Not all firefighters work out of a fire house. Airports also have their own firefighting personnel available to deal with emergency situations.
Not only do airport firefighters need know how to extinguish building and structure fires, but they are also trained to deal with fires on board aircraft, rescuing people from aircraft when necessary, and situations involving chemical hazards.
Since there are hazardous materials, such as jet fuel, stored at airports, airport firefighters are called on to respond to spills and leaks. They must be aware of the environmental hazards associated with these kinds of situations and how to deal with them effectively.
Part of an airport firefighter’s job involves fire prevention. They inspect equipment and the airport grounds regularly to look for potentially dangerous situations. The airport firefighters also inspect the facilities where chemicals are stored. If a safety hazard is discovered, the airport firefighters take the necessary steps to deal with it and minimize the chances of harm.
This type of firefighting work involves being available for different shifts. People interested in this kind of work need to be prepared to work nights, weekends, and holidays when required. If an emergency arises, the airport firefighters may need to be on call 24 hours a day until the situation has been resolved.
If your goal is to become an airport firefighter, your first step is to qualify as a regular firefighter. You will need to pass an entrance exam and complete the required training program. Airport firefighters must have several years of experience before they can work in this specialized environment.
They also need to get training in airport firefighting. Courses may be available through the local college or university. To get your airport firefighting credentials, you will need to complete 40 hours of training in aircraft familiarization, public relations and live fire exercises.
According to Indeed.com, the average salary for an airport firefighter in the United States is $40,200 (Spring, 2015).