A Day in the Life of a Firefighter

Many people maintain the vision of firefighters sitting around the table at the firehouse, playing cards or checkers, waiting for the next fire to occur. Those days disappeared many decades ago and your fire department has evolved into a multi-faceted public service agency with an ever increasing workload. Firefighters today are expected to have knowledge and maintain skills in a seemingly endless variety of topics including: Emergency medical treatment, hazardous materials, computers and technology, public education, fire protection systems, apparatus and equipment operation and maintenance, public administration, public relations and of course firefighting.
This is why we cannot say that there is a "typical day" at the Fire Department. Each day or shift brings the firefighter new training, opportunities, and challenges. Firefighters work a 48-hour shift followed by 96 hours off. The following is an idea of what one 24 hour shift at a Casper Firehouse might look like.
7:30 am:  Firefighters arrive at the firehouse and prepare for the 8:00 a.m. start of the shift. The firefighters receive their assignment for the day. (What apparatus are you on? Are you driving? Are you being reassigned to another station today?). On coming firefighters speak with off going firefighters and share information about the previous shifts dealings.  The Captain will then go over what the schedule for the day is, knowing full well that even one call could throw a wrench in to the works.
Around 8:00 AM all personnel will begin to check out each fire apparatus (engine, ladder truck, rescue truck, brush truck, etc.) and piece of equipment to ensure that it is fully operational. Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics will also check out all of the specialized medical equipment and verify that all medications are accounted for.  Each fire house is led by a company officer. In addition to participating in and leading training and calls, this captain spends quite a bit of time in his or her office logging personnel and equipment on the computer, verifying training and inspection schedules and performing other administrative duties.
9:00 am Firefighters must maintain a certain level of physical fitness and we attempt to set aside time each day for physical training. Physical fitness is so important to a firefighter’s job; we have to complete two fitness tests every year.  You may see your local fire crew working out in their assigned districts at parks or local fitness clubs.  Workout time is occasionally interrupted by calls and/or necessary training but it is an important part of our job and every attempt is made to provide the opportunity.
11:00 am this remaining hour in the morning can be filled in many ways. Typically the engine company must go shopping for meals.  Firefighters each chip in $6.00 per meal for their 48 hour shift.  There are also generally miscellaneous errands that must be taken care of (Fuel and equipment for the engines, pick up supplies, etc.) Additionally, training or inspections may be scheduled in the morning if time allows.  Just as with any part of our day, emergency calls can come in at any time.  That’s why you see an engine company and three firefighters doing these tasks.  If there is an emergency, they drop whatever they are doing and respond to the call.
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm the afternoon hours provide us with the largest block of time for training, business inspections, public education, and special programs. 
Training events may include firefighting techniques, medical knowledge and skills, hazardous materials or specialized rescue training. 
Business inspections are provided by the engine companies with each company generally responsible for 100 or more inspections a year. 
Your firefighters travel to schools and businesses providing public fire education. Every year many schools send their students to their local fire house for a tour and fire safety talk. 
Virtually every firefighter in the department is involved in a special program which requires additional hours for management. Sometimes time is allotted in the afternoon for these programs. 
Maintenance of the apparatus and equipment is also done in the afternoon on a regularly scheduled basis.
5:00 pm when the engine companies return to quarters their work day is still not complete. Many reports still need to be written, any unfinished business of the day needs to be completed and of course, dinner must be prepared.
6:00 pm Dinner

Contact Information

200 Nth David
Casper, WY 82604