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Question for career firefighters

Discussion in 'Jobs & Careers' started by Forster46, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Jan 21, 2013 at 10:32 PM
    #21
    csuviper

    csuviper Tundra FTMFW Staff Member

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    PM Hoyola. He might have some good advice.
     
  2. Jan 21, 2013 at 10:48 PM
    #22
    Forster46

    Forster46 [OP] Very nice how much?

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    His name didn't pop up in the search.
     
  3. Jan 23, 2013 at 7:31 AM
    #23
    csuviper

    csuviper Tundra FTMFW Staff Member

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    Sorry its Hoyal. His name is Devin. Nice guy. Firefighter in Brighton, Co
     
  4. May 6, 2013 at 7:32 AM
    #24
    RearViewMirror

    RearViewMirror Saw things so much clearer once you... were in my

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    I noticed this thread is a couple of months old but I just found it so I thought I would give a little insight on our process.

    A little background. I work as a Captain on the busiest Truck Co. in the state for the Little Rock Fire Dept. in Little Rock AR. We serve a population of around 300k everyday. We have 23 stations with #24 and #25 being built. Our truck averages between 2500-3000 runs a year and we have the biggest district to cover in the city.

    Our hiring process goes like this. Basically we don't want anyone with prior experience as a Firefighter. We don't discourage people that have experience but that just means that we have to "un-train" them and train them back to our way of doing things. We are a extremely progressive Dept.

    First Step- Written testing. 70% pass/fail (70% is too low IMO but whatever)

    Second Step- Physical Ability test. (Very strenuous as it should be)

    Third Step- Oral assessment. (We give you 3 scenarios and you have to hit key points. More points you hit the higher your score)

    Forth Step- Placed on a list by your performance and hired off that list. (2 year list or until it runs out)

    It is a VERY competitive process with upwards of 1500-2000 people trying for maybe 30-40 positions over a 2 year period. List is certified to the top 50 at this time.

    If you are hired you will go through a 18 week recruit school and we will teach you everything you need to know. You will receive all your certs. (EMT, FF1, FF2, HazMat ops, etc.) After recruit school you are placed on company and are on probation for 1 year as a "at-will" employee. After probation you are covered by the Union if you choose to join (we have a few scabs but fuckem... that's a whole other story). You can retire with 93% of your salary after 28 years (I'll be 51 when I retire). Someone mentioned earlier about having a upper age requirement. This is the reason. If someone is 50 and they try out for the FD they would be 78 before they could retire. I'm 43 and the job is taking a toll on me. Imagine what it would be like for a 70 year old. They couldn't do it.

    I must warn you. If you are considering this career it is one of the most rewarding careers out there and you will make a good living. But it is one of the most dangerous and self destructive careers also. After 20 years PTSD has finally caught up with me and it gets harder to see people suffer and die in horrendous ways. You see the absolute worst of humanity but you also get to make a difference. I ruined my first marriage because of it. Luckily my second wife is more understanding.

    Just don't go into the service with the idea that I get to work one day on and then I get two days off. I can't stand the guys that are just there for the "T-Shirt".
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  5. May 24, 2013 at 1:12 PM
    #25
    Forster46

    Forster46 [OP] Very nice how much?

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    Sorry to read this a couple weeks late. I didn't see it until now. It's great to hear from someone in such a busy area with so much experience. I have heard a lot that prior experience isn't necessary because many departments like to train you themselves. I did do a small recruit school and almost have my fire 1 (just waiting to do a hazmat ops course) and I am just about done with emt school now. I'm just worried about how many people apply for the jobs versus how many spots there actually is. And if I have experience already (5 years volunteer plus certs) I'm afraid they will just pick people who they can train from the ground up. My moms best friend is a Chief or Captain (she doesn't know) for Everett, Wa and I was going to talk with him and do some ride alongs there. They hire a couple times a year and don't mind some prior experience. Seattle on the other hand has I think 33 stations and want you to do their recruit school, and hire twice a year.

    Couple questions. As for the hiring process, you say candidates are given 3 scenarios for an oral exam, what kind or scenarios do you mean? And is the written test just like a fire 1 test? Because I don't know how anyone would know that stuff until after they did recruit school, unless I am just confused and have it wrong.

    Thanks for the input, this was actually very helpful.
     
  6. May 24, 2013 at 1:40 PM
    #26
    RearViewMirror

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    As of right now we are in the middle of our second recruit school for this year. We don't have a set schedule of when we hire we just hire a class as needed. I'm quite honestly not sure when they will give another test since I don't really know when they gave the last one. You can check LittleRock.org and look under Fire Dept. HR "should" update it on the site but you might want to actually call to find out. You actually apply the day that you take the test. The way that they were doing it is you would get a study guide and study that then take the test. I'm not sure if they still do it that way or not. As far as the scenarios go they basically give you a situation and you have (IIRC) 3 mins to answer and you need to hit certain key points. I don't know what type of scenarios they give you since I didn't have to do that 20 years ago. Basically you want to remember "Safety First".

    As far as you being trained already it's no big deal. In fact that won't even factor into the hiring process at all. All that matters is how you score overall and then they place you on the list in that order.

    If I missed anything let me know and I'll do my best to answer it for you. :)
     
  7. May 30, 2013 at 11:38 PM
    #27
    Forster46

    Forster46 [OP] Very nice how much?

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    Well I just got an email yesterday saying Seattle is starting their hiring process :D although it goes until October, which is when testing begins. I guess that gives me tons of time to prepare? I'm gonna wait to apply until I'm done with EMT class in a few weeks, so I can have that officially on my application as well.
     
  8. May 31, 2013 at 8:59 AM
    #28
    RearViewMirror

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    Yeah, Seattle would be a good Dept to work for. I would imagine they would pay pretty well for a city that size.

    Good luck with your process!
     
  9. May 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM
    #29
    Forster46

    Forster46 [OP] Very nice how much?

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    I read online somewhere that both Seattle and Tacoma FD are in the top ten highest paying departments in the country. I think Seattle has somewhere like 33 stations around the city.
     
  10. Jun 1, 2013 at 3:27 AM
    #30
    RearViewMirror

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    Good deal! We're working on Stations 24 and 25 right now and should be done within the next year with those. I watched a show on Discovery Channel (I think) about the Seattle FD. and their Fire Boats. Pretty interesting stuff. Seattle looks like a beautiful town. I think I would like it there but then again I'm partial to cloudy days, rain, and coffee lol.

    Hope you're able to get on wherever you choose.

    Cheers!
     
  11. Jun 1, 2013 at 4:54 AM
    #31
    futuretacoowner

    futuretacoowner Well-Known Member

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    awesome thread!! I too am looking into going into the fire service,I am just finishing up my primary care paramedic course which is roughly equivalent to EMT-I in terms of scope of practice. The department that covers where I live is building a new station right now and is hiring, I do not think I would have a chance as they want already qualified people. Any more tips that would prepare me for firefighting?
     
  12. Jun 1, 2013 at 10:03 AM
    #32
    RearViewMirror

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    Remember this above all else:

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

    If you live by that and dedicate your career to that principle then you will have a rewarding career. Courage is not running into a burning building. Courage is knowing what needs to be done and knowing how to do it. Unfortunately, in some cases it's knowing what not to do and when to not do it. You will learn a very hard lesson in this career. You can not save everyone. In fact, in my career I have pulled 3 people out of burning structures (1 adult and 2 children) that are still alive today. The rest that I have pulled out are dead because of injuries suffered during the fire.

    I have done CPR on hundreds (possibly thousands) of people and officially saved 5. Truth be known, if you aren't there when they drop there is very little chance of saving someone. You have at most a 4-5 min window to get someone back (aside from freezing water). If you account for the dispatch, getting on the truck, and the drive there then you are pushing the 4 min mark assuming someone called as soon as they saw someone go down.

    You will witness the best and worst of humanity. I have been shot at and then on the other hand I have seen normal citizens do amazing things.

    The best advice I will give you is this:

    When you arrive on scene check your pulse. Do you have one? Good! Time to get to work. Remember this... You did not cause the problem. You are there to keep the problem from getting worse because there is very little that we can do can make it better. That is "our" job. To keep things from getting worse. The rest will take care of itself.

    The second piece of advice I will give you is to not hold in what you are feeling. You will see some things that will NEVER leave you and they will haunt you for the rest of your life. After 20 years PTSD caught up with me and I turned to self medication Alcohol / Drugs to take the pain away. Didn't take me long to figure out that was not the way and I got help. But I held everything in. Find a trusted friend and tell them everything that you feel. It does not make you less of a man or woman. In fact I believe it makes you a better, more productive member.

    Good luck with your career. It is very rewarding if you approach it correctly.
     
  13. Jun 1, 2013 at 7:49 PM
    #33
    futuretacoowner

    futuretacoowner Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the advice!! I look forward to my career in emergency services. I know it will be very rewarding.
     
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