A firefighter or "smoke-beater" is a person who is trained and equipped to put out fires, rescue people, and in some areas provide emergency medical services. The fire service, also known in some countries as the fire brigade or fire department, is one of the emergency services. Firefighters are sometimes referred to as firemen, although women have increasingly joined firefighting units.
Firefighter exiting structure fire. Fire fighting is the process and profession of extinguishing fires. Firefighting is important in urban areas, where firefighters are on constant standby, in wildland areas, and on board ships. Not all firefighters are paid for their services. In some countries, including the United States, Canada, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand, there are often paid, or professional, firefighters working alongside volunteer firefighters. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the use of retained firefighters (who are part-time, but are paid when on duty) rather than volunteers is standard.
The three main goals in firefighting are the protection of life, the environment and property, in that order. When a life is not in danger, a firefighter must weigh the costs and benefits of protecting property and the environment. Is it logical to risk your life in an attempt to put the fire out in a gasoline storage warehouse or would it be more productive and safe to evacuate the area and prevent the explosion from harming anyone? This is the core of a firefighter's thought process as they evaluate any and all situations. Of course when a life is at risk, all attempts are made to save it.