The Difference Between Firefighter 1 and 2 | FirefighterNOW (2023)

What is the difference between Firefighter 1 and 2? It’s a common question from those that are interested in becoming a firefighter.

You’d probably be surprised to know that a few extra hours of training could have a huge impact on your future career as a firefighter.

So, what is the difference between firefighter 1 and 2? The difference lies in the amount of traininghours as well as the topics covered. Thesetopics include fire behavior, firefighting theory, practical training with tools,ladder training and many more.

The job requires a lot of different skills and areas ofexpertise that you won’t get anywhere else.

This means many hours of training to reach that level of proficiency with the equipment, to understand the best tactics and to appreciate the finer details of the role.

In this article, I want to take you on a journey from theday you apply for training to the day you are considered a fully qualifiedfirefighter.

It all starts with the requirements for signing up fortraining in the first place.

Then I will discuss the training content, hours of study andexams of Firefighter 1 training.

From there, I will move onto Firefighter 2 training and itsadvanced content.

This also means a chance to discuss the benefits ofcontinuing your training from a professional point of view.

Let’s start with the requirements for applicants.

Table of Contents

What are therequirements to become a firefighter?

The good news for those looking to join is that there aren’ttoo many restrictions on who can sign up.

(Video) IFSTA Firefighter 1 and 2 Practice Exams and EMT Basic -

To apply for training, you need to be 18 years old (or older), with a valid driver’s license and no damaging criminal convictions.

If you meet these criteria you will then have to go througha training program, pass your exam, pass a drugs test and complete a physicalexamination.

The physical exam ensures that you capable of handling thephysical requirements of the job. Some pre-existing disabilities and medicalconditions could prohibit you from signing up.

Anything that makes you a liability is an issue for everyoneon the scene of an incident.

The drug test is also important to show that you have nosubstance abuse issues.

How many hours ofstudy are required to complete firefighter training?

New trainees should also be aware that the minimum hours ofstudy can vary from state to state.

Some regions will require a lot more time in the classroomor more hands-on training than others.

A couple of examples…

Where I work, Ohio, I am a Firefighter 2. Here we commonly refer to the certification asa “240”. This is because in the state ofOhio to become a firefighter 2 you must complete 240 hours of initial training.(In the past few years the requirement has been increased to 260 hours).

Florida’s academies call for a minimum of 206 hours of training.

This is a significant amount when you add up all the different sessions. But, fire academies providers need to be sure that trainees are fully prepared for what is ahead of them.

Firefighter 1 Training.

All new firefighter recruits will start with Firefighter 1 training.

This certification is designed to provide trainees with allof the basic knowledge they need about operations and methods on a fire department.This means both theoretical training on strategies and principles in firefightingand practical training with equipment.

Think of a firefighter 1 certification as the most basiclevel of what you need to know to be a proficient firefighter.


Trainees will spend a lot of time in the classroom learningabout different aspects of fire safety and fire suppression methods.

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This includes different techniques they will use whendealing with different types of fires.

They will learn lots of methods for various situationsincluding car accidents, fuel tank fires, house fires, issues with hazardouswaste and entrapment. This could also include methods for extracting victims,providing ventilation and more.

The theoretical training in the classroom will also coversome of the more mundane but equally important lessons.

Firefighters need to understand the basics of health andsafety codes when working on fire scenes.

They can’t do anything that might compromise the security ofanyone at the scene. They will also learn about the basics of hazardousmaterials and the right tools to use to extinguish them.

All of the most basic knowledge about the job ensures that recruits can join a team more cohesively.

Practical Skills

A lot of the skills that firefighter trainees learn arepractical. These are typically split between knowledge of gear and equipmentand knowledge of standard operating procedures on a fire scene.

Firefighters have to deal with a lot of tools and items ofgear during their day. This means a lot of protective gear to keep them safe ina fire as well as tools used for tasks like fire suppression and forcible entry.

Recruits must be able to put on their protective clothing, air packs and masks securely and take them off without damage. This also needs to be done quickly to keep their response time low.

As for the practical skills on-site, firefighters must show that they can handle themselves during a fire. They will learn how to use hoses and other fire suppression equipment to deal with a blaze.

The final exam.

Once trainees have completed all of the hours required, theyneed to pass their exams.

Exam subjects include the ability to put on their gearcorrectly, demonstrate basic skills like knot tying and practical tests likeventilation and forced entry.

Applicants usually need a minimum passing score of 70% to proceed (this can also vary depending on the fire academy you attend).

Those that pass their exams are now qualified to work as a firefighterin your state.

(Video) First day of full bunker gear, firefighter 1 school

That being said, there are still some restrictions on whatrecruits can do. Some departments will keep Level 1 graduates on a tight leashbecause they only have a basic education.

Others will insist that they continue with their training ifthey want to be a fully active member of the department.

Some trainees that want volunteer roles or lower-levelplacements may be able to get by with Level 1 training alone.

However, most full-time departments will expect front linecrew members to have advanced knowledge and training.

Now begins your Firefighter 2 training.

What are the specific differences between Firefighter 1 and 2?

There’s actually a pretty big difference between these two certifications.

The former ensures that recruits know the basics about theirrole on duty. It is only typically enough to allow them to work under tightsupervision or for volunteer departments.

The latter (firefighter 2) is far more advanced and usuallyrequired for advancement through the different ranks in the fire service.

Trainees can learn a wider range of operations skills thatwill help them on a fire scene.

This includes further training on fire damage mitigation,how to rescue people from the scene and how to use the best equipment for thejob.

Trainees will also learn about communication methods andwhat to do after the fire is out.

Essentially, recruits get to build on everything theylearned and take their skills to the next level.

Every fire or accident is unique with its own victims, risk factors and environmental influences. Teams need to use their theoretical and practical skills to find the best solutions and follow current guidelines.

The more that firefighters know about equipment, operationaltactics and other key skills, the better the outcome on a job.

Firefighting is unpredictable. Crews have to think on theirfeet to tackle blazes as they develop. They also have to adapt to complicationswith new strategies.

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This advanced training means that crew members can look atoptions from different angles for an efficient response that may save lives.

This may also mean working against old standard practices infavor of modern solutions now taught in this Firefighter 2 training. I promise at some point in your career youwill run into an older fireman who will tell you that you must do something becausethat’s the way it has always been done.

It also helps if firefighter trainees receive some first aid training.

Depending on the academy you attend or the state requirements this can be as simple as basic CPR or as advanced as getting your EMT-Basic certification.

This is important as some stations may even demand thatstaff are certified as emergency medical technicians.

For example, where I work in Ohio, you are required to haveboth a firefighter 2 certification as well as be a Paramedic in order to evenapply.

Career advancement with Firefighter 2 training.

All of this new knowledge is useful for those that want toadvance in their career and become the best firefighter possible.

I also want to take a moment to point out that Firefighter 2training also brings some extra perks in terms of your salary.

In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released thefollowing statistics about firefighter salaries.

Firefighters earned a median annual salary of $48,030, withthose in the 25th percentile earning $32,670 and those in the 75th percentileearning $64,870.

That’s a huge gap between the 25th and 75thpercentile. While there are many factorsthat can affect your salary, you education level and certification levels willcertainly play a big role.

Thus, it definitely pays to work towards completing your firefighter2 certification. Those that don’t may not be able to increase their earnings aswell in the future.

So if you’re someone who has been wondering what the difference is between Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certifications or which would be right for you, I highly recommend you pursue your firefighter 2 if at all possible.

Let’s go over some of those key points again.

All applicants must put in the time and effort to gain that70% score on their Firefighter 1 exams. This qualification opens the door tocareer opportunities within a station.

(Video) "Ask A Firefighter" Series: Part 1 of 2

From there, recruits can continue with Firefighter 2training to increase their skills and knowledge. This means further careeradvancement and usually an increase in pay.

Finally, if at all possible I would also highly suggest doing everything you can to acquiring an EMT-Basic or Paramedic certification. While it may not be your favorite, it will certainly help you stand out from other candidates during your firefighter interview.


What does fire fighter 2 mean? ›

The Firefighter Type 2 serves on a hand crew, engine crew, or helitack crew, performing fire suppression and fuels management duties in the most adverse climate, fuel, and terrain conditions.

What is a Type 1 firefighter? ›

The Firefighter Type 1 leads a small group (usually not more than seven members) and is responsible for their safety on wildland and prescribed fire incidents. The FFT1 supervises resources at the FFT2 level and reports to a Single Resource Crew Boss or other assigned supervisor.

What is the two in two out rule firefighting? ›

This provision requires that at least two employees enter the Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) atmosphere and remain in visual or voice contact with each other at all times. It also requires that at least two employees be located outside the IDLH atmosphere, thus the term, "two in/two out".

How many hours is NYS firefighter 1? ›

It is an 86-hour long course and includes materials from several courses that in the past were taught separately.

What is the difference between a Type 1 and Type 2 fire crew? ›

Crew Experience: 80% of the crew members on a hotshot crew have at least one year of experience. While the requirement for a Type 2 IA crew is only 60%. And for a standard, non-IA Type 2 crew, only 20% of the crew must be experienced. Also, it is mandatory that Type 1's train as a team.

What are the two types of firefighting? ›

There are two types of fire-fighting equipment: portable (eg fire extinguishers, fire blankets) and fixed systems (eg fire hydrants, sprinkler systems).
Dry powder systems are used to extinguish fires in:
  • solid combustibles.
  • flammable liquids.
  • gases.
  • flammable metals.

What do Class 1 firefighters do? ›

Firefighters are trained to control and put out fires. Firefighters must work quickly and as a team to keep fires from spreading. They connect hoses to fire hydrants and operate pumps to power the hoses to help control the fire. They may also need to rescue people who are trapped inside burning buildings.

What is a rank 1 fire? ›

Rank 1 – Smouldering ground fire.

What is a Type 2 IA? ›

Type 2 Initial Attack (IA), The U.S. Forest Service has crews that function as a normal Type 2 crews but can form into three or four separate squads of 4 – 6 people capable to initial attack fires separately with a qualified incident commander each.

What is the minimum number of firefighters needed to advance and maneuver a 2 1 2 handline inside a building? ›

What is the minimum number of fire fighters needed to advance and maneuver a 2 1/2 handline inside a building? At leased 3 team members are usually needed to advance and maneuver a 2 1/2 inch handline inside a building.

What are 2 fire safety and prevention guidelines? ›

Top Tips for Fire Safety
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. ...
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.

What are the 3 rules for fighting fires? ›

Try to rescue others only if you can do so safely. Move away from the building and out of the way of the fire department. Don't go back into the building until the fire department says it is safe to do so.

How many hours of sleep do firefighters get? ›

Thus, firefighters should be able to sleep for at least six to eight hours when they're on the job. On their days off, they can sleep for 10 or 12 hours or longer if they wanted to. Again though, we must stress that a firefighter is always on call, so their sleep can be interrupted even on a day off.

How long is NY fire Academy? ›

Step 5: Graduate From The Fire Academy

Successfully complete an 18-week classroom and physical fitness program that includes fire service training. Begin the career of a lifetime.

Can a firefighter work with one eye? ›

VISION: Uncorrected distance visual acuity of at least 20/100 in the poorer eye and 20/40 in the better eye, correctable to at least 20/40 in one eye and 20/20 in the other eye is required.

What is the difference between a Type 1 and Type 2 Incident Management team? ›

There are two types of incident management teams (IMTs). As a general rule, type 1 national teams manage the most complex fires. Type 2 teams generally manage less complex wildland fires.

What is a Type 2 fire truck? ›

A Type 2 truck is an ideal fire truck to arrive on scene first to start fire extinguishing tasks until more support arrives. Much like a Type 1 engine, a Type 2 engine typically carries 3 or 4 firefighters.

What is a Type 3 fire crew? ›

b) Type 3 organizations manage initial attack fires with a significant number of resources, an extended attack fire until containment/control is achieved, or an escaped fire until a Type 1 or 2 team assumes command.

What are the different levels of firefighters? ›

Firefighter Ranks: Full List
  • Volunteer firefighter.
  • Probationary firefighter.
  • Firefighter/EMT.
  • Firefighter/Paramedic.
  • Driver Engineer.
  • Lieutenant.
  • Captain.
  • Battalion Chief.

What are firefighters called? ›

Male firefighters are sometimes referred to as firemen (and, less commonly, a female firefighter as firewoman).

What are the 3 most common fires? ›

The 4 most common types of fire
  1. Kitchen fires. The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire. ...
  2. Electrical fires. ...
  3. Heater fires. ...
  4. Smoking-related fires.
May 14, 2018

What is a fire station for Class 2? ›

A fire station is a building where fire engines are kept, and where firefighters wait until they are called to put out a fire.

How much does a fire Officer 1 make? ›

The position of Fire Officer 1 is open to interested applicants throughout the Philippines. The Fire Officer 1 salary or base pay is Php 29,668 with other benefits.

What is a beginner firefighter called? ›

A probationary firefighter (PFF), also known as a rookie firefighter, a candidate firefighter, or probie, for short, is any firefighter in their first 6–18 months of service in a particular fire department. The title of probationary firefighter is generally the lowest rank in a fire department's rank structure.

What is the lowest rank of a firefighter? ›

Probationary Firefighter (PFF) – is an “at will” entry level position that is currently being trained and evaluated during their first 12 months of employment.

What are the 4 types of firefighters? ›

10 firefighter types
  • Volunteer firefighter.
  • Inspector.
  • Wildland firefighter.
  • Firefighter engineer.
  • Airport firefighter.
  • Firefighter/EMT.
  • Firefighter/paramedic.
  • Fire investigator.
Apr 5, 2021

What is the highest firefighter ranking? ›

Common titles include district chief, division chief, assistant chief, and deputy chief. Chief is usually the highest rank of a uniformed member in any given department, traditionally shown with 5 gold bugles or 5 stars.

What is a Type 1 hotshot crew? ›

Hotshot Crews are a Type 1 hand crew. They are the most experienced, fit, and highly trained of any of the Type 2, or Type 2 Initial Attack hand crews. The Bureau of Indian Affairs hosts seven Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHC).

What is a red card in firefighting? ›

The Incident Qualifications Card (Red Card) certification is necessary to become qualified for wildland fire operations. Obtaining a Red Card involves a combination of classroom training, a field exercise, and in some cases, physical fitness testing.

What is a Type 3 wildland firefighter? ›

Type 3. A water tender with a minimum pump capacity of 200 GPM. 1000-2500 gallon tank. GVWR greater than 26,000 pounds.

What are the 4 types of firefighters? ›

10 firefighter types
  • Volunteer firefighter.
  • Inspector.
  • Wildland firefighter.
  • Firefighter engineer.
  • Airport firefighter.
  • Firefighter/EMT.
  • Firefighter/paramedic.
  • Fire investigator.
Apr 5, 2021

Why do fire trucks have 2 drivers? ›

Tillers are trucks in which a firefighter at the back is able to steer the rear wheels, enabling the vehicle to make a sharper turn than it would otherwise be able to navigate.

What are the duties of a fire Fighter II at a technical rescue incident? ›

As a Firefighter II, you must be able to use emergency scene lighting equipment and manual and power-operated rescue tools. You must also perform vehicle extrications and assist specialized technical rescue personnel.

What are the 3 as of fire fighting? ›

Always remember the Three A's in case of a fire: Activate, Assist, Attempt.

What are the 7 types of fire? ›

Let's break down each of the 5 different classes of fires more thoroughly.
  • Class A Fires: “Ordinary” Fires. ...
  • Class B Fires: Liquids & Gases. ...
  • Class C Fires: Electrical Fires. ...
  • Class D Fires: Metallic Fires. ...
  • Class K Fires: Grease Fires or Cooking Fires. ...
  • Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher. ...
  • Complete Regular Training.
Jun 10, 2021

What are 5 things firefighters do? ›

Firefighters typically do the following:
  • Respond to emergencies.
  • Drive firetrucks and other emergency vehicles.
  • Put out fires using water hoses, fire extinguishers, and water pumps.
  • Find and rescue occupants of burning buildings or other emergency situations.
  • Treat sick or injured people.
Sep 8, 2022

What is a Type 6 fire crew? ›

Built on a tough, commercial 4x4 chassis, in a four-door configuration to carry additional crew, the Type 6 MUV provides greater capability for a wider range of fire and rescue operations. The Type 6 MUV has a payload capacity of 7,250 lbs. for water equipment and crew.

What is a Type 2 fire truck? ›

A Type 2 truck is an ideal fire truck to arrive on scene first to start fire extinguishing tasks until more support arrives. Much like a Type 1 engine, a Type 2 engine typically carries 3 or 4 firefighters.

Why are fire trucks pink? ›

So why would you paint a fire engine pink? The question has a really simple, albeit unusual, answer: You paint a fire engine pink to raise awareness for breast cancer research.

What does a pink firetruck mean? ›

Published: Oct.

What is the main duty of a firefighter 1? ›

To respond to fire alarms, medical emergencies, hazardous materials, urban rescue and other calls to protect life and property; to participate in fire prevention and training; and to maintain the fire station and firefighting equipment.

What is the most essential duty a firefighter performs? ›

The most important duties and responsibilities of a Firefighter position are being able to put out fires, helping the injured and keeping people safe in emergency situations.

What is the main role of a fire fighter? ›

A firefighter does more than put out fires. That's just one of many things that a firefighter does. Because as well as extinguishing flames and saving people from danger, a firefighter also helps with hazardous materials, road traffic incidents, medical emergencies, floods, and even rescues cats in trees (yes, really).

What are the 2 R's of fire safety? ›

The 2 R's of Fire Safety. Fire Awareness. Fire Prevention.

What is Code 3 fire? ›

Code 3: Non-urgent event, such as a previously extinguished fire or community service cases (such as animal rescue or changing of smoke alarm batteries for the elderly).

What are the 4 steps to fighting a fire? ›

The acronym PASS is used to describe these four basic steps.
  1. Pull (Pin) Pull pin at the top of the extinguisher, breaking the seal. ...
  2. Aim. Approach the fire standing at a safe distance. ...
  3. Squeeze. Squeeze the handles together to discharge the extinguishing agent inside. ...
  4. Sweep.


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