Fire and Safety

Fire and Safety

Firefighting is the act of attempting to prevent the spread of and extinguish significant unwanted fires in buildings, vehicles, woodlands, etc. A firefighter suppresses fires to protect lives, property and the environment.

Firefighters typically undergo a high degree of technical training. This involves structural firefighting and wildland firefighting. Specialized training includes aircraft firefighting, shipboard firefighting, aerial firefighting, maritime firefighting, and proximity firefighting.

One of the major hazards associated with firefighting operations is the toxic environment created by combustible materials. The four major risks are smoke, oxygen deficiency, elevated temperatures, and poisonous atmospheres. Additional hazards include falls and structural collapse that can exacerbate the problems encountered in a toxic environment. To combat some of these risks, firefighters carry self-contained breathing equipment.

The first step in a firefighting operation is reconnaissance to search for the origin of the fire and to identify the specific risks.

Fires can be extinguished by water, fuel or oxidant removal, or chemical flame inhibition.

Firefighting requires skills in fire suppression, rescue, and hazardous materials mitigation. Firefighters must also have, or be able to acquire, knowledge of department organizations, operations, and procedures and the district or city street system they will have to negotiate in order to perform their duties.

They must meet minimum physical fitness standards and learn various firefighting duties within a reasonable period.

Examples are:

  • Building construction
  • Fire dynamics
  • Firefighting PPE
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Ropes and knots
  • Ground ladders
  • Forcible entry
  • Structural search and rescue
  • Tactical ventilation
  • Fire hose operations and streams
  • Fire suppression
  • Overhaul, property conservation, and scene preservation
  • Building materials, structural collapse, and effects of fire suppression
  • Technical rescue support and vehicle extrication operations
  • Foam fire fighting, liquid fires, and gas fires
  • Hazardous materials response