YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are over 1 million firefighters in the United States, focused on saving lives.
The National Fire Protection Association says fire departments responded to 33 million calls in 2015.
It’s a job where training is vital, but opportunity awaits.
If you want to be a firefighter in Ohio, the law dictates a mandatory minimum training you must complete.
“It’s pretty physical,” said Austintown Firefighter Kelsey Musch.
Musch said firefighters must complete over 400 hours of training, starting with EMT training. Training includes Fire 1 and Fire 2 courses.
The training can last anywhere from a couple months to over a year. It’s designed to introduce trainees to situations they may encounter on the job.
The job is about more than just shooting water on fires but running into burning buildings for rescues, cutting cars to get people out and being part of a search team or water rescue.
“Being an adrenaline junkie, I think that’s why most of us do it, and in the meantime, you get to help people,” said Youngstown Firefighter Jon Racco.
Firefighting is a public service. It requires extreme dedication, because not only are you saving lives, but you don’t want to put yourself or others in any danger.
It’s mentally taxing and physically demanding, Racco said.
“Requires you to wear all the gear,” he said. “You have to be physically fit, and it’s a trying job. It’s not easy, that’s for sure.”
The Mahoning County Career and Technical Center has a training program for Fire 1 and Fire 2 — both required for the job — plus there are other places to get the training.
For more information on a career in firefighting, visit OhioMeansJobs’ website.