Thinking about a fire service career? Read this first.

Lt. Michael Swiman of the Wake Forest (NC) Fire Department says there's on better career than a career with the fire service.

By Lt.  Michael Swiman
Wake Forest (NC) Fire Department

Looking back at the classes and training I have done this year, I have had a lot of civilians ask me, “How do I get involved in the fire service?” My recommendation for anyone that wants a career in public safety is to come see it first hand for yourself. Ask questions and find out what the job actually entails.

I often invite civilians to come to the training grounds when I am teaching at an academy so they can get a first-hand look at the training and rigors that the recruits endure to succeed in their future careers. You can also go to your local department and ask to ride along or job shadow for a day. For people who do not really know what firehouse life is like, this will give them a small glimpse of one of the greatest — if not the greatest  — profession there is.

We recently concluded our annual firefighter recruit academy at a local community college, where I am one of the instructors. This academy brought many new challenges this year. The age range was from fresh out of high school at 18 years old to a seasoned military veteran with several tours overseas who was shot down out of a helicopter at 38 years old. This dynamic group didn’t really bond well until the last half of the academy, when they finally took to heart what this job entails. Their performance and knowledge grew as they were introduced to many of their predecessors who have paved the road they will shortly go down in their local communities.

I try to bring this enthusiasm and love of the job to the classes I teach both for my local department and when teaching across the state at different colleges and academies. Like I stated earlier, there is no greater job anywhere than working in the fire service. Tradition, values, family and brotherhood from within your own department or at any fire station you visit, you’re ALWAYS family.

Stay safe, remember those before you and never stop learning.

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