Firefighters: Why are They Always Among the First Responders?


Have you ever seen an emergency case or been in one and the first ones on the scene were firefighters? Did you wonder why they were there even if the nature of the call wasn’t about a fire?

More Than Just Fighting Fires

One common misconception that most people have about firefighters is that they just wait around for fire to start. Although that’s how the fire service started in the 1600s, a lot of things have already changed.

Other than responding to structural, vehicular, and wild land fires, firefighters are among the first on the scene of any emergency of any nature — medical, hazardous material incidents, water rescues, vehicular accidents, and many others.

There have also been some viral videos online of firefighters helping out a man put back garbage bags inside an overturned garbage bin and even some videos of them rescuing deers and rabbits caught in fences and walls.

In short, firefighters are prepared to handle any kind of emergency.

First Responder Duties and Responsibilities

Although certain responsibilities may vary depending on the type of emergency, environment, and firefighter training, most firefighters across the U.S. all share the same duties and responsibilities as first responders.

They are to respond rapidly

As part of the emergency services force, firefighters are on-call 24/7 and must quickly get to the scene of an emergency at the soonest possible time. They understand that whenever dispatch deploys them, there is always a sense of urgency.

They can multi-task

Firefighters are not just equipped and empowered to combat wild blazes. They are trained to make assessments of the situation and give the appropriate judgment calls according to their evaluation of the scene. They could be setting up ladders one minute, then knocking down a wall or door the next minute. They could be clearing the road of bystanders and onlookers while mobile column automotive lifts are being set-up around their trucks. Wherever they’re needed based on the nature of the emergency, that’s where they serve.

They are trained for rescue procedures

Firefighter rescuing a woman

More than rescuing people from fires, these first responders are trained to save people from a variety of life-threatening situations such as people trapped in a car or under debris or buildings, people stuck in high places or rescuing people stuck in highly remote places.

They assist EMTs and paramedics in medical-related emergencies

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most firemen respond to emergency calls that are medical compared to actual fires. Firefighters are all trained in basic first aid care. Other firefighters have more advanced training in EMT or paramedic services.

Pre-Hospital Care

Fact: Fire stations outnumber EMT stations.

Given this fact and their medical training, firefighters are responding to more medical issues over the past decade or so. They get to the emergency scene faster even if both EMT and fire department are dispatched to all said emergencies simultaneously.

In 2016, the National Fire Incident Reporting System gave the following numbers according to statistics drawn from South Carolina alone:

  • 1,020 emergency calls are received daily
  • 64 are actual fires
  • 105 are false alarms
  • 591 are rescue and medical calls

Both the fire department and the EMT work together during emergencies to provide pre-hospital care to the victims.

No matter what the nature of the emergency case is, you can rest confidently in the fact that firefighters are well-equipped to handle these different scenarios.

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