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Thinking about trying out for a firefighting job. Advice please

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by w30olds, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. w30olds


    Mar 27, 2003
    Braselton, GA
    I've been selected to take the CPAT exam for Fulton County Fire and wanted to ask you folks here to lend me some advice. I've been thinking of becoming a FF for several years, but I've been trying to decide if a career in the fire service is the right choice. I have several friends that are FF and they really like their jobs. They are proud of what they do and believe they make a difference. I wanted to ask others here to lend me some advice on the fire fighting experience. I believe that I'd make a good fire fighter.

    I want to do something that is rewarding and something that I can feel good about. Someone who others can look to when needed. To make a difference in someones life and help others in need. I value trust, honor, and would like to be part of a brotherhood and to know that others share the same qualities that I do. To be a helping hand in a time of need and for others to know that they can count on me when needed.

    So if you folks could give me some advice I'd truly appreciate it. The pros/cons of the job and your personal feeling about being a Firefighter and what the job neans to you.

  2. DepChief

    DepChief Get Tous's Rope

    Nov 27, 2004
    Outer Banks, NC
    There are many pros and cons with firefighting just like any other job. It is a very rewarding line of work, especially if you like to see immediate results of your work. I will say you need to have a pretty thick skin and be able to take alot of crap. I like the shift work, I work 24 hours on and 48 hours off, which gives you plenty of time to work other jobs. I work fulltime for a county EMS system and work parttime for a town fire department, where I also work 24 hour shifts. I sometimes go right from working a 24 on EMS to another 24 on fire, that can get old real fast, esp. when you run alot of calls and don't get much rest. The biggest down side of that is you dont get to spend much time with your family and working shifts you miss alot of holidays. I have been working shift work since I got married and you do get used to it. At this point it would feel strange if I was home every night, I dont think my wife would know what to do! And you need to get along REALLY well with your co-workers. When everyone gets along, the shifts are a blast, when you work with people that you dont get along with, the shifts can last forever.
    The pay for most departments is OK, you will never get rich, but the benefit packages for the most part are much better than most other jobs. The County I work for probably has better benefits that any other job in our county, private or public.
    I hope I have been some help.

  3. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

    Like DepChief wrote, it can be the best job in the world at times. I used to get depressed missing Holidays all the time but now I am used to it. My family would move me out to the garage if I was home every night.
  4. ClydeG19


    Oct 5, 2001
    Take the CPAT seriously and if the dept offers mentoring and stuff, use it. The CPAT is tough.
  5. ARFFormula


    Jan 2, 2005
    S.E. Georgia
    I love my job...even though the station/crew I am at now needs some work, but I can't complain because I get paid for an awesome job.
  6. Glkster19


    May 12, 2001
    Lansing, MI

    He isn't joking. The first time a dept in my area used it, 2-3 people went to the hospital and several didn't get through 1/2 of it. Some surprised me, some didn't. The one's that I personally know that passed, busted their butts to get ready for it.

    That said, everybody else has hit it on the head. I couldn't do an 8hr a day job again. Make decent money, great benefits. Retire in 13yrs (I'm 37). If your wife/g/f works an 8hr/40hr job, that frees up alot of time for shooting, golfing while she works.
  7. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM


    Please do not let the secret out. Everybody is going to want our jobs.
  8. FireCaptain


    Apr 24, 2004
    Best job in the world, I can't believe they pay me to do this job.
  9. First off, selling cars or pumping gas is a job. Playing football, baseball, or basketball is a game. Firefighting is a profession, and hopefully, a career. It requires blood, sweat, tears, determination, skill, patience, intelligence, and most importantly...dedication. Not everyone has it. Not even every firefighter has what it takes. Just be prepared to give more than you think you are capable of giving.

    Second...don't just try one department. Apply to all your area departments. Atlanta, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett etc. All have different pay, job descriptions (fire only, fire/ems, fire paramedic, etc) All will have different needs and requirements. Some may hire within weeks, others may take a year or more to pass tests.

    Third, do your research. Learn your departments. Go to different stations and talk to the guys. Cobb and Gwinnett are probably the best choices in my opinion. Atlanta does not have EMS transport, Gwinnett and Dekalb do...figure out what you want to do. I applied to offers from Atlanta, Dekalb and Gwinnett. All had different hiring processes, took 9 months to two years between the three offers.

    Last, Fulton County Fire sucks...unless you ENJOY sticking nozzles in windows from the outside! (sorry, had to say it!!!!)

    roy d