The job of a firefighter is a challenging career. Firefighters must be able to respond quickly and coordinate their activities as an effective work team. Firefighters perform work activities in a number of areas, including, but not limited to: fire prevention / building inspection, firefighting, emergency medical care, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, and disaster response (catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or any other disaster).
Firefighters encounter many challenges while they fight fires, such as identification of the source of the fire, appropriate suppression techniques, as well as search and rescue of potential victims. These conditions include extreme heat; smoke, fumes, and working in confined spaces with limited vision.
The job of a firefighter is often very physically demanding. Firefighters must be in peak physical condition both at the time of hire and throughout their career. Firefighters carry 70 to 100 pounds of equipment such as hoses, axes, ladders, and chain saws. The work also includes the possibility that at any given time they may climb many flights of stairs. Firefighters often work at heights and in confined spaces to extinguish fires and rescue victims.
At the conclusion of a fire event, firefighters may provide continuous fire watch in the event of suspected arson. They also will be responsible for the fire scene cleanup, including carrying out burned furniture and appliances, sweeping out and mopping up excess water, and securing the scene.
When not responding to fires or emergency events, firefighters are engaged in maintaining the fire apparatus, fire equipment, and the fire station. The Mount Pleasant Fire Department also maintains an active fire prevention program that includes regular visits to area schools, day cares, and many activities designed to enhance fire awareness to children.
The work schedule requires 24-hour shifts, assigned on an alternating basis. The schedule is a 24 / 48 shift rotation (24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty). While on duty the firefighters live and sleep at the fire station.
Firefighters must be committed to working effectively with the public of Mount Pleasant, as well as other members of the fire service. Teamwork and respect for diversity are very important aspects of this job.