Firefighter Working Conditions
Fire Fighter Working Conditions
In city environments, when on duty firefighters will spend most of their time on duty at the fire stations. The conditions at the fire station vary widely but generally include a bunk room for sleeping and a mess area for eating. Since many shifts run twenty-four hours, places to eat and sleep are vital to the proper functioning of the firefighting team. In rural or country areas, and those with more volunteer teams, members may not stay at the station but only arrive when scheduled to or in the event of an unplanned emergency.
Actual working conditions include dangerous exposure to heat, smoke, structures and buildings with a lack of integrity, poisonous or other chemical hazards, and the potential for vehicular accidents. Adding to the dangers are the long hours worked and the potential for a lack of sleep to interfere with decision making or proper action in the face of danger. Another consideration of the workplace is the need for constant vigilance, meaning firefighters (especially younger or more junior members) are not guaranteed weekends or holidays. Schedules vary although a common one is twenty-four hours on, followed by forty-eight hours off. While the work is hard and the hours long, there is no job more rewarding than that of a firefighter.