In general, people feel like they know a lot about the firefighting profession since it has a lot of representation in TV shows and movies, and it often looks like a pretty straightforward job. While these portrayals have a level of accuracy, there are still some wild misconceptions about this profession, which we hope to clear up in our list of cool facts about firefighters that you didn’t know.
Senses Are Limited in a Burning Building
Pop culture has led many people to believe that navigating a burning building is relatively easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a reason sending firefighters in is often a last resort. The smoke is extremely thick and makes it very difficult to see, while the deafening sound of the flames and parts of the building collapsing makes hearing anything nearly impossible. Also, taking off their mask to give to a victim is a death sentence. They need those to breathe since the fire sucks up most of the oxygen in the area.
Uniforms Protect Users Against More Than Fire
Other than protecting firefighters from scorching flames, their uniforms can hold out water as well. If you think about it, it’s weird how a material can block out two opposite elements. However, there are quite a few industries in which you’d want your rainwear to also be fire-resistant. Firefighter suits have even more capabilities, though, such as shielding against acid and other harsh chemicals.
Facial Hair and Piercings Aren’t Allowed
You would think the reason these wouldn’t be allowed is that beards can catch on fire and piercings can get hot quickly. However, it actually comes down to oxygen mask usability. These two things can stop the mask from achieving the tight seal necessary to function properly.
The Reasons Why They Use Dogs
This cool fact about firefighters that you didn’t know doesn’t pertain to the people as much as their four-legged companions. The dalmatian, in particular, is a well-known symbol of fire departments. Firefighters used them since they had a reputation for being a fearless breed. These days, any dog can become a firehouse dog if it has gone through the proper training.
The roles of firefighting dogs have changed a bit as well. In the past, dogs would run ahead of the horse-drawn fire brigade to clear a path and warn others that they were coming. Today, that’s obviously no longer necessary, but we still use dogs to help locate people who are stuck or unable to move.
It Hasn’t Always Been a Boys Club
In society today, we’ve seen a big push for gender equality in the workplace, but women have been part of fire departments for longer than you probably realize. The first woman to fight fires alongside men was Molly Williams. She did this all the way back in the early 1800s. It’s not like she was a notable exception, though. Later that decade, there was an all-female fire brigade that did the same amount of work as their male counterparts.