8 Important Personality Traits for Every Firefighter

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8 Important Personality Traits for Every Firefighter

Firefighting demands everything from those who pursue it as a career. Physical strength, skills, knowledge, and mental acuity. But firefighting demands even more than that. It also requires a selection of personality traits that make the firefighter more effective and emotionally flexible in the face of tremendous danger and potential tragedy.

If you’re considering a wildland firefighting career, take stock of the following and think of ways you can sharpen, enhance, and otherwise develop them in yourself. Explore eight important personality traits every firefighter must have to help others, survive, and work well with their crew.


Courage is a big one, of course, but it’s not just about being foolhardy and rushing into a blaze with no regard for your life. Courage is about keeping cool in the face of danger and keeping your wits about you. It means being prepared for anything, therefore keeping yourself alert, ready to act, and nimble and loose. Courage is about developing a calm, composed, and serene attitude and being aware of the threat without letting it control you.

Face your fears if you want to build up courage, starting small and working up to and against the bigger ones. Consistently confronting, challenging, and overcoming fear can build up your overall bravery and resilience, making you a more effective firefighter.


Toughness has its place when times are rough, but so does tenderness. Having a sense of compassion is vital for anyone working in the emergency response world.

In the course of your duties, you’ll encounter a lot of sadness. Fires bring out people’s vulnerability, especially when they’re watching their lives, homes, or the surrounding environment go up in smoke and flames. You may need to rescue individuals, creatures, and gorgeous patches of natural beauty. That work requires a big heart, tremendous patience, and a sense of duty toward helping people in the throes of despair, even when you feel vulnerable yourself. Increase your sense of compassion by getting to know the land and those who live in and around it.


The old saying is that teamwork makes the dream work. A firefighter is only as good as their team, and building a sense of camaraderie is vital when the chips are down. Become a team player by maintaining good communication with the rest of your crew. Work together by maintaining equipment, conducting training and drills, and sharing your skills and training with one another.

In your off-time, build teamwork in yourself and your fellow firefighters through organizing outings, team sports, and other activities that require coordination, communication, and trust. Show that you work well together and can count on one another.


Every fire is the same and yet different. In the thick of the battle, you need to be able to make calculations and decisions at a moment’s notice. It could save your life or someone else’s or serve to stop a blaze from growing out of control. Learn how to think on your feet, even during a big blaze, and develop simple solutions to complex problems.

Stay sharp and ready to figure out seemingly impossible situations by keeping abreast of changes in firefighting technology and training. Learn more about the subject through independent study and speaking with attending presentations offered by experts. In the meantime, keep your mind focused and honed through playing strategy games, putting together puzzles and figuring out crosswords and other critical thinking pastimes in your spare time. It might sound irrelevant, but an engaged mind is a ready one.


Is physical strength a personality trait? Not so much, but a fit body reflects a healthy mind, and a healthy mind requires discipline. Wildland firefighting is a challenging, sometimes punishing job. It demands a fit and healthy body possessed of great strength, resilience, and flexibility. Carrying heavy equipment, rescuing people and wildlife, and generally surviving a consistently threatening situation require a strong body, and that requires discipline.

Strengthen your sense of discipline even as you strengthen your body through a regular exercise regimen, cardiovascular training, a balanced diet, and plenty of rest and mindfulness. In short, discipline leads to survival.



Are you the same person you were 10, 20, or even 30 years ago? Probably not. As you lived, life taught you and changed you—likely for the better. You adapted, and through adaptation, you discovered how to survive and get the most out of life.

Adaptability, of course, carries over to a wildland fire. Things change—quickly—and adaptability helps you change strategies and find solutions swiftly. Improving your ability to adapt makes you a better firefighter because you’re ready to pivot as needed. It also makes you more amenable to changes in technology, training, firefighting methods, and more. Strengthen your adaptability by frequently leaving your comfort zone to adapt to new surroundings, trying new things, and generally remaining open to input from others.


We’ve mentioned resilience a few times already, but let’s underscore what it is and why you need it. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from troubles and face them again, refreshed and ready for action. Resilience helps you to remain clear-headed and emotionally balanced as you perform your duties.

This is not to say it’s always easy to bounce back or that emotions need to remain in check before, after, and even during the fire. But you can build resilience through stress-relief techniques. Engage in meditation and mindfulness exercises. Exercise often, and include an occasional foray into calming practices such as yoga or tai chi.


Always remember, this isn’t a regular nine-to-five job. Your community and your fellow firefighters trust you with a position that regularly deals with matters of life and death. Firefighters should be role models and must act ethically and with great integrity. Maintain that high standard by remembering who you are and what your duties involve and aligning your actions to support and underline them. Stay accountable to yourself and your community, and make sure you’re worthy of their trust and admiration.

Those are just eight important personality traits for every firefighter. Surely there are others, but these eight act as a solid foundation. Practice the above suggestions to solidify the already present personality traits you possess that brought you to this career in the beginning!

The Supply Cache is an online fire supply store that provides the equipment and other materials wildland firefighters require to safely perform their duties. Contact us for more information about how we can help you and your crew work better together!

8 Important Personality Traits for Every Firefighter