a longer period of time.

Hence, if you are like me and you want to have a physical component in your daily working environment, becoming a firefighter can also help you in this regard.

You will get some action sooner or later

Firefighters also don’t have a boring life. In fact, they will always have some tension during their shift since they know that they could be called to serious accidents or other issues in just a few minutes.

Thus, a certain level of action is guaranteed if you become a firefighter and if you are a person who loves the thrill, this job could definitely provide you with more action than most other jobs do in the long run.

Firefighters stay fit

It is also in your responsibility to stay fit as a firefighter. Only then will you be able to perform in your job and to save lives as best as possible. Imagine you are out of shape and out of breath quite soon. You would not be able to help people who urgently rely on your help since you would simply not have the physical power to do so.

Consequently, becoming a firefighter also implies that you stay in shape. While this can be annoying and may require some work in the gym, chances are that your body will thank you for that later on in your life since fitness and health are heavily correlated.

Being a firefighter is more than a job

Many people also become firefighters since they want to make a positive impact and want to help others. In fact, for many people, being a firefighter is more than a job, it’s a religion. Some firefighters prioritize their jobs above everything else since they know how important it really is to help people out of their misery.

Thus, if you also have this inner motivation to help people and becoming a firefighter really is a passion for you, chances are that this career path can really fulfill you in the long run.

You learn discipline as a firefighter

As a firefighter, it is crucial that your team works as a unit and that everyone supports each other. In fact, mistakes of your colleagues could even cost your life and it is therefore important that everyone can rely on each other. This also implies that you have to learn discipline during your firefighter career since only then will processes work as smoothly as possible.

While this may sound exhausting, learning discipline is quite important, not only for your firefighter career but also to succeed in various other parts of your life.

Firefighters get plenty of responsibility

Once you become a firefighter, you will also get a lot of responsibility. In fact, it can be scary if you think about it. If you make mistakes, people could lose everything they have or may even die. While some people simply can’t deal with this fact and don’t want to have this high level of responsibility, others just live for it.

Thus, if you are a person who really wants to take on those important tasks and is not afraid to make horrible mistakes, you may have the right mindset for becoming a firefighter.

Becoming a firefighter can give you a purpose in life

If you currently struggle to find your purpose in life, it may be due to the fact that you still hunt money instead of happiness and meaning. In fact, I know many people who earn really good money but are quite miserable inside. The old saying that money can’t buy happiness is quite true and if you are just in your job for the money, chances are that you will get really frustrated over time.

Thus, if you are currently in this situation and don’t find any meaning in what you are doing, it might be time to quit your job and go for another career path like becoming a firefighter or a policeman since you could probably do much more good for others in those professions compared to your current job.

Your colleagues will become your second family

Since firefighters have to blindly rely on each other during their operations, your colleagues will soon become your second family. You will spend plenty of time together, go through difficult periods of your careers together and you will also save each other’s lives from time to time.

All those experiences will form strong bonds and many firemen even struggle to retire since they simply miss their time as a fireman and their colleagues so much.

Rather low requirements to become a firefighter

It is also not that difficult to become a fireman. If you meet certain fitness requirements and have an average physical constitution, chances are that you will be eligible to become a fireman.

Hence, overall requirements to become a firefighter are rather low and you don’t have to have excellent academic grades.

Much more important is passion for your profession and an inner motivation to save lives while putting your own life on the line.

Disadvantages of Being a Fireman

  1. Salaries of firefighters are rather low
  2. Firefighter is a dangerous job
  3. You work in rather unpleasant environments
  4. Pressure on firefighters can be enormous
  5. Mistakes can lead to catastrophic outcomes
  6. You will not be able to save everyone
  7. Firefighters often experience mental problems
  8. Being a firefighter implies irregular working hours
  9. Shifts can be quite long
  10. You may even have to work at nighttime as fireman
  11. Many firemen can’t unplug from work
  12. You see people losing all that they worked for their whole lives
  13. You will see desperation in peoples’ eyes
  14. Being a firefighter can be physically demanding
  15. Insomnia can be a problem
  16. Your family and friends will worry about you
  17. Can be problematic once you get older
  18. Especially hard if you have children

Salaries of firefighters are rather low

Although being a fireman has many important advantages, there are still some downsides related to this profession. For instance, one disadvantage of being a fireman is that firefighters only earn pretty low salaries. Of course, this also depends on the state you live in. However, most of the time, firefighters earn less than police officers or teachers.

Thus, especially if you want to have a big family and have to provide for your children, becoming a fireman can be problematic from a financial standpoint.

Firefighter is a dangerous job

Another problem with becoming a firefighter is that it is simply a pretty dangerous job. In fact, firefighters have one of the highest mortality rates among all professions. Many firemen die during their operations since there are often hidden dangers that can’t be evaluated properly.

Consequently, being a firefighter also implies risking your own life and if you are not willing to do that, chances are that you should search for a safer profession instead.

You work in rather unpleasant environments

As the name already tells, firefighters are often called to put out fires. However, with fire comes smoke and heat. This means that you will often have to work under extreme conditions and if you don’t wear proper protection and underestimate the risk, chances are that you will pass out due to the smoke and may die in the flames.

Even if you take all the protective measures seriously, you still have to work in pretty hot environments and this can be quite exhausting and can be an enormous burden for your body.

Pressure on firefighters can be enormous

You should also know that you will experience enormous pressure as a firefighter. People will lie their destiny in your hands and if you make mistakes, you may be responsible for people losing their lives. While some people love to have this high level of responsibility, the majority of us don’t want to have this huge emotional burden.

Imagine you make a mistake and a child has to die due to that. Chances are that you will never be able to forget that and that you will continue to blame yourself for the rest of your life.

Mistakes can lead to catastrophic outcomes

In general, every mistake that you make as a fireman can lead to catastrophic outcomes. This is not true for most other jobs. For instance, if you work in an office job and make some presentations, there will be no life depending on it. Thus, mistakes will not lead to fatalities and you could work in a more relaxed manner since you know that your mistakes will not have such a huge impact on the lives of others.

However, as a firefighter, you know that every mistake can cost lives and that mistakes also can cost your own life. Many people just can’t deal with those facts and you need to be a certain type of personality to become a firefighter due to the issues related to it.

You will not be able to save everyone

Even if you do the best you can, you will not be able to save everyone from the flames. In fact, sooner or later, odds will just be against you and you may even have to watch people dying in the flames without anything you could do about it.

Hence, make sure that you are mentally stable enough to accept this sad fact since a career as a fireman will mentally eat you up otherwise.

Firefighters often experience mental problems

In general, mental problems are rather common among firefighters. Since they experience so much pain during their careers, firemen often have a difficult time dealing with all those emotions and even after their career, some firemen still suffer from feelings of guilt due to the mistakes they made as active firemen.

Being a firefighter implies irregular working hours

Another downside of being a firefighter is that you have to work irregular hours. In fact, you will never know way in advance when you have to work and when you will have time off.

Schedules change quite frequently and you have to be rather flexible during your firefighter career regarding working times.

Shifts can be quite long

You will not only have to work irregular shifts, those shifts can also be ridiculously long. In fact, some firemen even have to work 48-hour shifts and everyone of us can imagine what level of torture this implies.

Moreover, working that long not only implies exhaustion, it also implies that concentration levels will decrease over time and that mistakes become more common. Hence, also your risk of making horrible mistakes increases as well.

You may even have to work at nighttime as fireman

Firefighters also have to work at nighttime on a regular basis. Working at nighttime is always stressful for our body and our brain and if you work at nighttime one week but at daytime another one, your sleeping rhythm may get out of control since you will confuse your brain quite a lot.

In turn, without proper sleep, you will become more vulnerable to diseases since your immune system may no longer work properly anymore and also your overall quality of life will be lower.

Many firemen can’t unplug from work

Firemen are also often not able to forget the horrible things they experienced in the past. Many firefighters report that they often have nightmares of past events. This can not only further decrease your quality of sleep, it can also cause a significant emotional burden since you will be confronted with those things even at the time you would be supposed to relax and to reload your batteries.

You see people losing all that they worked for their whole lives

For some operations, you will also simply arrive too late and will no longer be able to rescue peoples’ homes. In those cases, you just have to watch their houses burning down in front of your eyes without anything you can do about it while people will beg you to save all they worked for their whole lives.

You will see desperation in peoples’ eyes

During your career as a firefighter, you will also see many horrible things. This includes seeing how people lose their loved ones in fires. Quite often, you will be the one who has to give those people first emotional support and this can be quite tough, especially if you are not able to deal with the situation yourself in a proper manner.

Hence, firefighters need a pretty stable emotional mindset to deal with those extreme situations in a proper manner and you should be sure to have these characteristics to carry out this demanding job in the best possible manner.

Being a firefighter can be physically demanding

Being a firefighter can not only be emotionally demanding, it can also be physically exhausting. You will often have to work under extreme conditions and have to deal with pretty high air temperatures around you. You will sometimes also have to lift heavy stuff.

Consequently, firemen have to be quite fit and if you are not willing to work on yourself and to stay healthy and fit, chances are that this profession will not make you happy in the long run.

Insomnia can be a problem

Another big problem for firemen is insomnia. Since firefighters experience horrible things during their careers, they are often not able to unplug from what happened during their shift and those experiences will follow them in their dreams.

Many firemen even stay awake at nighttime and can’t sleep since they still think about what has gone wrong and how they could have saved more lives.

All this can lead to serious sleeping issues and to the resulting adverse consequences for our body and our brain.

Your family and friends will worry about you

Everyone knows that firefighters are at great risk to die during their operations sooner or later. Thus, your family and your friends will always worry about you since they know that they could get the message that you died every day.

Consequently, being a fireman can not only be emotionally challenging for you, it can also be emotionally exhausting for your loved ones who really care about you.

Can be problematic once you get older

While many people will be able to meet the fitness requirements for becoming a firefighter in their prime years, many people also struggle with this once they get older. In fact, our physical prime is in our 20s and 30s but once you hit the 40-year mark, chances are that your physical fitness will vastly decline.

Thus, many older firemen will simply no longer be able to work under extreme conditions and may have to retire or search for another occupation instead.

Especially hard if you have children

Being a firefighter can be especially hard once you have children. In fact, it can be emotionally challenging to leave your home and not knowing if you ever see your children again.

This will not only be mentally challenging for you, also your children will know about it once they get older and will often not want to let you go since they know what could happen.

You will also have a huge responsibility for your own family since you will often have to provide for them in a financial manner. If you die, your family may no longer be able to pay the bills.

Thus, once you have your own family, being a fireman can be rather problematic in various different ways.

Top 10 Being a Firefighter Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Firefighter ProsBeing a Firefighter Cons
Being a firefighter never gets boringBeing a firefighter can be dangerous
Firefighters will always be neededFirefighters often only get low salaries
Firefighters are heroes for many peopleYour family will worry about you
You can do good for othersFirefighters work under extreme conditions
Your parents will be proud of youWorking as fireman can be mentally challenging
You can find your purpose in lifePhysically exhausting profession
Firefighting is more than just a jobProblematic if you have children
Low requirements to become a firefighterInsomnia is quite common
Firemen stay fitFirefighters often suffer from mental issues
You don’t have to sit in an office all day longYou will have to work at nighttime

Should You Become A Firefighter?

Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a firefighter, it is on you to decide whether you still want to go this career path or if you want to go for other professions like being a police officer instead.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefighter

https://www.firerescue1.com/firefighter-training/articles/11-requirements-to-become-a-firefighter-FO0ZZpNdggP1GAmq/

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/firefighters.htm

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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