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As a Firefighter with the City of Pharr Fire Department, you will be required to perform a large variety of tasks. These tasks are very diverse and may include rescue and care of victims, fire prevention, salvage and overhaul, hazardous materials containment and community service. We urge you to consider the entire job of Firefighter and not just the exciting or glamorous aspects.What follows is a realistic preview of the types of tasks which are required of all City of Pharr Firefighters. 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. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to describe every task required of a Firefighter. Please take a moment to truly consider whether the job of Firefighter fits you, as well as whether you fit the job of Firefighter.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Emergency response calls can come in any time of the day or night and must be responded to immediately. Sleep may be frequently interrupted. Firefighters must be experts at getting themselves dressed in the appropriate gear/equipment and onto the emergency vehicles quickly when responding to an emergency call, regardless of what they might be busy with at the time the emergency call comes in.Emergency calls can cover anything from brush fires, structure fires, automobile accidents, life-threatening medical emergencies, non-life-threatening medical calls and false alarms. All must be responded to with the same speed and professionalism. Firefighters must immediately size up each emergency situation upon arrival, including: properties of the fire, probability of the fire spreading, the needs of victims, medical conditions, effects of weather conditions, etc. in order to effectively deal with the emergency. Once on an emergency scene, Firefighters are responsible for gathering information from witnesses and other sources. It is critical that the Firefighter think quickly and obtain the appropriate information to deal with each unique situation. Firefighters must intimately coordinate their activities and work as a team. This includes those Firefighters working directly with the emergency, those directing traffic and those standing by to relieve other Firefighters.

FIRE SCENES

Firefighting is a dangerous occupation. Firefighters must enter burning structures. Once inside the structure, Firefighters must search for victims, the source of fire, and ways to extinguish the fire. In this process, Firefighters are exposed to extreme heat, smoke and fumes. This job is extremely physically demanding. Firefighters carry 80 – 100 pounds of equipment such as hoses, axes, ladders, chain saws and extinguishers into and around the fire scene to rescue victims and put out the fire. This may include climbing many flights of stairs. Firefighters make forced entries into grounds/structures by cutting locks, breaking doors, windows or roofs as needed to gain access to or ventilate structures. This may involve using hand tools such as axes, sledge hammers, battering rams and power tools. Firefighters use ladders and work at heights to rescue victims and fight fires. They must raise, lower, rotate and extend these ladders. Ladders are at times used for purposes other than climbing, such as bridges, battering rams and carrying victims. Firefighters locate hydrants and other sources of water. Firefighters connect hoses to sources of water using various tools and considerable strength. Firefighters operate hand-held hose lines without assistance and get the hose into position by dragging, carrying or hoisting it into place.Firefighters are responsible for the clean up of fire scenes. Firefighters carry burnt furniture, clothing, appliances, etc. from buildings to reduce fire and smoke damage. Firefighters scoop, shovel, sweep and mop excess water and debris caused by the fire and firefighting efforts. Firefighters tear down or shore up weak or dangerous parts of fire structures such as floors, roofs or overhangs.*Firefighters occasionally are overcome by smoke/or are burned while working to put out fires.*

EMERGENCY MEDICAL TREATMENT

Firefighters now also perform the some tasks that were previously done by paramedics only. All Firefighters are required to qualify , as a minimum, as Emergency Care Attendants (ECA) in order to provide the best service to the community. Firefighters must assess a victim’s general condition by checking pulse, respiration, bleeding, consciousness, etc. This will require physical contact with the victims who will often be bleeding from open wounds and/or have broken bones and other severe injuries. Firefighters must use first aid and emergency medical techniques to treat victims to the best of their ability. Firefighters may also come into contact with victims who have died before they could be rescued; sometimes, too, victims will die despite the best efforts of Firefighters.

RESCUE OPERATIONS

Firefighters use systematic search procedures to try to find trapped victims without getting lost or trapped themselves. Firefighters free trapped victims from a variety of situations including car crashes, cave-ins, structure collapses, flood channels, chemical spills and all kinds of unusual occurrences. Firefighters may be required to use special tools to accomplish a rescue. After locating and freeing the victim, Firefighters must determine the safest path of evacuation. Firefighters may be required to lift and/or carry the victim with or without assistance in dangerous situations.

OTHER

While not out on a call, Firefighters must constantly work at keeping the station and equipment in excellent condition. The maintenance of the fire trucks is extremely important since we rely heavily on them to get our job done. Firefighters educate the general public in fire safety and fire prevention techniques. They provide station tours, ride-a-longs, and support numerous community events.

PERSONAL CONSIDERATIONS

Firefighters work 24 consecutive hour shifts, living at the station for the entire period. Firefighters shifts are organized on the following schedule: day on the job, day off, day on the job, day off, day on the job, four days off. Occasionally Firefighters may be required to work overtime. Firefighters may be away from home for days at a time during severe emergency situations. Firefighters work on holidays. Should your shift fall on a holiday, you will be expected to work at the station over the holiday period. You are also required to provide your own meals while on duty. Firefighters must work during unusual and/or catastrophic events such as major fires, hurricanes or civil unrest. The fire service is regimented and Firefighters receive orders which must be carried out promptly and without question.

DEPARTMENT STRUCTURE

The selected applicants from the eligibility list when offered a position are placed within the Fire Suppression Division. The Suppression Division, under the command of the Deputy Fire Chief of Suppression, is responsible for the mitigation of fire and other emergencies within the responding area. There are 3 fire stations staffed each day with a minimum of 15 suppression personnel on duty. Each station is under the command of a Lieutenant with a Fire Apparatus Engineer for each staffed unit.

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