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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    Default Big department with big problems....

    Hey everyone. First off thanks to everyone who has given me advice in past posts. It's an honor to receive advice and facts from those who have been in the job for many years. I have yet another issue......

    i am looking at in the next year or so applying to a career department. I am currently serving as a volunteer. The department I was looking at (I'm not going to name any names) is a large department not far from here. They are a pretty busy department. I think one of their stations is one of the busiest in the nation. They run their own fire academy and EMS training. Seems like a good solid department.

    So about 2 weeks ago my dad was doing some business with a Battalion Chief from this department who has been on the department for (I think) 28 years. My dad mentioned to him that I was thinking about applying to their department. The chief told him to tell me NOT to join. He gave many reasons, some being that the department is being ran by, as he put it, "thugs". Plus they are having issues because of their mayor being indited on criminal charges (for the second or third time), and moral in the department is low. plus they are one of the lowest paid departments in the state, starting i believe at 23 or 24,000 as a recruit.

    However about 2 months ago I went over to their central station and spoke with some of the guys. They were real nice and showed me their units and equipment, which I was very impressed with, especially their rescue. They encouraged me to join and spoke wonders about the department.

    So I am confused. The newer guys tell me to join, and the older guys tell me not to join.

    Again I am coming to you guys for advice. Any and all would be appreciated. Thanks everyone. Stay safe.


  2. #2
    Forum Member MEck51's Avatar
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    Seems pretty obvious that there are generation gaps between the 2 opinions.
    I think if you go to any large department you are going to find a difference in opinions, small ones too for that matter. It is all a matter of perspective. Some guys may not like change others may thrive upon it. I don't know of which department you are talking about and it realy doesn't matter either. All that realy matters is what you think of the job. The payscale, is it something that you can make a living off of? Is it a place you want to be? That is all that you can realy worry about. I find that life is like a box of, wait sorry. This job can be anything you make it into. Yes there can be people that bring you down. But as long as you keep your nose clean, do your job the best you can every shift, you can leave the problems at work and enjoy the rest of your life. The rest should work it self out with time. This job isn't always going to be roses and candycanes, but you can always go to the store at the end of your shift and buy some.

  3. #3
    Forum Member jlcooke3's Avatar
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    Try to talk to some guys from different stations, different rank, and different shifts. Find some probies to talk to, find some guys with a few years on, some guys with over 10 years and some guys with over 20 years on. Get as much info as possible. In my experience you'll get a good sample of how the dept. is ran and how well the morale is. Just remember if somebody doesn't say something good about the dept. they are on then chances are they are disgruntled and their advice is to be taken with a grain of salt.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    First of all, I don't think Jackson, MS has the rank of BC. They call them District Chiefs and I have a very good friend there that is a DC.

    Like many big departments, I am sure that Jackson has its problems, but if you want to be a fireman for the job - not the money, that is the department in that part of or the entire state to work at. They are burning stuff on a regular basis.

    If you want to get paid more to sit in a fire station, but technically still be able to tell chics you are a firefighter, many of the small suburban departments are paying more, but the politics will be just as bad - maybe worse.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 08-30-2008 at 04:28 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber KevinFFVFD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    First of all, I don't think Jackson, MS has the rank of BC. They call them District Chiefs and I have a very good friend there that is a DC. I'll see if I can get in touch with him and see what he says.
    Well, I didn't want to use names. but you fond me out, haha. Your right, I forgot its DC not BC (we use BC's where I am). If you could find out for me cause I am interested in the department. I just hope what he told my father is not true.

  6. #6
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Kevin,

    I edited my post above.

    I will get in touch with my friend down there and get back with you. I can tell you that I just spent a week with him in Vegas and he told me about a program where Jackson is accepting lateral transfers for people that are already certified.

    A couple of my friends from smaller MS departments up here that are making more money have decided to put in for it. As I understand it, they have pretty good chances of getting the jobs.

    Point being, my DC friend WOULD NOT knowingly jeapardize these people's lives or money by trying to recruit them into something that they wouldn't like or wouldn't work out for them.

    My initial guess is that whoever your dad talked to is jaded.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 08-30-2008 at 11:23 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  7. #7
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    jaded is another side effect of being in "the" dept of the area. At least what i have observed. few and far between you find guys as "passionate" about the job no matter what stage of the job thier in. Most are from 2-xx years in that say "yeah, im on with ________ dept.... so what... " Or they assume that everybody wants in and cant make it.

    you gotta do what you want. If you could finish your career in that dept exactly how it is now and be satisfied than go for it. Only you can decide for yourself if

  8. #8
    Forum Member len1582's Avatar
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    Why are you waiting until next year? If it's age that's ok. It shows good planning. But don't wait too long.
    As was mentioned the person talking to your father could have been burned out (no pun). After 28 years some people still enjoy what they do, others want out. You find a good company and they all will tell you it's a good job. Go to a place where it seems the glass is always half empty and they'll tell you to run away and don't look back. You should be influenced more by positive people than negative ones. The positive will give a more evenly balanced view.
    My advise is to go for the job. Since you have the background as a volunteer you have an idea what's expected. Sure you might not become rich in dollars and cents but if can be tremendously rewarding. If you don't try it to see if it's for you, you could spend many years wondering if you did the right thing. Second guessing yourself. If you try and it doesn't work out, at least you'll know for sure.
    Good luck

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    Do what YOU want to do...

    I took a huge paycut to be where I'm at but I love it more than anything.

    Anywhere you go is going to have problems.

    Old heads get fed up with the current politics of things... just keep that in mind
    The Box. You opened it. We Came...

    "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

  10. #10
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    I now work for one of those small suburban depts. that someone mentioned. My first career job was in the state capital. At the time, the dept. was having a lot of problems. The chief had the job as a retirement job after a career in a large midwestern dept. He didn't really take the job seriously and it showed. Attitudes were bad, staffing was at its lowest, down 50% over the last 15 years before, equipment (except for SCBA and turnouts) was marginal, and pay/work hrs ratio sucked. Dept. training was minimal, and no two shifts had any continuity. We had the A shift FD, B shift FD, C shift FD thing going. I left after becoming discouraged that I'd ended up in a place like this! Well fast forward, one of the younger BCs is now chief. They're now on a 42 hr. 4 platoon system, pay is up, there is a training capt. position, 2 personnel have been added to each shift, there is new apparatus and equipment, and dept. morale and camraderie have improved greatly. Now, there were also some older guys that had bad attitudes and weren't too ambititious anymore. They'd gone through "the war years" and watched the dept. get carved down like a thanksgiving turkey. I think veteran FFs are one of the biggest assets a dept. can have, but they can also be a liability if they're disgruntled. In our case, some of these disgruntled vets were holding some things back. Moral of the story: If a you want to work somewhere, even if it has its faults, go for it. Things improve and change, you might even get to be a part of it. And the other point is to find out for yourself. One disgruntled opinion may be just that, one person's opinion.

    Don't get me wrong, I like my current job, but I regret leaving the other one. Don't make the same mistake!
    Last edited by mtngael; 09-14-2008 at 09:20 AM.

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