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Firefighter career advice

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by Glockenbang76, Jul 21, 2006.

  1. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

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    I know this has been beaten like a dead horse, but my question is very specific. I decided after 6 years of being an acountant, that I really want to live the dream and go back to school for EMT & fire.

    Anyone here on Glock Talk have any advice on:

    Testing in Florida

    Should I get my paramedic cert before or during the actaual application process?

    Who are considered the best cities or counties to work for in South Florida (from North Palm Beach to Miami)?

    Which city or county is a good place to get your foot in the door (Maybe not the best pay, but openings are common)?

    What time and what day is a good time to visit a station?

    What is the best way to get a firefighter to be your mentor?

    Any help from Florida firefighters would be sincerely appreciated.
     
  2. nam02G

    nam02G First throwing ax bullseye.

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    I'm not a Florida ff but I'll tackle a couple questions. Testing, take any and all that you can. The practice will do you good and you might accidently end up with a job. Google 'perfect firefighter' it's a website that you can find out who is testing from. There is another site or two similar but I can't think of their names at the moment. If you are going to go as far as paramedic I'd do it before you get hired. Reason being that some departments, like mine, have seperate lists for FF candidates and medic/FF candidates. They are more interested in hiring medics than 'just' FF's.

    You didn't ask it but I'll throw this out too. If you're not already get into shape. A lot of departments have a physical agility test that is a timed event. Ours is a bunch of back-to-back events that has a time limit of 6:25. You can technically pass at 6:24, but you probably will not get hired since this is a pretty good indicator that you probably won't make it through the very rigorous training academy.
     

  3. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

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    nam,
    What I basically got from the people I've already spoke to is that I should "test the waters" to see if I even like this type of work. To start, I should get my EMT cert first at the nearby community college. It's only a semester long, and a $1,000.00. If I like it, apply to the fire academy, and get a job as an EMT for a private ambulance company to build up ride time, while I'm waiting for my acceptance to the academy. In the mean time, I should be sending my applications out to fire departments that employee EMT/FF. Land a job at a department and work on my paramedic once there.
    Two guys were talking to me at once, so I wasn't sure if I got it straight.

    I've already talked to a few people, and I've visited a firehouse.

    If you were in my shoes, what would be the first thing you would do?
     
  4. FlaFF

    FlaFF

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    I wouldn't necessarily quit your accounting job to build up ride time as an EMT for a private ambulance company. They pay notoriously bad and you'll likely convince yourself that being a FF is not something you want to do after you've run your 10th interfacility transport of the day. It is not the same thing as being a firefighter. Where are you located? If Metro-Dade Fire Rescue is a possibility for you (I believe you have to live in Dade County) it would probably be your best bet, from what I know about that part of the state.
    Why dont you PM me some more specifics about your situation and I'll try to help you out more.


    FlaFF
     
  5. nam02G

    nam02G First throwing ax bullseye.

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    My advise was based on you knowing that you wanted to do it. If you're uncertain about it you might see if you can get on with a department that has volunteers. You get the training and experience but keep your other job. This would enable you to decide if it really is the kind of career you want to pursue. Firefighting is not the kind of job you want to take on based on a whim. You see a lot of the worst of what humanity has to offer, and running into burning buildings is not for everyone.
     
  6. justfish

    justfish

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    I was in you shoes almost 6 tears ago. I went through EMT and Standards at night and worked 45 hrs a week while doing it. Did it suck? Big time, but I am happy now. I would suggest trying to get standards first, them EMT as some departments will allow you to apply as long as your enrolled. Dont let that stop you from taking what is available first. Also test as many places as you can. I mean everywhere w/ in a hours(or more) drive. Take the first one given to you and then really decide where you want to go, if you do. If that doesnt work, go get your paramedic and they will practically fight for you. Good Luck.
     
  7. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

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    Just Fish,
    Yeah FlaFF said that I should go for the FF academy first since they have fewer spots than EMT.

    I notice some cities have a "vetrans preference form" will this positively affect my chances since I'm a vetran and a college graduate?

    If I am selected for a department which is not any where near my first choice, should I stay there a set period of time, or give notice when the next best thing comes available? The reason I ask this, is that my current employer looks down on "job jumpers", and I'm not sure if this is the same with the world of firefighting.

    Lastly, is there a book on Amazon or a good website that gives me insights on what the tests consist of and what is expected?

    Right now I'm training at the gym with larger weights and more stair climber exercises. I've also changed my eating habits, and figure by late September I'll be back in fighting shape. Is there any exercise I'm leaving out?

    Any help or pointers would be of great use.

    I respect and envy what you folks do. You guys are true heros! :beer:
     
  8. gloxter

    gloxter

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    :supergrin:

    Here are a couple of websites you absolutely must involve yourself in. (Disclaimer: I am not associated with ANY of them, but have used resources from each in my quest).

    www.aspiringfirefighters.com Battallion Chief Paul S. Lepore (Long Beach, CA FD). He's written several "new and up to date books" on the hiring process, making a plan, etc. He is an outstanding resource.

    www.firecareers.com Website that you have to join in order to get the latest information on who's testing. I believe it's only $7.50/month billed to your charge card and you can access the information as often as you'd like. Another HUGE benefit to the website is the FREE forum. If you'd like to surf it before subscribing, do the simple registration, then go to "Communities", then "Open Forum" and have a look. You'll be blown away by the amount of first hand experiences, questions raised, and the like on that side of the site.

    www.eatstress.com Captain Bob Smith's website, along with his son, Captain Rob Smith. There is a ton of FREE information, and you can subscribe to some of his programs. I've used portions of his program (psychological interview preparation) and others swear by his work(s). His son, Rob does "phone interviews (mock orals and such) over the phone. Bob is retired from Contra Costa Co., CA Fire and his son is a newly promoted Captain there.

    I'm a bit short on time right now, but I'll gladly give you more information later. Do the searches, you won't be dissapointed.
     
  9. patw

    patw

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    For one,never tell your employer that you are looking to go elsewhere or give any indication. This job is like no other,anywhere. It is a brotherhood for a good reason. We live together,eat together and sleep together(professionally speaking but you never know). You get to know alot about people when you live with them every third day and these people will be the closest you have ever known.I trust my life and family with these men and women,what other job can you say that? The station I am at,the guys and I are like family and we enjoy each others company,it is almost like not working even when we are working.What other job can you say that about? Anyway,some of the cons are that it is becoming a more difficult job to get because it is popular. Unfortunately there is no good way of planning for your new career choice.Working in your current employment or working for a private ambulance comp.,both have there pros and cons. Also,if you have any prior medical conditions/problems,this could hinder your chances for getting hired,just something else to think about. Money is not always a good reason to move to another dept. or picking a dept.. Not that it does not hurt to make a decent living,but making more money in another dept. will not always make you happy,I know and have talked to others who have left my dept. and they say the same. All in all,it is a job worth getting and it will make you proud of what you do everyday.Good luck.
     
  10. Glockenbang76

    Glockenbang76 Glockaholic

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    Pat,
    I appreciate your kind words. Fortunately, I live in an area that is constantly growing which prompts city services to always be increasing (new stations added). I would agree that getting a job as a cop is significantly easier than a FF, but I feel that nothing is impossible. I imagine that it will take a bit of drive on my part and being in the right place at the right time to land a job like this, but it certainly isn't out of reach.
    Pay is a consideration, but money isn't my motivation. otherwise, I'd still pursue accounting.
    I had a lot of co-workers I was tight with in the military, I'd like to work in a place that again, which has the same espirit de corps.