Can You Be a Firefighter with Asthma? 

   When you are seeking a new career, you will often have many questions about the qualifications you will need to meet. This can be especially true if you have any medical disabilities like asthma and you are seeking to obtain a very physical job, like being a firefighter. Being a firefighter is an extremely rewarding job, but it is also very tough physically. Due to the elements, you are exposed to, some may not think you can be a firefighter if you have asthma. However, we have the correct answer and all the guidelines you need to know. 

You can qualify as a firefighter if you have asthma. Most cities do not have anything against a firefighter having asthma. However, many areas do have physical qualifications that you must meet to be a firefighter. In many cases, this will also include taking a breathing test to ensure that you can meet the physical endurance needed to be a firefighter. Without passing the breathing test, you may not be able to be a firefighter. 


Passing a Breathing Test to Become a Firefighter 

The majority of areas have a physical test that a potential firefighter must pass in order to qualify to become a firefighter. The physical test is to make sure that you are capable of fulfilling your job responsibilities as a firefighter. Being a firefighter can be a very demanding job that can test you and your body to an extreme. The physical test helps you know what will be expected of you in your potential new job responsibilities. 

Can You Be a Firefighter with Asthma? 

A breathing test is part of the physical test for firefighters in most areas. The breathing test makes sure that you can breathe properly and get an appropriate amount of airflow on a consistent basisJust because you have asthma doesn’t mean you will automatically fail the breathing test. It may depend on how severe your asthma is. We recommend checking in with your doctor to get any advice on the breathing test and to get an update on the severity of your asthma. A doctor can give medical advice on how you should proceed. 

Passing the breathing test is critical in most areas in order to qualify as a firefighter. If you pass the breathing test and it shows that you can get the appropriate amount of airflow, then your asthma will not disqualify you from becoming a firefighter in most areas.  

However, if you do not pass the breathing test, then you will likely have a difficult time qualifying to become a firefighter in many areas. This is to both keep you safe and to keep everyone else safe in the case of a fire. A lot of lives can be put in danger if you can’t get the required amount of airflow when you are fighting a fire. 

If you pass the breathing test and the department still disqualifies you from the position for having asthma, the department can technically get in trouble for discriminating against a medical disability. As long as you can show that your breathing is sufficient for the position, your asthma should not stop you from becoming a firefighter or any other type of civil servant. You can take legal action if they disqualify you specifically for your asthma. 


Precautions for Being a Firefighter with Asthma 

Although you can technically become a firefighter with asthma, there are precautions you need to be aware of if you choose to pursue this career field. Being a firefighter can expose you to many elements that may trigger your asthma and cause an asthma attack. It is essential to be extremely aware of your triggers and do your best to avoid an attack, especially while on the job and fighting a dangerous fire! 

Can You Be a Firefighter with Asthma? 

Some common triggers for asthma are stress, smoke, exercise, and allergies. While being a firefighter, you can face many of these on the job. However, you can take steps to decrease these triggers and make your duties as a firefighter easier. The first step is staying fit. By staying physically fit and exercising (within reason) regularly, it increases your lung capacity. This will help you while you are on the job because your lungs will be more likely to be able to handle the amount of exercise included in your job duties.

Another step you can take is reducing the number of toxins you are exposed to on a daily basis. Although getting rid of all toxins and allergens is often not possible, you can still do your best to reduce them as much as you can. You can do this by changing some of the soaps, shampoos, and laundry detergents you use at home. By being exposed to fewer allergens and toxins, you will likely be able to breathe easier and be faced with fewer asthma attacks. 

One more important part about being a firefighter with asthma is being able to recognize your signs when an asthma attack may be about to happen. This is especially critical when you are on the job and fighting a fire. By recognizing your early signs, you can take the safety measures needed to prevent an asthma attack from happening. This will both keep you safe and also help you save the lives of others. 


Other Qualifications Required to Become a Firefighter 

Other than passing a breathing test, there are other qualifications that you will need to obtain before becoming a firefighter. The basic qualifications include being at least 18 years old, having a valid driver’s license, and obtaining at least a high school diploma. 

Along with the breathing test, you will also have to complete many other physical, written, and medical exams. It is important for firefighters to be physically fit and able to keep up with the tough demands of the job. In many areas, you will also have to pass a drug test and can not have a criminal record as well. 

Once you have passed the basic qualifications, you will have to go through various different tests and exams. This is when you will likely participate in the physical exam (where you will take a breathing test) and the written exam. These exams are all required before you get approved to proceed in the interviewing process.  

One thing you need to keep in mind is that some areas will require you to obtain an EMT license (Emergency Medical Technician) before you can qualify to become a firefighter. In some areas, you may even need experience as an EMT. To find out the qualifications for your specific area, we recommend reaching out to your local fire department to see what they require. 

Can You Be a Firefighter with Asthma? 

Depending on the area you live in, you may start some of your early training at a Fire Academy. While attending the academy, you have a chance to learn a large amount of the basic fundamentals of being a firefighter. During this phase, you will focus a lot on the classroom type skills that you will need for your future career. 

Having asthma does not mean you can’t become a firefighter. However, there are many guidelines and safety measures you should take to help you stay safe and healthy while on the job. Being a firefighter is one of the most rewarding careers out there. You get the opportunity to know that you are saving the lives of many! 

Curious about more requirements? Check out this article:


Related Questions

What schooling is required to become a firefighter? 

Becoming a firefighter requires less schooling than you may expect. In many areas, you can technically qualify to become a firefighter with only a high school diploma. You will also need a valid driver’s license. Along with a diploma, you’ll need to pass a variety of different physical, written, and medical exams before qualifying as well. 

One thing that you may want to keep in mind is getting college education can help your chances of advancing as a firefighter. Many advanced and higher positions may only be available to those who have a minimum of two years of college education or a college degree. 


What type of salary can I expect if I want to become a firefighter? 

The salary of a firefighter will largely depend on your experience and the specific area that you live in. For most areas, the starting salary of a firefighter starts at around $30,000 per year. If your area has an extremely high demand for firefighters, it is likely that the starting salary will be much higher as well. 

In the United States, the average salary for a firefighter ranges around $45,000 per year. You want to keep in mind that as you increase your experience and education, you will likely be able to receive a higher salary as a firefighter too. 


Is there a large demand for firefighters? 

When you are deciding on a new career, you will likely want to ensure that there is a decent amount of demand for your potential new position. This is very accurate for potential new firefighters as well! The answer is yes, there is a large demand for firefighters! 

Most cities need a considerable amount of firefighters to protect the area. If you live in an area that is especially prone to wildfires (like California), the demand for firefighters will be even higher. Being a firefighter is position that will always be needed, no matter what our economy may be like. Our communities will never survive without firefighters. 

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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.