13 Facts About Firefighting That Show a Different Side of This Job
Have you ever wondered what questions people working in fire brigades are asked most often? Few of us know that firemen actually have to save frightened cats down from trees, that their uniform can withstand a direct blow from a flamethrower, and that they also repair pipes, cut metal and don’t like the full moon. Ready to find out why?
Bright Side collected half a dozen little-known facts about how firefighters work — they may change your opinion about this amazing profession. And at the end of the article, you’ll learn what dog breed is known as a symbol of firefighters.
13. Their uniform can withstand up to 2200°F.
A firefighter’s uniform is made of special materials that can withstand temperatures up to 2200 °F and protects a person from concentrated acids and alkali absorbtion. Most of the materials on Earth can be ignited at such a high temperature.
12. No mustaches or piercings on the face.
A firefighter wears an oxygen mask. According to safety regulations, the face shouldn’t have any growths, piercings or hair so that the mask fits tightly.
11. Nothing can be heard or seen in a burning building.
In movies, firefighters can navigate inside a burning building easily, quickly finding the injured and taking off their mask to put it on a person in need of help. In reality, a firefighter can’t remove their mask because they’ll suffocate from the thick smoke. They also can’t see anything, and the loud crackling of flames doesn’t let them hear any people scream for help.
The biggest enemy of all firefighters is a backdraft. It happens when a fire in a closed room extinguishes without getting oxygen but upon opening a door, a blazing explosion of fire releasing hot gases flares up. This phenomenon is shown in the movie, Backdraft.
10. A firefighter wears 5 to 30 kgs on their body.
This figure varies depending on what the uniform is made of and what is included in the outfit. But it can’t be denied that firefighters can work only if they are physically fit.
9. Women have worked on a par with men since the 1800s.
Molly Williams became the first woman in the world to extinguish fires on a par with men as early as the beginning of the 19th century. Later, there appeared to be separate women’s brigades. Truth be told, not every man can cope with this dangerous job so those few women working as firefighters can hardly be labeled the “weaker sex”.
8. They are ready to help in any situation.
A firefighter’s work is not limited to fires. These heroes save people when there are floods, earthquakes, manmade disasters, and terrorist acts. They even serve as plumbers, electricians, mechanics, psychologists, and medical workers when it’s necessary in order to provide first aid before the arrival of doctors. In some cases, fire engines even have special equipment and apparatuses to resuscitate unresponsive victims.
Sometimes firefighters need an excellent sense of humor and special skills when dealing with kids. This little kid, for example, locked his mom out of the car. She had to call the fire department and they managed to get him out of the car. They are really cool guys!
7. They rescue animals when there is almost no hope.
The fire department gets many emergencies concerning animals who are in trouble. If a cow gets stuck in a ditch, a dog falls into a well, or a cat can’t get out of a tree or a narrow drainpipe; firefighters will come and do their best to save the them.
A lot of alarms turn out to be false thanks to callers dialing wrong numbers or children fooling around on the phone. But even if false alarms are constantly coming from the same number, firefighters are obligated to get to the spot every time because there really could be a fire one of those times.
6. Shifts can last for more than 24 hours.
Usually shifts last for 24 hours with a break of rest for 48 hours or 10-12 hours for 3-4 consecutive days. During large fires and other emergencies, firemen can work without having a rest break for more than a day.
5. They put their uniforms in the closet so that they can put it on within seconds.
Firefighters fold things together in such a way that they can hop into their boots and put on their pants within a second, put on a jacket in the next second, and grab their helmet and get into the car. They have only a couple of minutes to get ready and leave for a call — every second can cost someone their life.
4. Previously, people in wet clothing would enter buildings to stop fires.
In the past, Japanese firefighters used a special fire extinguishing technique: they’d go into a burning house in wet clothes in order not to catch fire while destroying the walls to prevent the fire from spreading further. Then they’d wait for the fire to become extinguished. This method allowed a significant reduction of the number of victims and the number of major fires until the end of the nineteenth century.
Today, water is brought in cars and is enough to last for 5-10 minutes. This is enough time to start extinguishing, and then the firefighters find the nearest hydrant or pond that they can pump water out of. Not only are firefighters required to limit the movement of fire but they also try to completely eliminate it as fast as possible.
3. If a house has a lot of free space and there are almost no doors and walls, it will burn as fast as a match.
100 years ago it was easier to extinguish fires. In those homes with a large number of rooms, walls and doors helped to stop the fire from spreading so quickly. If the house has a lot of free space, like many do today, the fire spreads quickly, capturing a large area and is difficult to extinguish. Most often, a fire takes place in the kitchen. Approximately two out of three house fire-related deaths occur in houses without a fire alarm.
By the way, firefighters cannot send you to prison if you set fire to the house but instead can be blamed themselves for the damage caused. After the fire is extinguished, the investigators start their work looking for a hotbed of fire and determining the legitimacy of the fire-fighting that went on. If the actions of firefighters caused any damage that could have been avoided, action will be filed in court.
2. Many fires are extinguished by volunteers rather than professional firefighters.
In many countries, volunteers work in the fire department because the government doesn’t have the money to maintain such a service. For example, in Chile, tens of thousands of firefighters are volunteers who pay monthly fees and receive special training. They are called Bomberos.
In other countries, in order to become a firefighter, you must have a diploma in higher education or undergo special training.
1. Is the Dalmatian the offical dog of firefighters?
In the past Dalmatians used to run ahead of a fire brigade barking and clearing the way for the horses to get through. This breed is distinguished by their fearlessness, quick learning abilities and also the ability to easily find a common language with other animals. They used to live together with draft horses that need some communication in order to be in a good shape.
Today, the Dalmatians are still a standing symbol of firefighters, but dogs of different breeds are usually attracted to the service. Their job is to find people — a dog can find a victim through smell or hearing a call for help when people and technology are deaf, blind and oftentimes powerless.
Remember that being a firefighter is not a simple profession, but a destiny!
For many people, it is a childhood dream to save lives, help others and challenge dangers. And thanks to such people, we know that every firefighter is, in fact, a real superhero who risks their life and health daily. We thank them for their work!
Are there any firefighters in your family? Are you aware of other hidden secrets of this profession? Please share them in the comments!