Personal Qualities Needed to Become a Firefighter

Working as a fire fighter entails physical and mental strength and endurance. With great responsibilities and difficult challenges that fire fighters face in times of fire incidents, sometimes strength and endurance aren’t enough. No matter how much training a fire fighter take, if they aren’t determined enough, the performance and work evaluation will only fall through.

Whenever a fire fighter applicant tries to get the job, senior fire fighters and recruiters do not consider physical aspects alone as there is something more important than the needed strength, flexibility and endurance- and this is a fire fighter’s personal qualities.

A fire fighter’s personality reflects his/her work ethics. It shows how he/she loves the job and how concern they are in helping other people’s lives and properties in jeopardy. So aside from taking a series of physical and medical exams, fire fighter applicants are evaluated greatly based on their personal traits and outlook in life. First of all, they must be the kind of people who are responsible enough not only for themselves but for the people around them as well.

A fire fighter’s outlook and determination on the job is what counts the most. Because of this Fire Brigades conduct Personal Quality Assessments or PQAs. PQAs are the fundamentals, the very core values and priorities of the Fire and Rescue Service, the underlying attitudes and behaviors upon which a fire fighter’s performance lies. The technical, procedural and operational skills are layered on top of these foundations. The tests that determine the behavior of fire fighter applicants are the Initial Test of Potential (ITOP), the PQA Interview and the PQA application form.

Personal Quality Assessments were formed based on the overall observation and study of the various Fire Brigades. These tests may vary slightly depending on the management level position where there is one for the supervisory management level- for those who proactively support change, adjusting approach to meet changing requirements. And the other one is the strategic management level- for those drive and manage the change process, seeking opportunities to create and implement improved organizational effectiveness.

Last but not the least, the personal qualities that every fire fighter must embody are:

  • Commitment to Diversity and Integrity.
  • Openness to change.
  • Confidence and Resilience.
  • Working with Others.
  • Effective Communication.
  • Commitment to Development.
  • Problem Solving.
  • Situational Awareness.
  • Commitment to Excellence.
  • Planning and Implementing.
  • Political & Organizational Awareness.

The reason why PQAs are very important is that unlike trainings and tests, personal qualities cannot be learned in a short period of time. Most of the time, these traits must begin beforehand within the person. Once a person has these unique and noble traits first, the physical and mental aspects will follow. Thus, leading to an effective and high-quality performance. When it comes to helping others with great service and dedication,  Fire Brigades only want the best of the best. This is why physical and mental exams as well as the Personal Quality Assessments are taken very seriously and are followed up to its par.

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2 Responses

  1. Thomas Foote Says:
    May 2nd, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    I am agree with you for this topic that fire fighter entails physical and mental strength and endurance. Because this job is full of struggle.so candidate should have self confidence and physical stamina as well.

  2. peter Says:
    July 9th, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    I live in southern California and am an EMT i put my fire career in hold due to being color blind. Do any of you know any departments in so cal where this is not a deal breaker? Also do you know any so cal firemen who you are colorblind on the job? Thanks