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Firefighter questions?

Discussion in 'Jobs & Careers' started by FLtaco, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. Jul 13, 2011 at 2:09 PM
    #1
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    When I was a child I always thought about becoming a firefighter but eventually lost sight of it when I discovered welding and the money I could make at it. But as we all know the economy isn't best for construction related jobs. So I've been considering becoming a firefighter for a bit of job security and for filling my childhood dream.

    So I have a few questions for you firefighting tw members. One, how do I go about this the proper way(starting my firefighting career)? Are the expensive firefighting schools necessary ? Or is there a cheaper more hands on approach way of doing it(getting a job at a local station and start from scratch)? Sorry if I sound stupid I've been researching all day online and only see pricey schools and what not so I figured I'd ask some real firefighters opinions.
    Also how's the work schedule? Do you like your job? Does the job pay alright? And probably more questions to come.
     
  2. Jul 13, 2011 at 3:31 PM
    #2
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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  3. Jul 13, 2011 at 3:37 PM
    #3
    Blackshirts

    Blackshirts Well-Known Member

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    Im not in the fire department but I think the rules differ from town to town or state to state.

    Here in San Antonio, Texas there is an exam you have to take. And there are books at the local library that can help you study but from what I hear its mostly memorization. For example they give you a picture to look at for 1 min then ask 30 questions about that picture. Then there is the physical part of the exam.
     
  4. Jul 13, 2011 at 3:54 PM
    #4
    DeeKay21

    DeeKay21 Lieutenant Dan.

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    I'm not sure how it is in your town/county but if you have volunteer fire depts, it would be best to go talk with them and see if you could join their department. That would be a good way to get your foot in the door. Your def going to want to take an EMT-B course somewhere cause a lot of departments looking for full-timers wont even accept your app if your not at least and EMT-Basic. These days most are looking for at least intermediates or paramedics. If all the depts around you are career stations, go talk to them anyways and see where to start cause a lot of depts do things in certain ways and if you want to stay/live in that same area, might as well start off on the right foot.;)
     
  5. Jul 13, 2011 at 4:03 PM
    #5
    gunner_20

    gunner_20 ...

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    Im in police officer and I know training and standards vary from state to state in my profession. I would recommend stopping by one of you local fire stations and just talk to them about it. Make a list of question before you get there so you dont forget anything.

    I found this website and I don't know if it will be much help for you...

    http://www.fsfa.com/

    My cousin is a FF and loves it. His department works 24 hrs on, 48 hrs off. That is the norm here in SW Missouri. Most departments here require Firefighter 1&2, Hazmat Operator, EMT before you can even apply.

    Good Luck
     
  6. Jul 13, 2011 at 4:07 PM
    #6
    SurfInferno

    SurfInferno Dont be stupid, its not smart.

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    volunteer, EMT, test everywhere, and when i say everywhere i mean dont be afraid to fly to a different state to take a test. If you dont get the job you get the experience. Dont get discouraged, and do not listen to anyone telling you to quit or the statistics of how hard it will be to get a job because those are the people who are not going to get a job.

    Another thing, do not do it for the money.
     
  7. Jul 13, 2011 at 4:22 PM
    #7
    1969novaguy

    1969novaguy Well-Known Member

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    I went through Santa Ana College in California. Took all of the fire technology classes, got my EMT certification and went through Santa Ana's Fire Academy. Going though the fire academy was one of the most fun experiences I have ever done. I graduated in June of last year. I've been testing locally in California but I'm going through the interview process right now with Austin, Tx. I would recommend going through an academy first just so you know what your going to be dealing with.
     
  8. Jul 13, 2011 at 4:55 PM
    #8
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for info gentleman. I'm most certainly not doing it for the money just wondering if it pays enough to live on or if I'd be looking at a second job
     
  9. Jul 14, 2011 at 6:46 AM
    #9
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Bump for anyone else with some more info
     
  10. Jul 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM
    #10
    jobrien

    jobrien shit happens then you die

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    Here's the thing, find a local station that you really have in mind. Go there and show your face, talk to the guys, get some good info, and eventually start asking if you can ride out with them so you can see how it all goes down alot of departments when they start hiring like to go with familiar faces, faces they've seen before. If you find out that you really like it (because its not for everyone) then you can start applying. All in the meantime get some schooling done like your emt and fire classes and possibly an academy. But dont stop there continue with your education to become a paramedic and possibly a bachelor's degree and beyond. Remember you gotta be better than the guy sitting next to you. But it all starts with a "Hi my name is _____, and im interested in the fire service"
     
  11. Jul 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM
    #11
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thank you sir. This will be my first step then. I don't know if I should hold off though for a month or go ahead now. The wifes due in mid august and I'm making mad money welding but this job ends in a month or so with no more work in sight. You know what I answered my own question I believe. May swell get a start on it now.
     
  12. Jul 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM
    #12
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks again for info. It's definitely something I want to continue to try to accomplish in my future. The job is a very heroic job and has always intrigued me sence a young age. I can't wait to update this thread oneday letting everyone know of my new career.
     
  13. Jul 15, 2011 at 12:57 AM
    #13
    jobrien

    jobrien shit happens then you die

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    no problem buddy always here to lend a helping hand for a fellow tw member and possibly a future fire brother
     
  14. Jul 15, 2011 at 5:39 AM
    #14
    Hunter500ky

    Hunter500ky Well-Known Member

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    ^ Good advice, test anywhere. I might be flying to AZ to test... It all depends on how bad YOU want the job.

    Eh, I didn't go through a *Academy*, I am going to school for a Bach degree in Emergency manage Services with a Concentration in Fire. I am on a Volly Department though. Plus if the department your getting on wants you to go through one they will put you through one.

    ^ Great GREAT advice! I train with our local departments and hope it will give me the upper hand because they already know me and I know how they work.

    Dont ever stop learning if you stop learning and stop training you need to take a look at whats going on.

    Dont do it to be a Hero (not saying thats what you said). You have to have (IMO) a drive to become a Firefighter/police officer/EMS.




    You might want to get on a Volly department if they have one and train with them see if you like it. I have heard stories of people going through there training then going inside a building and freaking out.

    I love being a firefighter I take my test for a paid department in 3 weeks, then another one in 4 weeks. I train daily for multiple reasons.

    1) The better I do on the test, the greater my chances.
    2) I need to know everything I can.
    3) I do not want to be another statistic by having a heart attack.

    The reason I list #3 is because I have read about so many FF's having heart attacks, and then it hit home when a local FF had a heart attack... He didn't make it. There were over 100 fire trucks and 400 personal that attended his funeral. RIP

    I will not let the fire take me or a heart attack.


    I love everything I do, I love every call we go on. No matter if its noon or 3am..




    Anyway it all comes down to, how bad do you want it? This is my dream, my passion, and I will become a paid firefighter. Being paid for what I love to do, I can only imagine!


    Good luck!
     
  15. Jul 15, 2011 at 6:12 AM
    #15
    CanisLupus

    CanisLupus Previously "MGMTacoFF"

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    These guys have some great advice. This isn't meant to push you away or anything but you should try and start volunteering at a local volly station and see if you really like it. There are a lot of people who have a very different image of what we do and then when you start doing it, you end up not liking it. But I really hope you do because being a firefighter is one of the most rewarding and challenging careers you can choose. I'm not a paid firefighter so I don't know too much about the "career" side of it but I do know the challenges and rigors of the training it takes to become one. Be sure you want to do it and when you do, go balls to the wall (with safety in mind!) and become the best.

    GOOD LUCK,

    Matt
     
  16. Jul 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM
    #16
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yea not doing to be a hero. it's what I think when I see firemen on a way to a call, heroic people

    It's just always been a job I've wanted to have. And I am not the type to think about doing something and failing to accomplish(not saying anyone is saying that). When I get a goal in mind I'm heart set on accomplishing it.
    And this is one I want to accomplish. I'm going to look into the nearest volunteer station and see if I can get some time in on the weekends or something for at least some FaceTime and hands on learning before I start school. So when I finish school my name and work ethics will hopefully be well known amongst them.
    I thank you all again for your responses to my questions and very helpful comments.
    Thank you
     
  17. Jul 22, 2011 at 6:17 AM
    #17
    FireGuy

    FireGuy Member

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    Forgive me if I repeat anything that has been said already.....

    I'm in South Florida and work the a pretty big Fire Department so the way we hire is completely different than most smaller FD. In Florida, most Departments run over 75% EMS calls (don't quote me on that number) and the rest is fires, car accidents, picking up old ladies from the floor etc....

    Very few places will hire you with no certifications like EMT, Paramedic, or State of Florida Firefighter. I know of only 2 Departments one is Miami Dade and the other is Palm Beach County but that might have changed. There might be a few up north but the reality is majority of these FD want to applicants to have their Fire Cert and EMT license.

    If I were I would enroll in a EMT class and see if you like it. You get to ride along with Fire Rescue and you get to see a small picture of what this job is about. Try enrolling with a community college because the other vocational schools tend to cost way more! Central Florida Fire Academy should be close to you. That could be another option to go also. In the end it doesn't matter what fire school you went to, all you want is the State of Florida EMT and Fire cert. Most places won't even let you apply without that. If your a Paramedic/ Firefighter that even BETTER! Your more likely to get picked up faster and can apply to other departments that hire only Fire Medics. Just be aware most schools have a waiting list to get in Fire School. There aren't too many Fire Schools around.

    The only thing going against you now is the economy. With the home values going down and tax cuts most FD budget are getting striped every year. That means less hiring, less pay (pay cuts), and less guys retiring. Don't let this discourage you just apply everywhere in the State and keep your record clean! This is the best job in the World, hopefully you will enjoy as you go to school.

    Good Luck! I'm off to sleep now....


    p.s.
    If you want to talk to some guys at the Fire Station take a drive to the City Of Orlando. They are very traditional Fire Department and I'm sure will lead you in the right way!
     
  18. Jul 22, 2011 at 6:38 AM
    #18
    TacoTabe

    TacoTabe Well-Known Member

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    How do I go about starting my firefighting career?

    -Accept that your homo-erotic jokes, inflated ego 'hero' bullshit and desire to spend 24-hour long periods 'bonding' with other guys makes you gay.

    Are the expensive firefighting schools necessary ? Or is there a cheaper more hands on approach way of doing it(getting a job at a local station and start from scratch)?

    -This depends on the department. Most in South Florida require you to be Firefighter and Paramedic, but down here you can do this at a community college

    Also how's the work schedule?

    Awesome. Who wouldn't want to work 9 days a month?

    Do you like your job?

    This depends on the person. Do you think you will like doing nothing but sleeping, eating, working out, being gay, and occasionally showing up to a burning building only to find out that everyone has been evacuated already and the police (who were the first to show up) have already performed 1st aid, leaving you to only get out your hose and damage someone's house even more than the fire itself?

    Does the job pay alright?

    Most firefighters I know are sittin pretty, between the pay from their 'job' and the work they do on their off days. Though I will say the Fire Departments down here seem to get hit with pay/pension cuts before Police does, so the pay down here is a little less than police at most departments (i think).



    Seriously though, Firefighting seems like it'd be a cool job. If I could do everything all over again I'd probly be a firefighter and just be a reserve/part time police officer
     
  19. Jul 22, 2011 at 4:40 PM
    #19
    FLtaco

    FLtaco [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Thanks I guess? Have to love how there's always some rude lowlife to comment on almost any post on tw. The kind of people who ruin a good thing
     
  20. Jul 22, 2011 at 5:52 PM
    #20
    Turp

    Turp Well-Known Member

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    It is nothing less than a fulfilling career, that I feel blessed to be a part of. I have enjoyed the learning environment which provides members the opportunity to develop decision-making abilities where complex incidents are evaluated, strategies developed, and decisive action taken. I like being part of a team charged with resolving a wide spectrum of emergencies that really very few public safety agencies cover. Firefighters respond to Fire, EMS, Technical Rescue, Hazard Materials, Vehicle, Water, and a multitude of public service calls. Each incident type is a specialty in itself.

    As much as it's great to help others and experience adrenaline pumping emergencies, there are often sad and unpleasant experiences. The truth is, while many emergency incidents are minor, there are also quite a number where Firefighters are called when someone is having the worst day of their life. You deal with a lot

    Yes, it has a unique culture and, yes there is some pointed/raw humor at times. Along with that there is a special bond/fraternity that is built on mutual respect. The strongest of those are built by firefighters with similar backgrounds and experiences.

    How do I go about starting my firefighting career?

    I'd check with various paid departments. Most have some type of recruitment/marketing. I'd also talk to some career members with experience. Be careful to be objective because you can find disgruntled people anywhere. I would suggest like others to check out volunteer opportunities. This is a good way to get your feet wet, but once again be objective because various organizations are different. Each has its own culture.

    Are the expensive firefighting schools necessary ? Or is there a cheaper more hands on approach way of doing it(getting a job at a local station and start from scratch)?

    I'm not sure about your region, but most volunteer or career members can provide guidance for your region. Also check your state fire training organization. This site may help:http://www.myfloridacfo.com/sfm/bfst/bfst_index.htm

    Also how's the work schedule?
    We work a 24hr shift on a 21day cycle. Our schedule essentially staggers 7 work days during the 21 day cycle so we have various amounts of time off during the cycle which includes a 5 day off-duty period running from Thurs to Mon. Some departments work a straight 1 on 2 off; meaning you work a 24hr shift and then are off 48hrs. You can see various shifts on fire service sites.

    Do you like your job?

    Love it.

    Does the job pay alright?

    The compensation is pretty fair, but the pay and benefits packages can be less competitive depending on the region. I guess the bottom line is you can make a decent living, and any more than that can come from extra curricular work.

    What I have found is that members who watch the clock and measure their performance and initiative with their paycheck are not the people who garnered respect as Firefighters.


    Lastly and more importantly. Family

    Married, Children....? How is the schedule going to affect them. You don't always get leave or vacation time at your discretion just to be off Christmas, Thanksgiving, or likewise. You will miss things. You learn to accept it, sometimes. But it comes with the territory. However a great schedule also allows more time to be with family during the day, especially children on break from school.

    Also you can potentially have some "mental baggage" from the job. It affect people differently to varying degrees.

    You have asked and that is enough for me to encourage you to pursue more information. Feel free to PM me if I can be further help.
     
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