Firefighters are Resilient



To describe a firefighter as being resilient is to say that he/she is able to "bounce back."

There are many occasions in the life of a fire fighter that will require them to overcome great obstacles. A good example of this is during the extrication of a trapped victim.

Physical Demands

Often times when responding to a motor vehicle accident, fire crews will be faced with the difficult task of removing a victim who has become entangled in the wreckage.

At first glance, it may seem as if there is no way to free the patient from the twisted metal that used to be a car. However, after removing the roof, popping the doors and pulling the dash back, the patient is eventually extricated from the vehicle.

It is only through sheer determination and resilience on the part of the firefighters that the patient is saved.

Another example of the importance of a firefighter being resilient is on the fire scene.

Since there are numerous goals that must be achieved at the scene of a house fire, the physical demands that are placed on the crew are tremendous.

In order to extinguish the fire, hose lines must be stretched from the fire engine or apparatus to a point where the water can be applied to the seat of the fire.

Flaking the hose out while wearing full turn out gear and a breathing apparatus is no easy task. Then, once the lines are charged and filled with water, the task becomes even more difficult.

Dragging a charged (think heavy) 1 3/4 hose line through the front door, up a flight of stairs and down the hallway is a major work out. Keep in mind that all of this is done while crawling on your hands and knees in order to stay below the super heated gases.

Invariably, the advancement of the hose will come to a halt whenever the hand line gets caught on an obstruction. This delay in advancement usually occurs whenever a turn is made such as going through a doorway or down a hall.

It is at this point that the officer or the firefighter on the nozzle will holler, "Give me some slack!"

If pulling on the hose does not immediately free it, one of the firefighters must follow the line back to where it is stuck. Since the smoke limits visibility to next to zero, the fire fighter must feel their way along the hose line until they find the snag.

Keep in mind that all of this must be done as quickly as possible to limit the amount of damage from the smoke and fire.

Even though advancing the hose and constantly freeing it up from snags is physically taxing, the real work is just beginning.

As the saying goes, "We have yet begun to fight!"

In this case, it is fighting the fire itself.

The closer that the fire crews advance to the fire, the hotter it gets. In addition, the bigger the fire, the hotter the fire.

The amount of fire involvement will be the main determining factor in how long the crew must stay in and fight the fire. Obviously, the more rooms that are on fire, the greater the work that is required.

Once one room is "knocked down" the hose line must be advanced to the next. If the fire has progressed to the attic then there is even more work involved.

Needless to say, fighting a house fire is a tremendous amount of work. When you think about all the effort required just to put the fire out, you realize that a firefighter has to give it everything he's got.

And then some.

After the fire has been extinguished there is still salvage and overhaul that is required. And don't forget that all that hose that was used to fight the fire must be cleaned and loaded back on the engine.

Needless to say, in order to accomplish the goal of extinguishing a house fire, the firefighter must indeed be resilient.

Now, if that fire occurred early in the shift, there is still the chance that there may be more fires before you are able to go home.

Not to mention a possible wreck with entrapment.

The possibility of having to respond to more calls without adequate rest is all the more reason that a firefighter must be resilient.

from the smoke and fire.

Even though advancing the hose and constantly freeing it up from snags is physically taxing, the real work is just beginning.

As the saying goes, "We have yet begun to fight!"

In this case, it is fighting the fire itself.

The closer that the fire crews advance to the fire, the hotter it gets. In addition, the bigger the fire, the hotter the fire.

The amount of fire involvement will be the main determining factor in how long the crew must stay in and fight the fire. Obviously, the more rooms that are on fire, the greater the work that is required.

Once one room is "knocked down" the hose line must be advanced to the next. If the fire has progressed to the attic then there is even more work involved.

Needless to say, fighting a house fire is a tremendous amount of work. When you think about all the effort required just to put the fire out, you realize that a firefighter has to give it everything he's got.

And then some.

After the fire has been extinguished there is still salvage and overhaul that is required. And don't forget that all that hose that was used to fight the fire must be cleaned and loaded back on the engine.

Needless to say, in order to accomplish the goal of extinguishing a house fire, the firefighter must indeed be resilient.

Now, if that fire occurred early in the shift, there is still the chance that there may be more fires before you are able to go home.

Not to mention a possible wreck with entrapment.

The possibility of having to respond to more calls without adequate rest is all the more reason that a firefighter must be resilient.

Emotional Toll


Besides the physical aspects that require a firefighter to be resilient, there are also the mental requirements as well.

Fire fighters are always subject to encountering situations that are emotionally taxing.

These stressful situations can be anything from trying to save someone who is in cardiac arrest to removing a badly burned body from a house fire.

The emotional and psychological toll that these scenarios cause varies from person to person. Some people are able to deal with adversity better than others. Regardless, it is a huge amount of stress.

However, due to the nature of the job, the fire fighter is often times required to keep working under stressful conditions.

An example of this is that of just getting back in service from working a fatality at a car wreck and then having to respond to a possible drowning of an 8-year-old child.

It is in situations like these where it is important for a firefighter to be resilient. They must be able to give everything they have in order to try and save the child.

In other words, they must have the ability to bounce back and keep going.

As you can see from the above examples, one of the key characteristics of a firefighter is that they are resilient.

The demands on the members of the fire service are very great. Today's firefighter must endure both physical as well as emotional exertion. At times, the stress from the job can seem overwhelming.

In addition, the opportunity to rest and recuperate is not always readily available.

However, if the firefighter is resilient, they will be able to bounce back and finish the task.

Check out these additional firefighter character traits:

Honest
Resourceful
Flexible
Properly Motivated
After you have read all of the above character traits including why it is important for a firefighter to be resilient, you can click here to return to the How to Become a Firefighter page.

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