‘It’s a thinking athlete’s job,’ What it takes to be a firefighter

HONOLULU(KHON2) — It’s a job that combines brains and brawn. According to the Honolulu Fire Department, only about 5% of people who apply to become a firefighter actually go all the way.

Firefighters respond to fires, rescues, chemical spills — just about every kind of emergency imaginable.

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But KHON2 wanted to know what it really takes to be a firefighter; so, HFD gave one of our anchors, Jenn Boneza, a crash course in recruit training.

Testing her ability to scale ladders and operate the hose.

Battalion Chief Michael Jones, with HFD’s training and research bureau, said it’s a thinking athlete’s job.

“We can’t just put the brute-force guys out there and get the job done,” Jones explained. “We have to operate in dangerous environments, which obviously requires guys to be smart and to be able to think on their feet.”

So, training, drills and repetition are key.

Boneza started her training with CPR. After a quick demo, she had to do chest compressions for two minutes.

Next she got suited up.

Firefighters have exactly one minute to change out of their station uniform into their structural PPE, because in an emergency every second counts.

It took Boneza a minute and 25 seconds to get all the gear on.

Then, she climbed up the ladder to the bucket that was lifted 85 feet into the air.

All that gear added an extra 50 pounds, limiting mobility.

Firefighter Jake Brower demonstrated some techn