The Art of Firefighting around the World
The word firefighting makes one think of fire and martial arts although there is no room for martial arts while fighting a fire. Fighting a fire is not only an art but also requires a lot of skill. Those who attempt it come out successful and certified as ready for the job of a firefighter. A firefighter is a man or a woman who is skilled in the art of fighting a fire and they are the ones we call when people or even animals are to be rescued from a fire. Most of us are not aware of the difficulties in this line of work. We do have a broad idea of what it entails but the details of what a firefighter undergoes during training and fighting a fire in reality are not known to many. Firefighters fight fire and they go through a lot day after day, week after week so they are able to do their job successfully. After all, lives are dependent on them.
This is one profession that is known worldwide whether in towns or rural areas or even the outback. Places which are prone to outbreaks of fire will have a firefighter unit stationed there. The types of firefighters however, are different. There are the professional paid fighters who have undertaken formal training to fight fire, who live and work at the fire station and run it. Then there are the volunteers who are referred to as “call” or “retained” and they get paid if they do fight a fire. These are not full time firefighters and they are called only during emergencies when more hands are required. They are fully trained firefighters and they can take charge of fighting a fire when called upon to do so. There are some who run their career brigade because of the training they have done. This system of firefighting and its administrative aspects are more or less common to a lot of countries.
Germany is one country where the job of firefighting is a very serious profession. Every town has a volunteer fire department along with regular fire services where the professional fighters are paid for their job. Of course these types are lesser in number than the volunteer services and in most places, it is the volunteer service that handles fires most of the time. This is true of cities also where the knowledge levels of both professional firefighters and volunteers are on par. Of all the emergency workers, these firefighter volunteers are not only the most important but they might even outnumber the professionals although they are always referred to as volunteers.
In Venezuela, some firefighters are called University Firefighters and as the name suggests they are trained specifically for the campus and the universities. Their job is confined to within the campus boundaries and areas that are part of the university property. Venezuela is very serious about education and this is true of the fire department also. The university board or the administrative heads are very encouraging and the fire department is always looking for new ideas and technology which will make them more efficient at their job. About eighty percent of the squad are degree holders from the same university and the remaining are the ones working their way towards getting the degree. It is this education that ensures that the level of intelligence within the department is high and it is proof that higher education applies to every aspect of life.
In Australia there are two types of firefighters. The first is known as the career brigade and the second as the volunteer brigade. The training to both is the same and the volunteers can take command of a situation if the need arises or if they reach the scene first. This involves commanding the local fire brigade irrespective of whether it is professional or volunteer. The volunteers are paid by the employers if they are called out for a fire on a normal working day. In case of an emergency, the volunteers are also able to run the career fire station.
The art of firefighting may be slightly different the world over, but it’s no game and it is far more difficult than we can imagine.