5 key personality traits of a firefighter

Many children dream of becoming firefighters, and these five characteristics of a firefighter are a good predictor of who will be a good fit for the profession. A person who possesses all of these five characteristics, as well as the education and training required to be a firefighter, will have the best chance of getting a job in this career.

Excellence in communication

Firefighters need to communicate with their colleagues while responding to an emergency and providing assistance at the scene. They also need to communicate with emergency medical technicians and police who may also respond to emergencies. A firefighter also needs to be able to communicate well with the public. For example, they should be able to educate the public on how to properly install and test a smoke detector and explain why a smoke detector should be an integral part of every family’s safety plan.


Compassion is another key characteristic of a firefighter. They should provide emotional support to the people they help. For example, at the scene of a house fire where there are children and one or more parents at home, firefighters may need to calm the parents while other firefighters try to rescue other family members inside. In the event of an accident or other emergency, they may have to calm excited crowds of people.

Quick and informed decision-making skills

Firefighters have to make informed decisions in life-threatening situations. Their ability to think quickly on their feet and make a wise decision can be the difference between life and death for the person they are trying to help, themselves or their colleagues. They have to rely on their training and experience to make decisions under immense pressure and stress. In an emergency, firefighters may have to make a difficult decision, such as who should be the first to help in a burning building.


A firefighter must have courage. They regularly face dangerous situations, including buildings and vehicles on fire. They must be able to put aside any fears and do their job safely and effectively. There will be times when firefighters will have to deal with the deaths of people they are trying to save, and they will need good mental health to do so.

Physical endurance and strength

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters need to be physically strong. They undergo regular physicals to assess their strength and endurance. Firefighters may have to lift and carry victims out of a multi-story burning building or physically remove objects from injured people. They may be on their feet for many hours, loaded down with gear that weighs 70 pounds or more.