Research Paper On Firefighting As A Profession
Various studies delved into attempts at defining the term ‘profession’. The online search engine generated as much as 1.46 million results for scholarly publications on the pursuit for ‘definition of profession’ (Google, 2015). The factors which contribute to disparities in defining the term could include speculations on continually evolving fields of formal studies, in conjunction with increasing complexities in academic disciplines. In this regard, the current discourse aims to present a definition of ‘profession’. Likewise, the term ‘firefighting’ would also be defined with the purpose of establishing whether firefighting is deemed a profession from the findings asserted in various reviews of literature.
Definition of ‘Profession’
In its simplest context, profession is defined as “a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification” . From the definition, the criteria noted to consider eligibility to the classification are undertaking of prolonged training, possessing formal qualification, as well as gaining financial remuneration. Concurrently, another popular definition of the term is as follows: “a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognized body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others” . The latter definition emphasized the following components or criteria for fields of disciplines or studies to be considered as professions: disciplined group of individuals, adherence to ethical standards, possesses special knowledge and skills, being highly trained, and applies learning towards improvement the welfare of others.
Definition of ‘Firefighting’
When asked for the definition of firefighting, lay people could infer that is simply means exerting efforts and approaches to successfully prevent or extinguish fire. The Collins English Dictionary defined the term as “the occupation of attempting to control and extinguish fires” . As an occupation, the firefighter was specifically defined by the City Council of Chandler, Arizona as an “employee of the Fire, Health and Medical Department regularly assigned to hazardous duties of the type normally expected for firefighting, emergency medical response, public health emergencies and special operations involving hazardous materials or technical rescues” .
The common elements identified are as follows: disciplined group of individuals (firefighters), adherence to ethical standards (Firefighter Code of Ethics (National Society of Executive Fire Officers, n.d.)), candidates should have pursued a specified level of formal academic background, possesses special knowledge and skills, being highly trained for firefighting, emergency response, and handling hazardous materials or rescuing, and applies learning towards improvement the welfare of others (saving lives and properties).
2. Responsibilities inherent in a defined profession
In a defined profession, for instance, in firefighting, the responsibilities were stressed in terms of adherence to the performance of assigned and delegated tasks designed to achieve the organizations goals. As cited from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, “firefighters control fires and respond to other emergencies, including medical emergencies” .
3. Requirements for a profession to evolve, grow, and maintain continuous designation
For a profession to evolve, continuous learning is required. As learned, to qualify as firefighters, there are minimum educational requirements, as well as personal and professional skills qualifications with trainings in emergency management, to wit: “Firefighters need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. They also may need to have completed postsecondary education in order to attain various certifications before being hired, such as the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)-Basic certification. Most firefighters also must pass a written and physical test and complete a series of interviews. Firefighters receive extensive training after being hired” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2014, p. 1).
Likewise, more advanced academic pursuit could be undertaken through taking courses on Emergency Management and courses on Fire Protection and Safety (Fire Fighting Schools and Colleges in the U.S., 2015). Other associate academic options and programs included associate’s degree, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fire science technology or fire protection systems (Fire Fighting Schools and Colleges in the U.S., 2015).
4. Understand the extent to which society recognizes accepted definitions of a profession
Society recognizes accepted definitions of a profession through affirmation of the benefits that the profession accords to improving the welfare of mankind. Firefighting was acknowledged as one of the noblest professions due to the commitment to serve the best interests and welfare of the public (TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC, 2014). As emphasized, “the profession is very dangerous--over one in four firefighters have to take time off for work-related injuries, ranging from slipped disks to disfiguring burns--and requires a strong sense of
commitment to public service” (TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC, 2014, p. 1).
5. Manner by which potential gap between minimal requirements for a profession and recognition as a mature profession may be bridged
A potential gap between minimum requirements for a profession and recognition as a mature profession may be bridged with a comprehensive assessment of the gap, the weaknesses that needs to be addressed, as well as the strategies needed to bridge it. Generally, the gap may be bridged through continuous learning, as well as through undertaking training and development. To enable firefighters to do the expected responsibilities, long and continuous training was acknowledged to be necessary.
6. How professionalization established benefits to stakeholders
Professionalization establishes benefits to various stakeholders through manifestation of the common attributes of the profession: pursuing the needed academic background, development of competencies and skills, adherence to ethical, moral and legal standards, as well as focusing on social responsibility that improves the welfare of others.
Position from Personal Perspective
responsible and ethical decisions, especially in challenging situations.
Finally, the commitment to serve the interests of a greater number of people for the greatest good also complies with the profession criteria. In addition, the opportunities for professional growth are immense; paving the way for personal growth as well as enabling the improvement in the well-being of others. As revealed, “firefighters who leave the profession generally continue in public service. A number apply to become police officers return to school to be trained in paramedic or medical duties, go into teaching or fire safety consulting. Those who wish to rise to positions of advice and influence, particularly on a national level, become private consultants or authors, or take high-profile political jobs” . Finally, the prospects in this field of endeavor was projected to grow to as much as seven (7) percent for the years 2012 to 2022, where competition was expected to be intense . All of these factors evidently confirm that firefighting is a relevant and noble profession.
Firefighting is indeed a profession. As a career, firefighting has been proven to be one of the noblest professions due to the goal of serving the interests of others through saving the lives and properties from being destroyed by fires. The educational background affirms conformity to the specialized, exclusive, and job-related knowledge. There are opportunities for professional growth through pursuing specialized advanced education through associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in fire science technology. There were identified formal entry requirements (minimum high school education and training). There is the need to abide by a code of ethics and specialized training to possess skills in emergency management, safety, and handling hazardous materials. Likewise, through developed core competencies, firefighters evidently benefit the population served and enable uplifting the lives of the general public.
Fire Fighting Schools and Colleges in the U.S. (2015). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from Education Portal: http://education-portal.com/fire_fighting_schools.html
Collins. (2015). Firefighting. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from collinsdictionary.com: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/firefighting
Google . (2015, January 29). Definition of Profession. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com.ph/scholar?q=definition+of+profession&hl=tl&as_sdt=0,5
National Society of Executive Fire Officers. (n.d.). Firefighter Code of Ethics. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from usfa.fema.gov: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/code_of_ethics.pdf
Oxford University Press. (2015). Profession. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from Oxford Dictionaries: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/profession
Professions Australia. (n.d.). Definition of a Profession. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from professions.com.au: http://www.professions.com.au/defineprofession.html
TPR Education IP Holdings, LLC. (2014). Career: Firefighter. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from The Princeton Review: http://www.princetonreview.com/Careers.aspx?cid=69
U.S. Department of Labor. (2014, January 8). Firefighters. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from bls.gov: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/firefighters.htm
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