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How to be a FF

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by CAcop, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. CAcop

    CAcop

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    Okay as you may guess I am a PO in CA and am looking at possible careers to change. This forum doesn't have a "How to be a ____" sticky like the Cop Talk section so I figured I'd ask:

    How do you become a fire fighter?
     
  2. Lil Miss Fiesty

    Lil Miss Fiesty

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    <<<<<<<< not a firefighter, but married to one!

    From my perspective:
    1. Play video games
    2. Learn to cook
    3. Love to party
    4. Have a strange fascination with really big fires

    anyway, BTT :bump:

    JK...about most of it...firefighters are cool, and I'm proud of mine. It is a great schedule in most cities. Good luck...hope other FF's chime in with helpful advice :)
     

  3. nam02G

    nam02G First throwing ax bullseye.

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    Get in shape, if you're not. (Sorry, I've seen most of the cops around here.)

    There are a couple of websites available to let you know who is testing. Find them and keep an eye out.

    It will be much harder if you only want to get a job in the town/city you live in, your first offer may be hundreds of miles away.

    Take a couple entrance exams and learn from them. Lots of departments use publicsafety.com, learn how to take their test well.

    If you don't have good interviewing skills try to develope them. Around here applicants are put through an oral board with 3-4 people grilling them.

    Consider becoming a volunteer firefighter. This can help in a couple of ways. First it can get you the medical trainging you need and a leg up on the fire training. Second it will let you know if you are really cut out for the job, it's not for everyone.
     
  4. FirNaTine

    FirNaTine

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    Firehouse.com is one of the main web sites for firefighters. It is a "sister" site of Officer.com. There is a members section that gives you access to a lot of job listings, starting salaries etc.

    Out of curiousity does the government you work for offer fire protection? As in could you work for the same employer just in a different dept? Several guys I work with came over from police side and were able to keep their pay rate, time towards retirement, vacation etc.

    The future of most Fire Depts is EMS, and most areas I am familiar with if you have a pulse and paramedic training you have a job (usually I add a no felony qualifier because it is virtually impossible to get a medical certification license as a felon, but hopefully thats not an issue for a LEO.) The training takes a long time, but you may want to ask around. Where you want to work they may be happy with EMT-B(Basic) as opposed to EMT-P(paramedic).

    Fire Dept employment can be good, great, bad, or anything you make of it.

    Let us know where you are looking so we can provide more specific information as to where you live.

    Personally I work for a 800+ uniformed personnel department in the Baltimore Washington DC metro area. I have been there for a little over 5 years, and I was a volunteer for another 4 before that. I started as a firefigther, became an apparatus driver/operator, then a medic (NREMT-I '99), and am currently completing my paramedic bridge. So I have some experience in most facets of the fire dept.

    Any questions post 'em or pm me.
     
  5. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

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    Hiring varies from State to State and Home Rule Cities. Here we are a Fire District and hire Civil Service.

    You can apply for Cadet Points if you come from another Department with two years full time paid experience. Prior Military Service also gets you points.You must not be over 35 years old unless you are doing a lateral from another paid Department or applying for a Chiefs position.

    No points can be given for applicants with prior Volunteer experience, State Certified Fire Training, EMT Training, Fire Science Degrees, or paid Fire Fighter with less than two years on the job.
     
  6. CAcop

    CAcop

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    I am in the SF bay area right now and I might end up in OR, NV, or ID in a few years. I am in good shape, just a little worn down from working hard as a officer and breaking a few things.

    I can't really switch from PD to fire in my town because the pay difference is really big. I think Captains at the fire department get paid what I make. Upside for them is they get medical insurance after retirement whereas we don't. Which leads me to another reason why to make the jump, everybody waves to them with all five fingers.

    If I am willing to commute 30-60 minutes for work I can take a pay cut to get hired but with a few years I will be back to where I am now. Not to mention there are a lot more agencies over there. Somebody has got to be hiring all the time.

    As for the skill levels I know around here most ordinary people walking off the streets have to have EMT-B but they generally do not require EMT-P. It has only been a few years that they have even have had EMT-Ps on the fire trucks. They pretty much relied on the private ambo guys for that. I suspect they might try to transition to all or mostly EMT-Ps at some point because I am seeing more of them on the rigs. Not to mention a lot of the ambo guys end up at the FD anyway. I don't know what it is like in the San Jose area where I am mostly looking to go.

    I am mostly curious if being PD would help in getting in at all. It is not like I they have to worry about someone being a lunkhead in the academy or in the firehouse. I do not freak out in dangerous situations and I pretty much have seen it or done it when it comes to the fire service except go into a burning building but it can't be any worse than going into a building where an armed suspect is.

    Then again I don't have all the fire service stuff. I know we would take an fire guy because they have been there and done a lot, especially after 9 years like me.

    I will have to check out firehouse.com.
     
  7. tbhracing

    tbhracing Senior Member

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    Right off of the bat- Most FDs in CA want FF/PMs. (Firefighter/Paramedics) Pretty much every department wants you to be either a fire academy graduate AND have EMT. Most would like to see some sort of degree. (atleast an AA) You need to trust me on all of this. There are thousands of candidates every month testing to get on. Pretty much all of them have these credentials and education. I know this stuff like people in here know thier Glocks.

    Right now, your absolute best bet- Sunnyvale Public Safety Officer (Fire/Police)

    CURRENT OPENINGS-
    -Sacramento Fire Recruit
    -Sac City FF/PM (Lateral)
    -Riverside FF/EMT and FF/PM
    -Palm Springs FF/PM
    -CDF Engineer/PM
    -CDF FF2/PM

    I do a lot of posting at the FireCareers.com website. Its like this place, but dedicated to people entering the fire service.

    I am a Professional FF here in Nor. Cal. with about 20 years experience. Also assisted many people in getting a career in the fire service. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

    Also, the Alameda County FD in the bay area is going to be testing for FF/EMT very soon. Get your CPAT out of the way now so you can apply for it.

    -Boukca

    Here are some websites for you-

    www.firecareers.com/forum.cfm
    www.eatstress.com
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    http://forums.firehouse.com/forumdisplay.php?f=366
     
  8. tbhracing

    tbhracing Senior Member

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    So....CAcop...Are you going to go for it?
     
  9. dukduk

    dukduk

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    join the military for FF certs
     
  10. Lomez

    Lomez Nice guy

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    In FL you have to take EMT-B(basic) which is one semester with clinical hours. Then you'd prob wanna get into a fire school/college- which i never did, but i think its like 6-11mos- not sure tho. Then take EMT-P(paramedic) which is where you can earn more money, push drugs, intubate, IV, shock, and many other advanced life saving skills that ER nurses cant do.

    That said,

    Unless youre bent on fighting fire (which sounds like a dream to me), you may consider looking into nursing. IMO it's one of the best jobs in the world!

    I think most states offer what they call a National Registry, so you can work in different states.

    How old are you? If you dont mind my asking
     
  11. tbhracing

    tbhracing Senior Member

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    No, wrong. NOT the best route to go. Just getting "certs" does not get you a job.
     
  12. tbhracing

    tbhracing Senior Member

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    Semi good advice. The best thing to do today to get a fire service job is pursue Paramedic training. Since this person is a career LEO, this might not be the best timetable for him.

    Right now, the absolute best route would be to join one of the few public safety departments that we have here in California. Plus, we cna keep his retirement intact.
     
  13. FlaFF

    FlaFF

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    IIRC the only skill that a paramedic can do that an RN can't do is a surgical cricothyroidotomy. Might want to brush up on your protocols.




    FlaFF
     
  14. FirNaTine

    FirNaTine

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    It varies by state, but for instance in Maryland I can perform external jugular access, Intraosseus access, Oro- and nasotracheal intubation, needle decompression thoracostomy, needle and surgical cricothyrotomy and optionally RSI. No facilities in Maryland that I am aware of allow their nurses to perform any of these skills. The nurse practice legislation may allow some of these (EJ access for example) but the nurses are barred by facility policy.
     
  15. akulahawk

    akulahawk

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    Although RN's do possess many skills, Paramedics can generally do things that many times RN's are unable to. This is either due to state law or facility practices.

    In the field, out here in CA, only Flight RN's can even come close to a Paramedic's skill set. The CFRN's typically have a few more skills they can use. In hospital, the allowed skills can vary widely. Most of the time, it is only the ER/ICU RN's that get a fairly wide scope of practice.

    It's not that I'm bashing RN's by any stretch of the imagination. It's just that Paramedics are field care specialists. Most RN's aren't.

    I am a Paramedic. I am also pursuing an RN license. I am doing this for a variety of reasons... pay is one of them, but also by becoming an RN, I can also become a better Medic as I'll have a greater level of understanding in the long-term course of care. As an RN, my Paramedic training taught me to know when a patient needs emergent care, and this is a skill many RN's lack.

    RN and EMTP are complimentary. The training and roles, however, are, and should be distinctly different.
     
  16. akulahawk

    akulahawk

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    Since he is a LEO, I agree, going to a Public Safety Department that does BOTH Fire and Police would be the best way for him to go. Since their officers do both jobs, they would train him to do the other job and he'd be able to keep his retirement intact, most likely.

    Since I work for a PERS agency, it would be easiest for me to move to another PERS agency than to change retirement systems entirely. I can entirely understand the desire to not have to change retirement systems...
     
  17. gloxter

    gloxter

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    You may also want to look into whether or not Rohnert Park is still a "public safety" agency. Also, just a word of advice, take heed with what "akulahawk" and "boucka" are telling you. Our standards, or entry-level standards/expectations are higher, or at the very least, different than in many other parts of the country. I'm not trying to start a flame, but that's a fact. The numbers of people seriously interested in the career field (in CA) are astronomical compared to many states; for better or for worse. The first written I took about fifteen years ago was with OVER 7,000 people, and no, it wasn't for LAFD or LA Co., either. That being said, you can begin to see what the odds are coming in "off the street"; however, you do have some advantages: primarily that you know what an academy life is like; you work in frequent contact with the public, often in highly stressful situations, etc. Feel free to post any further questions you may have, and definitely check out firecareers.com and the "Open Forum" where you can check out posts, do searches, post your own questions for FREE! I also contribute to the forum and would highly recommend you look into Chief Paul Lepore's books (www.aspiringfirefighters.com) and those of "Captain Bob" Smith's and his son, Rob (www.eatstress.com).

    Best of luck to you. We do have the best job in the world. I'm sure the others would agree.

    -gloxter
     
  18. tbhracing

    tbhracing Senior Member

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    Yes, Rohnert Park is still PS and has been screaming for Officers for years now.

    gloxter- Wow! youre really up on the issues. Are you a paid FF in Cali? Capt. Bob is a good friend of mine.