Hey Everyone,

I am currently enrolled in college. All in all everything is going fine. Recently though, I have come to some self-realization. Although I no where near “stupid”, I have come to the conclusion that I would be much happier doing something that challenges me both physically and mentally, while at the same time, making a decent pay. (Vs. going to medical school and becoming a pharmacist or doctor. My dad brought firefighting as a possible profession. After looking into it a little bit, firefighting seems like a great job. It taxes you both physically and mentally, has great benefits, and you get to save people’s lives.

Some background info.

Age: 18
Weight: 160
Ethnicity: Asian
Height: 6’0
Occupation: Current freshmen in college

I am seriously considering this occupation. A city nearby is looking for firefighters and the salary and benefits sound great. I am just looking for some feedback from current firefighters and see whether its a plausible idea for me to pursue this, given my current situation.


I’m not a firefighter but trying to join the police force at the moment so almost in the same realm(kinda). From what I know about firefighter hirings are that they mostly come from volunteers. So go down and see if you can join the volunteer firefighters. Also see if your school has any classes about the subject. I know the technical schools in my area all seem to have a firefighter basics course which gives you a taste of what you will do.

Also another area you can look into that could give you a foot in the door is doing something with paramedics the knowledge of medical might give you a leg up on the competition. A friend of a friend is going this route to join the firefighters(he is volunteer and paramedic).

I’m not a current firefighter either. I’m looking to become either a firefighter or a cop. My first choice is FDNY.

You have to take a civil service exam and then they rate you on a list. For example currently I’m 3300 somthing on a list of 25000. In NYC the physical is not rated like the written test. If you pass it and your written is high enough your most likely in. In some places, white plains I believe for example (just north of NYC), they rate you both on your written and physical exams.

What you need to do is look into the tests and when they are giving. In NYC they are given once every 4 years. Which means the list that your on is good for the next 4 years so it may take you a long time to get called. If you just missed the test and the next one is in 4 years your pretty screwed heh.

My father and grandfather were FDNY and they both said the job was great. I love listening to my dad once hes gotten a couple drinks in him talk about when he used to work in Brooklyn.

It couldn’t hurt for you to volunteer someplaces. I started volunteering at my Univesity ambulance and they paid for me to become an EMT. So check if your school has one.

Also I would also look into police exams, and FD exams all around your area. Its good to keep your options open. So far I’ve taken 3 Police exams and 1 FD exam, with 2 more exams coming up. They can get expensive because some cost money to take but tell your parents its for your future and get them to pay for it!

I’d highly recommend you finish college first. There’s no substitute for education.

[quote]Contrl wrote:
I’d highly recommend you finish college first. There’s no substitute for education.[/quote]

It takes a while to get on, take the tests to keep your optinos open but definetly finish school.

I’ve been trying to get on the Fire Department here in Richmond for a while now, got my fingers crossed that I’ll get in the next batch at the academy in Feb. I would recommend:

1- Stay in college. A college degree looks great on your resume no matter what field you go into.

2- Get certified as an EMT. Join a Volunteer rescue squad to get experience.

3- Minor in Spanish, or whatever other language is common in your city. Learn to use it on the street. This will help you a great deal in getting hired.

4- See if your city has a ride along program and ride along with different companies in different neighborhoods. Learn if they have any special rescue companies and ride along with them too. You want your face to be familiar to the officers on the interview panel. When on the ride along, say SIR or MAM to everyone, please and thank you, and try not to get in the way.

Learn the names of the men and women you ride along with. Bring money and chip in to the meal fund, and don’t be picky but eat whatever they eat and help with the dishes. The first Friday of the month is always a busy day, as is the full moon.

What Uncle Gabby said.

I second to get your EMT. Depending on your state, it’s a 3 month or so class with an exam. Fire Departments run far more medical and trauma (car wrecks) calls than actual fires, and are always looking for someone to run medical calls. Once you begin (volunteer or pay) a lot of services will train you in-house or pay for your further fire and medical training, or at least pay in -part.

I can’t speak for anyone else but my experience with Fire Departments is similar to what people have had with Sheriff’s and PD’s. It’s an old, dogmatic structure with a lot of history…that’s great because you get a lot of comradarie and an instant family membership that’s pretty much world-wide…it can also be bad because there is a lot of “good 'ole boy” mentality and politics involved…a lot of times it’s not what you know but who you know. The most qualified people rarely get promoted.

You also have to be prepared for the down-time, the excessive structure and repetitive nature of training for something you rarely do. But it does allow for a lot of specialization off from direct firefighting…you can train in pumping systems, ladder trucks, confined search and rescue, haz-mat operations, high angle rescue, dive rescue, etc. There are a lot of interesting avenues to go down.

Good luck!

One of my brothers is a firefighter here in Houston, and I gotta say the pay isn’t that great.

Can be an extremely tough profession to get into.
Get your EMT as was already stated. All of those little extra related courses and volunteer work will help you a ton down the road.

Pay depends on your department. In Richmond they work 24 hours on 24 off, for a total of 10 days a month. That leaves you with 20 days a month you can work a second job. Starting pay here is 36.5k a year, which is descent for this area.

[quote]Contrl wrote:
I’d highly recommend you finish college first. There’s no substitute for education.[/quote]

The only even remotely sensable advice given to this kid. He goses to the firfighter/EMT basic shool on his own just so he can comppete against everyone who already has it. Then whe he finially gets on the job and finds that the fires are rare but the frequent squad calls of putting naked 85 year old ladies back on their toliets not what he had envisioned of is career; he would still have Plan B to fall back on.