Who wants to be a fireman?

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Open houses at the fire station let kids try on the profession.

Most little boys (and even some little girls) at one point in their lives have picked fireman as a career path. Too bad they changed their minds as there is a current need for skilled professional firefighters.

To become even volunteer/reserve firefighters, applicants require the proper training and must meet other standards.

“In order to be a volunteer for Superior Fire Department, you must complete an application and turn it in to town hall,” said Superior Fire Chief Todd Pryor. “Prospective applicants must pass physical and written tests, as well as an oral board. Out of town volunteers must have certification in EMT basic as a minimum to apply. In town volunteers must acquire this certification within one year and Firefighter 1 and 2 within two years.”

Before one can begin training, an applicant must meet the basic minimum requirements of being at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, have or be able to obtain a driver’s license and be in good mental and physical health.

The first course will be in EMT (Emergency Medical Technology) involving basic medical knowledge for assisting people at fires. Some fire departments may require EMT certification before one can apply as a volunteer/reserve or to train as a firefighter.

Next take courses in Fire Science, involving the causes and types of fires, along with the best ways to extinguish fires based on their origins. At this time, also practice for the physical ability test that will determine if you can proceed to advanced firefighter training. The Tucson Fire Department offers a preparation guide that spells out what applicants need to prove. The test comprises eight tasks, such as stair climb and hose drag, that are completed while wearing a 50-pound vest — the same weight as a firefighters’ breathing apparatus.

On passing the physical ability test, applicants can take courses on all the skills firefighters use, including how to drive fire trucks, using hoses, using equipment that helps firemen get people out of burning buildings, and other necessary techniques. Such training also includes more intensive physical training, advanced emergency medical procedures and the fundamentals of firefighting tactics.

On graduation, trainees are ready for employment at any fire department in the area. And jobs are almost certain as there is a shortage in trained fire personnel.

Firefighting training is offered by Mesa Community College and other schools in the area. Cost of training is currently about $1,500.

James Hodl (25 Posts)

James J. Hodl is a career journalist who has worked for newspapers, magazines and trade journals. A graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, Hodl began his career as a reporter with the Palatine (IL) Herald and the Morton Grove (IL) Review before becoming editor of the trade publication Appliance Service News. In recent years, Hodl has had articles published in Consumers Digest, Good Housekeeping, Home Remodeling, Kitchens & Baths and Salute; and has contributed to trade publications serving the home furnishings, restaurant and casino markets. A native of Chicago, Hodl relocated to San Tan Valley in 2013.

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