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  1. #1
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    Default Marine looking to the future

    Hey y'all, I know it gets old reading the same basic "this is my story, am I good to go" but here ya go. I've been in the Marines for 5.5 years and have 3.5 left in my second tour, I'm currently on deployment (one in which I am not able to do any school) for another 5 months. I'm looking ahead to when I get out and am trying to make sure I have things straight for when the time comes. I plan on becoming a firefighter.

    My plan as of right now is to first join a volunteer fire dept when I get back to Jacksonville, North Carolina. I also plan to start school to get an associates in Fire Sciences. What else education wise can I do to increase my level of competitiveness? Keep in mind I'm very frequently deployed (normally 7 month deployments with only 5 month dwell times.)

    Also although I stay very physically fit and train very routinely, I'll be 27 when I get out. Not trying to call anyone old, but would that be too old to start in the field?

    One last question, I'm a country boy from Alabama but I want to be a firefighter in a large city where there would be a lot of calls and would stay busy. I'm looking to do some traveling when I have time to check out cities, but right now I'm thinking cities like Boston or New York. Anyone from large Northern East coast cities have any insight on how I would fit in Depts around there? I know its a weird question, but I haven't spent much time up North. Thank you for your time, and hope to get some good advice.


  2. #2
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by uh1crewchief View Post
    My plan as of right now is to first join a volunteer fire dept when I get back to Jacksonville, North Carolina. I also plan to start school to get an associates in Fire Sciences. What else education wise can I do to increase my level of competitiveness? Keep in mind I'm very frequently deployed (normally 7 month deployments with only 5 month dwell times.)

    Also although I stay very physically fit and train very routinely, I'll be 27 when I get out. Not trying to call anyone old, but would that be too old to start in the field?

    One last question, I'm a country boy from Alabama but I want to be a firefighter in a large city where there would be a lot of calls and would stay busy. I'm looking to do some traveling when I have time to check out cities, but right now I'm thinking cities like Boston or New York. Anyone from large Northern East coast cities have any insight on how I would fit in Depts around there? I know its a weird question, but I haven't spent much time up North. Thank you for your time, and hope to get some good advice.
    First off, it sounds like you are on the right track. 27 is not too old to start and some cities will use your military time against their age limit. Some cities have an age limit like 35, but if you were a veteran then your years of service would be deducted from that limit. So a 40year old vet with 8 years in would be considered a 32 y/o candidate. Not all cities are like this though. However, the majority of cities DO have veteran points so that will help you.

    Larger cities tend to have an open exam process. Basically it is open to anyone 18 years or older, HS or GED, and driver license. These are places where vet points really help out. Some cities will focus more on education and look for candidates with an associates or higher and even EMT or paramedic. If there is additional education you would want to help you land a job, EMT and medic would be it.

    Also purchase a subscription to a firefighting job website like firerecruit.com. They list the departments hiring across the country and the necessary requirements needed to apply. There are many that you can apply to that you don't need further education. I would get the education nonetheless. Good luck.
    The thoughts and opinions posted here are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the thoughts and or views of city or dept affiliation.

  3. #3
    Forum Member FireEeyore's Avatar
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    Default

    Since I just went through this process, I have few things to think about that are fresh on my mind.

    First of all, most major cities in the United States will be " busy." You don't have to go to New York or LA to run a lot of calls. Things you want to think about is how important is starting to work for you? Civil service departments tend to have very extended hiring processes that take months and months and your chances of getting hired are minimal. I just went through Austin's Hiring process, they hired 30 people out of 4,000 that applied. ( No experience necessary for this specific department.)

    I don't know how it is in the north, but around here most of the suburbs are operated by well paid career fire departments. I would recommend going though an EMT Basic class and applying to become a volunteer at a local department near you. They will possibly offer you equipment, minimal training and a good learning environment. Once your EMT class gets up and running you will be of service to that department and you will get to practice!

    Next, I would look at getting into a fire academy. Once you complete these 2 steps you will be a " certified" fire fighter. Or at least, that is how it works around here. Then you can look at getting a full time job.

    During all of the above steps you will have the opportunity and time to apply for the bigger departments. Some guys around here spend 5-6 years trying to get into one of the larger cities. Some guys tend to enjoy the county and smaller departments.


    Another recommendation is to investigate when the hiring processes will be running, it may be wise for you to apply to one of the departments 2-3 months in advance. You could possibly mail the application and get someone in the area to drop it off ( some departments are doing it entirely online).

    Just a few things that I would have liked to have explained to me!


    Good luck!

  4. #4
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    Where should you start?

    Visit the local fire station and ask the firefighters what they recommend you should do.

    Talk with a counselor at a community college that offers fire science courses. Enroll in classes

    Complete an Emergency Medical Technician course (EMT) – this will make you much more marketable. 85% of our calls are medical calls. You need to be a strong EMT.

    Enroll in a state certified fire academy at the local college

    Find out if your community has either a fire department volunteer program or Fire Explorers.

    Volunteer in your community- big brothers/sisters of America, clean the beach, Sierra club, little league coach.

    Learn how to take FIRE department interview (These are much different than any interview you will ever take)

    Start a log that includes everything you have done to prepare yourself.

    Get in the best shape of your life – the physical agility exams are very difficult.

    Look the part – get your hair cut, lose the goatee and the earring!

    Dress professionally every time you visit a fire station or take an interview

    Enroll in a service that lets you know which departments are testing.

    Talk to your family- if you are married it’s important to get buy in from your spouse. Without it you will not make it. This needs to be a team effort.

    Surround yourself with reputable people.

    Learn a trade such as carpentry, electrical, or plumbing.

    Improve your public speaking skills – get involved with teaching something (first aid and CPR is a good one www.emssafety.com .

    Maintain a clean driving and criminal record.

    Maintain a good credit history – pay your bills on time.

    Update your resume.

    If, after becoming a strong EMT, completing a basic fire academy, staying physically fit, working as a volunteer or reserve firefighter, and most importantly learning how to take a FIRE department interview, you are still having trouble getting hired you MAY consider putting yourself through paramedic school. In some areas of the country, it may be a requirement to take the entry-level exam. Do your research for the region in which you want to work. DO NOT become a paramedic just because you think it will be easier to land a job in the fire service. You will be unhappy. More importantly, you will not be a good paramedic.

    If you are in the military on active deployment, use this time to take online fire science courses. Get involved in the fire brigade on your ship; enroll in first aid, CPR and hazardous materials classes. Be prepared to enter the basic fire academy when your military commitment is complete. You will have to complete prerequisite courses first. These can be done online.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber seagravedriver's Avatar
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    Your age is not going to be an issue. If you just spent two tours on the national hot dog eating championships, you may have a problem. Being a Marine, I am guessing you are squared away.

    I am in not in a city dept. I can go to one of our stations and run 4 calls a day, or where I am now and run 5 to 12. After doing this more than a few years, that is plenty. Keep your options open, and your record clean.
    The opinions are mine alone, and do not represent the department I am with, or any firefighters I work with.

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