Employment Info

  • WEST HAVEN FIRE DEPARTMENT FIREFIGHTER JOB DESCRIPTION

  • Below is a brief description of the duties of a firefighter. It by no means describes everything that is required of a firefighter, but it should give you some idea of the demands of the job.

    JOB DESCRIPTION
    The West Haven Fire Department strives to hire the best candidate for every position. Our goal is to fill each job with a person who is well-qualified and has an interest in the job. To do this, we feel it is important to give each applicant a realistic description of the job and its tasks so they can decide for themselves if the position is one which they desire.
    In addition, this job description becomes valuable when used to educate the firefighter and others as to what a firefighter is expected to do during his/her career. This job description will be used to explain to all treating physicians the physical and mental requirements imposed on firefighters so that they are better equipped to make medical decisions in regard to when injured or ill firefighters may return to work and under what restrictions. This job description will also be utilized by physicians to assess whether a firefighter’s physical ability allows him/her to continue a fire service career or that the requirements of the job are such that the firefighter can no longer perform to the standards set by the job description.
    As a firefighter with the West Haven Fire Department, you will be required to perform a large variety of tasks. Some of these tasks may include: fire suppression, emergency medical calls, rescue of victims, fire prevention, hazardous materials incidents and community service.
    The following is a preview of the types of calls and tasks which are required of a firefighter. They are intended to give you a better understanding of the job so you can decide whether you are really willing and able to perform the job on a daily basis. This preview by no means describes every task required of a firefighter, but will give you some of the job requirements.The West Haven Fire Department functions on the premise that all firefighters, regardless of the assigned position or duty assignment, must be able to function at a high level of expertise under all conditions. There are no permanent line positions assigned in the West Haven Fire Department. A firefighter may be asked to drive an apparatus, be a. pump operator, maneuver a ladder into position, provide First Aid, CPR, take a patient’s blood pressure, and change batteries in a smoke detector, and may also escort school children through a tour of the fire station all in the same day.
    The West Haven Fire Department has no permanent light duty position. Occasionally a firefighter will be recuperating and rehabilitating from an illness or injury which prevents the firefighter from doing all the job tasks required of a line firefighter. In these cases where total maximum level of rehabilitation will allow the firefighter to return to full duty without restrictions, the Department provides temporary light duty tasks for Fire Department Injury (FDI) such as answering phones, assisting in Fire Marshal office, general clerical work, provider of transportation, and other staff chores.

    Physical considerations:

    General:
    Overall good health
    Above average flexibility
    Above average stamina
    Above average upper body strength
    Above average respiratory efficiency
    Above average grip strength
    Above average leg strength

    Specific:
    Many firefighting tasks require the use of tools and equipment above the level of the chest and often the head.
    Many of these tasks need to be performed for long periods of time without relief.
    Firefighters must be flexible in all joints
    Firefighters must have a strong back for lifting and carrying.
    Firefighters are required to wear self-contained breathing apparatus at most emergency calls. This requires a respiratory system free of disease and maladies.
    The job of firefighter is a complex and difficult profession. It requires one to be mentally sharp and enthusiastic. It demands an ability to learn and the ability for one to be a team player. A firefighter must learn to take and follow commands. He must expect to be challenged at every turn and should expect to be learning the trade throughout one’s career. The firefighter of today must be physically fit. They should expect to continue monitoring their health at all times. A firefighter must exercise on a regular basis and maintain a healthy life style. The job constantly demands and challenges firefighters to do physical tasks that are extremely difficult in all types of environments. Do not underestimate the challenge of a career in the Fire Service.The following is a partial list of types of work required of a West Haven firefighter:
    —Work on assigned tour of duty at a fire station;
    —Responds to calls for fire equipment and assists in fire ground activities;
    —Aids in cleaning station house;
    —Repairs firefighting tools and appliances;
    —Services motorized fire apparatus as directed.
    —Operates fire pumpers at draft and at hydrant.
    —Keeps records and makes reports.
    —Makes hydrant inspections, including condition of paint and operability.
    —Inspects homes within assigned district for fire hazards.
    —Drives and operates Fire Apparatus and department vehicles.
    —Cleans, maintains and makes minor repairs to firefighting equipment
    —Participates in assigned Fire Serving Training Drills and classes.
    —Makes periodic inspections of buildings for fire hazards.
    —Provides emergency First Aid treatment to injured persons including CPR as required.
    —Performs a wide variety of routine tasks in connection with the maintenance of fire station quarters and grounds.
    —Perform related duties as assigned
    —Makes pre-planning inspections of business and facilities to included drawings of the layout and make note of special hazards at the establishment.
    —Performs community service activities, including conducting fire safety and prevention and fire brigade classes, making presentations to organizations and groups and conducting demonstrations.
    —Engage in fire prevention work by inspecting the construction and exposures of buildings for fire hazards and to determine the location of standpipe, sprinkler intake and control valve as assigned, usually on special detail.

    Other Considerations
    The West Haven Fire Department works 42-hour average work weeks. Each shift is organized on the following schedule: A 24 hour tour 72 hours off. While on duty the station is like your second home-you live eat and sleep there. The Firefighters living quarters are very similar to a college dormitory. While not out on a call, much of the firefighters’ time is spent cleaning the living quarters, including floors and restrooms, equipment, and the station itself. As a firefighter you must be able to maintain a professional relationship with your co-workers in this environment.
    During a major fire or emergency, firefighters may be called in, while off duty, and be away from home for several hours or even days. The Fire Department doesn’t shut down for holidays. If your shift falls on a holiday, you are expected to report to work as scheduled. As a firefighter many times you will be given orders which must be carried out promptly and without question.

    Medical Emergencies
    The West Haven Fire Department operates a fulltime Paramedic level service which requires firefighters to be knowledgeable in many aspects of emergency medicine. Firefighters are required to maintain Emergency Medical Technician or First Aid and CPR certification throughout their career and to respond to medical emergency calls to administer care. Firefighters are required to get vaccinations for various diseases and are required to protect themselves from frequent hostile medical environments. Firefighters are required to care for patients with various infectious diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis, HIV, AIDs and others. Firefighters are often asked to work in the most catastrophic environments possible and often will require counseling after the fact. The physical requirements can be quite demanding. Firefighters are asked to lift, roll, and manipulate patients in varying sizes, shapes, and weights. Often during extrication and disentanglement they must perform skills in very awkward and confining spaces. Flexibility and strength are a must.

    Hazardous Materials Emergencies
    Firefighters are required to respond and mitigate emergencies involving hazardous chemicals responding to these calls often involves donning chemical protective suits which are heavy, cumbersome, and extremely hot to work in. In addition firefighters are often required to perform suppression, medical, and overhaul operations while wearing this protective clothing.

    Non-emergency calls
    The West Haven Fire Department routinely responds to calls for public assistance. These can be calls for keys locked in automobiles or assist people with lack of mobility in getting from one place to another, checking one’s well- being in regards to health, checking for possible hazardous conditions, etc. All of these calls may require the firefighter to perform physical and mental tasks on a regular basis.
    The West Haven Firefighter is required to become licensed do drive and safely operate all apparatus within the Department’s inventory.
    As a Firefighter in the City of West Haven you will be required to represent the Department in all avenues of public service and constantly strive to provide the best level of courteous Fire Service possible to the citizens and visitors of West Haven.

    Emergency Calls
    Emergency calls can come in at any time of the day or night and must be responded to immediately. Many times sleep is interrupted. Regardless of the time or what you are busy doing, firefighters must be able to get themselves dressed in their protective equipment and onto the emergency vehicles quickly when responding to an emergency call.
    Emergency calls can include anything: structure fires, emergency medical calls, auto accidents, brush fires, water rescue and false alarms. All calls, regardless of what they are must be responded to quickly and professionally.
    Once on the scene you must determine what type of incident that you have. You must recognize the potential of the incident, consider exposures that may be in danger, how the weather will affect the incident, extinguishment methods if there is fire involved the needs of victims, and many other things. It is imperative that the firefighter be able to think quickly and initiate the correct procedures to deal with each unique incident. The ability to follow orders and communicate observations is imperative on the Fire Ground and Emergency Scene.

    The Fire Scene
    Firefighting is one of the most dangerous and physically demanding occupations there is. Firefighters must enter burning structures, search for victims, find the source of the fire, and determine ways to extinguish the fire. While doing this, firefighters are exposed to extreme heat, smoke and toxic fumes. Firefighters carry anywhere from 40 to 100 lbs. of equipment such as axes, ladders, chain saws, hoses and extinguishers. They use these tools to rescue victims and put out the fire. Many times this equipment must be carried up ladders or stairs placing great physical stress on the firefighter. Often rescues require firefighters to carry individuals weighing in excess of two hundred pounds to safety down ladders, through enclosed or confined spaces, down unlit narrow staircases, etc. Occasionally firefighters are required to perform strenuous tasks while on steeply pitched roofs or in hazard filled basements or attics.
    Firefighters are often required to cut locks, break windows, or break down doors to make entry into structures. Doing this may involve the use of various tools such as sledge hammers, axes, pry bars and power tools. Firefighters are required to have a basic mechanical aptitude to allow the firefighter to put into operation and utilize different tools such as saws, cutting tools, fans, extrication tools, etc.
    Ladders are a very important piece of equipment to the fire service. Firefighters use ladders at various heights to fight fires, rescue victims, and ventilate structures, as well as other things. They must be able to rise, lower, and rotate these ladders quickly and correctly to get the job done.
    In addition they must be comfortable with height in order to facilitate performing ladder operations without the fear of falling.
    Locating and connecting to sources of water is another function of the firefighter. This often requires the use of various tools as well as considerable strength. Firefighters must drag, carry, or hoist hose lines into position for operation. Once lines are in place, a firefighter many times must operate the hose lines without assistance.
    Firefighters are also responsible for the salvage and overhaul of fire scenes. They must carry out furniture, clothing, appliances and other things. They also shovel, sweep, and mop excess water and debris caused by the fire and firefighting efforts to reduce fire, smoke, and water damage.
    Scene Safety is the reasonability of every firefighter.