The position of a fireman is a very physical, time-consuming job which requires a great deal of dedication. When not serving as heroes in the public eye, firemen are also responsible for upkeep, both of themselves and their equipment. Not only are they required to keep their trucks, hoses, and other equipment clean, they are also responsible for ongoing training and drills. During their so-called "down time," they rehearse dangerous and life-threatening situations and train for various procedures, both preventative and after the fact.
When true emergencies arise, things become dangerous. Firefighters are expected to risk their lives to go into dangerous, flaming buildings; working as part of a team, quick reaction time is required as they race to the truck and then the residence, followed by hooking up the hose, setting the ladder, and all else that is required of the situation. If necessary, they must actually go inside the building and use their training to save anyone trapped inside, all while fighting the effects of smoke inhalation, weakening structures, and the fire itself.
Not only do firemen risk their lives for their jobs, but they spend a great deal of time doing so. Due to the nature of the work, firefighters are needed on a 24/7 basis, and many do 24-hour shifts with typical workweeks of up to 56 hours. It is only after the 56th hour that a firefighter legally enters "overtime."
Aside from ongoing training, educational requirements aren't necessarily strict for the position. The minimum is a high school diploma or equivalent, though EMT certification and fire academy training are also required. Written and physical exams must also be completed. The pay for the job can vary greatly depending on the size of the city and station; fortunately, firefighting is a service that all cities need, large and small alike, so there is a degree of flexibility in where they can work.
Extinguish and control fires using shovels or water pumps.
Educate the general public on fire safety and prevention.
Maintain contact with emergency dispatch at all times and request additional resources as needed.
Coordinate with other firefighters as a member of the crew.