How To Become An Aerial Firefighter?

Posted in Career Blog

Find the thrill of danger and the satisfaction of saving human lives, as well as contributing to the protection of your country’s forest and coast lines a challenging and rewarding career?
Then becoming an Aerial Firefighter is a good career option for you! Read on to find out about the qualifications and training required to become one:

Step 1: Research the job profile and prepare yourself for its demands
You need to be mentally as well as physically prepared to meet the demands of job of Aerial Firefighters so research their job well. Apart from a high level of wild land fire fighting abilities, the job profile may span deployment on the scene of disaster, parachuting skills, dropping off an aircraft right over the scene of fire etc. You may also have to deliver fire retardant supplies over the burn areas. Thus, improving your fitness level by joining a gym, taking up sporty activities that boost your stamina and doing tasks that make you mentally agile are some ways of preparing yourself for the training to follow.

Step 2: Acquire Certifications and Relevant Training
There are a series of certifications and a fair amount of training time you will need to complete in order to become a qualified professional. Two main areas include getting a Firefighter I certification and successfully completing Wildland fire training.

Step 3: Decide your Area of Specialization
The Aerial Firefighting unit has many divisions and to become a successful AF you need to determine your area of specialization to excel at your job. Take additional courses for excelling in your chosen division so this focus on career enhancement takes you the distance. Some of these divisions for an AF specialization include getting a job as a pilot, a smoke jumper, a technician, a rappeller and a safety officer.

Step 3: Begin your Initiation into Aerial Firefighting with Volunteer work
To get a feel of what the job entails, it is a good idea to contact your local fire department (you can also enquire with your city’s public safety center) for a Wildland firefighting program they have and what the criteria for the available courses is. Most towns have a volunteer department that serve as good learning centers for members to get first-hand knowledge of the tasks of an AF, which helps them decide if they’d be a good fit for the State’s Fire Academy after this basic training is complete. Eventually though, you need to be accepted by a state’s fire academy and successfully complete formal certificate courses for Aerial Firefighting to go professional.

Step 4: Consider Advanced Courses for Greater Job Scope
Aerial Firefighting training includes learning basic firefighting skills, wildland firefighting, piloting (if pertinent) in addition to parachuting or rappelling, but taking advanced courses will aid you in earning higher position with better monetary compensation for the job. After sitting for the National Firefighter level I test (practical and written), the basic qualification for an Aerial firefighter’s job, appear for a level II certification for improving your job prospects.

Step 5: Getting a Job as an Aerial Firefighter
Go the local route first to get your feet firmly on new ground – scan local newspapers and check with your city’s fire department for any open positions post acquiring your level I certification. Apply online at job portals for wider scope of jobs, or even sign up with an HR consultancy to do the sourcing of best job openings for Aerial firefighters for you.

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