All firefighting jobs are dangerous and challenging, but there are some specific firefighting careers that are even more demanding. One of those careers is being an airport firefighter. Due to the delicate and important nature of airports, whether military, commercial or private ones, firefighters employed in these locations need to have special and extensive training. If you are a regular firefighter but are looking for an even more challenging job, than becoming an airport firefighter is the right career choice.
Become a regular firefighter, since it is the crucial and necessary step toward becoming an airport firefighter. After the initial training, depending on the state you live in, you will be required to pass an exam and various security, medical and other checks to become a qualified firefighter.
Take additional courses offered by your local collage or school, choosing the ones that deal with airport-related firefighting. These courses are usually concentrated on prevention of fires, hazardous materials and other issue that are important in an airport environment.
Obtain a certificate as an NFPA Firefighter II. Check your local education institutions to see where can you receive the training and apply for the exam.
Get a certificate for hazardous materials operations level. This is also a test you can take at your local college or university, or even a military unit if you want to specialise in that field of airports. Get the necessary literature and attend class to apply for and pass the test.
Attend an official airport firefighting education program that meets the NFPA 1003 standard. Usually, it is a 40-hour program at a military unit, college, university, Department of Homeland Security or another state fire service program. It is essential to be sure that the particular program meets the aforementioned standard, since it is a necessity for working as an airport firefighter.
Get the official certificate for becoming an airport firefighter after completing the program. Now you are a certified airport firefighter, which means that you can be employed as a firefighter on a commercial, military or private airport.
Continue your airport firefighting education even after employment. Note that the airport where you work may have special continuing education programs you can attend, thus advancing your career. Also note that you can expand your expertise by taking courses in different fire brigades such as the Air National Guard or military airports as well.
- Be prepared to work unusual schedules, since most airports are open and working 24 hours a day.
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition that prevents you from doing your job properly, becoming an airport firefighter would be irresponsible since you would put into danger not only yourself but others as well. Remember that this job requires extreme physical stamina and absolute physical and mental health.