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  1. #1
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default How bad do you really want a fire job?

    I wrote this in another thread and felt it needed its own. How bad to you want that fire job? Really that bad? But theres not fire jobs out ther right now, true. Willing to put in some dues? Really? Have you seriously considered the following...Bou


    Let me clue you folks in on a little secret most people do not know or refuse to listen to....Get into a system (federal, state, county or city), get established, pay some dues and then transfer over.

    What??? Yes, go work for the state of California or Nevada as a Janitor, Dispatcher, Security Guard or EMT. Then, youíre in the federal, state, county or city system and can transfer over to a fire job when the economy gets better and the openings come up. Sometimes people on the inside get the love first. The City of Huntington Beach, CA recently did this with their FF lottery. Current city employees automatically got to bypass the lottery process and go straight to the written!

    Moreover, you are making connections and now in the system's retirement program. And guess what, that time on the job credit stays with you. Yep, 2 years of PERS is still good. The state of California has "Career Credit" and people who have them....ta-da... may get preference in hiring and transfers. I have seen numerous Dispatchers move up to full-time FF positions- State of Nevada, OCFA, CAL FIRE to name a few.

    City of LA- I have heard stories of people transferring over from Police and other positions to the Fire Department. Makes sense to me- A known, mature, established, valued and vested employee making a uniform change and getting trained saving the city a lot of money in testing, background check and interview time.

    9 out of 10 people will be too selective and not listen to what I just wrote. Thatís fine, my entire career I have seen people not listen and then wonder why the other guy took a chance and now has a badge? Squeaky wheel gets the grease!

    Want a starting point- The state of Nevada is currently hiring for Seasonal FF 1 and 2. I have already posted the link in here and not going to spoon feed people in here again. Find the post, the link and apply online. What a great way to get into the system, get in their PERS, get known and then go full-time.

    Bou


  2. #2
    Forum Member tnff320's Avatar
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    Not saying I disagree with you, because you make some good points. Such as retirement stuff that you earn working for the city already goes with you, your name is in their system and all that stuff. But my only question is, who would they hire? A janitor, or a guy thats already a medic with some fire certs under his belt to? I personally am getting my medic and other certs then trying to get hired, rather than be a janitor with nothing and hope they like me more because my name is already in the system.

    I know a guy that is going down that same path. Whether he decided to try and get on the FD before he went to work for the city I don't know. But I do know he still hasn't gotten hired after working for the city for a few years.
    Knowledge is the difference between KNOWING and GUESSING

    "You guys are good, but you'll never invent anything-it's all been done before."

    FF/EMT-IV (medic in training)

  3. #3
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    Default Always question your sources!

    Nothing like advice on how to get the job from some guy who is trying to get the job...

    ....Sorry, but my new years resolution was to bust more balls and you really opened yourself up for that one giving your opinion about comments from an experienced senior officer!

  4. #4
    Forum Member tnff320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4bugsdad View Post
    Nothing like advice on how to get the job from some guy who is trying to get the job...

    ....Sorry, but my new years resolution was to bust more balls and you really opened yourself up for that one giving your opinion about comments from an experienced senior officer!
    I never disagreed with what CALFFBOU said. And I am not saying it's bad advice. I was just saying it makes more sense to me to hire a guy that meets the hiring requirements of the FD, rather than the guy that works for the city already.

    Just like I said in my last post, I know a guy that swears he will get hired because he works for the city I live in. Well the FD here just hired someone from a few cities over, because he met the requirements they were looking for, and the guy that works for the city doesn't. So I am seeing it happen right in front of me!! A guy that works for the city and a guy that doesn't even live in the city....well they chose the guy that has the certs and meets their needs.

    So I am also wondering how did all the other guys that never worked for the city before, and even the guys who never worked for the city and have no fire experience get hired?
    Knowledge is the difference between KNOWING and GUESSING

    "You guys are good, but you'll never invent anything-it's all been done before."

    FF/EMT-IV (medic in training)

  5. #5
    Forum Member CaseyBhoy's Avatar
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    Default

    I think what CALFFBOU was getting at is that despite the hiring freezes and poor economy, there are still ways of getting experience in the meantime that can only make you much more marketable once things turn around.

    I for one am hoping and praying I can get picked-up for a seasonal position for the summer for all the reasons CALFFBOU has mentioned above and then some.

  6. #6
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Janitor might have not been the best example. The idea was already having your fire education, but now need to make a living.

    Janitor, DISPATCHER, Park Ranger...whatever it takes to show maturity and stability for a future fire job. Like I said, most people are not going to agree with what I said. But then its that 1 out of 10 person thats going to get the badge.

    The Janitor vs. the Medic cert. person. That isnt even a good example. The city is going to hire the Medic as needed. There are so many "What ifs?" out there.

    I think you people got the point.

  7. #7
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    Many young people want to be a firefighter but never get real work experience. They come in and do not really have a strong work ethic. I busted my butt in the building trades for ten years working in snow storms and other crap. I did not get hired until I was almost 30 and I do not regret it at all. Working in the trades I put myself through medic school with a family. That helped me appreciate this job so much more.

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    Yes, but for those who can't get jobs like that: All the kids that want in, but only have College courses, Fire Academies, and explorers and such.

  9. #9
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    Smile read carefully

    I think what calff is saying is if you have all your educations (FF/Medic/Hazmat) and may be working on getting hired at a full time dept, times are tough. If you know where you want to work and stay, than get in with that location any way you can. If you are hired as a dispatcher and they know you are a good worker you may get first dibs on the FF/Medic job. Remember for most places a job is posted internally, before it is posted externally. If the city knows your not a tool and a great worker with all the certs and education than they have NO reason to hire someone from the outside before you. I am in the same situation. I have my FF/Medic/Assoc degree/Hazmat/4 yrs vol exp/ wrk in the ER @ 25 I still have not landed a job. I may apply for a dispatch position. Yeah its midnights and its going to suck, but its a job and if in the long run I get a job why not? You have to be happy to have a job nowdays even if its not what you want because there are thousands out there without job, so be thankful to be working..

  10. #10
    Forum Member tnff320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    The idea was already having your fire education, but now need to make a living.
    Well I guess I never saw that in the OP. My bad. That makes more sense to me now than what I originally thought you were trying to say.
    Knowledge is the difference between KNOWING and GUESSING

    "You guys are good, but you'll never invent anything-it's all been done before."

    FF/EMT-IV (medic in training)

  11. #11
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Great idea

    CALFFBOU...Great idea you mentioned. The City where I worked and retired from had a City Mechanic and City Carpenter that was hired to work as Firefighters. The best employees we had and they came from within.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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  12. #12
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    To be a little more blunt and direct since some people still might be scrathing their heads.

    The Orange County Fire Authority in So. Cal. has hired numerous Dispatchers as Firefighters. Why not? They know ICS, fire terms, the department, Management, SOPs, General Orders, how to talk on the radio and they already know shift work.

    And the OCFA only hires internally for their ambulance (ET) positions.

    The Ventura County FD has hired some of their Dispatchers too. CAL FIRE has too. The Federal Govt. easily moves people into GS-081 Firefighter slots with out question.

    People- There are back doors out there, you just need to seriously open your eyes and think outside of the box. The biggest mistake you can make is waiting for a job to be handled to you. It will never happen. Start shaking some door handles, even the non-fire ones.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-29-2009 at 12:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    No matter what you do or how bad you want the job you still need to do very good on the civil service test to be competative. Without that your just another number on a list hoping they make it to your number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingofdahill View Post
    No matter what you do or how bad you want the job you still need to do very good on the civil service test to be competative. Without that your just another number on a list hoping they make it to your number.
    Ummmm....Maybe in your neck of the woods?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Ummmm....Maybe in your neck of the woods?
    UMMMM...... maybe in the real world cowboy.

    Maybe your dept. likes to hire the people that failed the fire dept. test but passed the typing test to become a dispatcher. While cities do hire other city employees they still must pass a promotions exam or the exam for that dept.
    Last edited by kingofdahill; 01-29-2009 at 02:13 PM.

  16. #16

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    I just got hired 2 months ago at 18 as a FF/EMT at The Villages Fire Dept. down here in FL, and I was only out of school for 2 months.

  17. #17
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    Default The baby and the bathwater...

    Well... I think the point is demonstrate you want the job and are willing to do what you must for it. A lot of the bigger cites aren't going to care what you did before them. Chicago could care less if you were the fire chief of wherever when you walk into the academy. On the other hand, there are cities out there who do care what you did before.

    In the end, pick a few places you want to work, where the and drive are congruent with your ethics, and do what you have to do to get that badge.

    It's a lot like a fight... are you willing to do what you HAVE to do to win? Or are you hoping that you can do only what's comfortable, and maybe that'll be enough?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingofdahill View Post
    UMMMM...... maybe in the real world cowboy.

    Maybe your dept. likes to hire the people that failed the fire dept. test but passed the typing test to become a dispatcher. While cities do hire other city employees they still must pass a promotions exam or the exam for that dept.
    Apparently you havn't applied and interviewed at a lot of places....

    You missed his point.

    They cannot pick people who fail the test. That's not what he was saying at all. I think what he was saying is, (and I agree completely), it's B.S. for a department to hire you based strictly on the test score. There is more to a person than that, as toddrat pointed out. And some departments out there realize this and truly do hire the best, not the highest test scoring people.

    To be honest, all a good test score shows me is that you know how to read a book, study and take a test. It doesn't say anything about your real world knowledge or street smarts. There are plenty of guys out there who I know who would make fantastic, hard working dedicated, compassionate firefighters that have been passed up due to their test score. Personally I think there is a lot more to a person than that score.

    You take a guy who has an AAS in Fire Science, Fire Fighter I&II certs, a paramedic license and 2 years as a volunteer and a paramedic working on the road, who beyond that, hasn't really had much real world experience, and you compare him to a guy who worked as an iron worker or a plumber or mechanic for 10 yrs. who wants to switch careers. While the plumber or iron worker may not have as much previous knowledge of the fire service, this can potentially help him out, because he doesn't carry over bad habits from his old department to the new one, along with possibly leaving if he's not 100% satisfied with where he's at. He'll more than likely work out beautifully and stay, vs. using the department as a stepping stone. They will appreciate it more.

    I agree with you toddrat1 that there are a lot of guys out there who really have no real world experience beyond their fire schooling and EMS schooling. They will probably get picked up and get hired somewhere or whatever. I do not do as good as them on tests though, and have had to work a lot harder than average, to even get in the 85-100 range. But I do have a lot of carpentry, construction and hard luck experience though, and conveying that to interviewing panels has helped me a ton I think. They like to see someone who can work with their hands and not just read books.

    Previous life experience, and a guys ability to convey that across the table to the interviewing panel should, and often does count for something. There are some departments out there that realize this and some that don't.

    If ALL a department bases their hiring on is a test score, shame on the department for not looking at the big picture. If the applicant couldn't pass the test, shame on the applicant.

    Just something I've noticed...
    Quote Originally Posted by jedch47 View Post
    You like me are probably just a small player in this big EMS game. I am sure that it all makes sense to the people in charge. I am under the impression that when you start in upper level managment you lose the majority of your common sense.

  19. #19
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    Default Get a real haircut and get a real job.

    Ive debated alot of things similiar to this. I was working as a salesman and my scores were low on testing. I went to work in lower level law enforcement beccause 1 "government city municipal kind of jobs" usually pay more and offer more benefits. I also debated going back to school but decided I cant afford it quite yet until some bills are payed down. I have to work somewhere so I work for a county and continue to build my resume through classes volunteer depts. and National Guard I have a decent job that my retirement transfers over if I go to a fire Dept. in my State. It does not benefit me to get more points or transfer over but my opinion is it helps when you go to an interview to show your probalby more of a responsible person working for a county than if you were working as a salesman. I think Im way better off on my resume. It does not help pass the written or an interview. So why argue unless your making tons more working for a non municipal employer. At least you have a job. The only thing I will quit for is to go to School and make myself more competetive when this Hiring freeze thaws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zachis4wheeling View Post
    Apparently you havn't applied and interviewed at a lot of places....

    You missed his point.

    They cannot pick people who fail the test. That's not what he was saying at all. I think what he was saying is, (and I agree completely), it's B.S. for a department to hire you based strictly on the test score. There is more to a person than that, as toddrat pointed out. And some departments out there realize this and truly do hire the best, not the highest test scoring people.

    To be honest, all a good test score shows me is that you know how to read a book, study and take a test. It doesn't say anything about your real world knowledge or street smarts. There are plenty of guys out there who I know who would make fantastic, hard working dedicated, compassionate firefighters that have been passed up due to their test score. Personally I think there is a lot more to a person than that score.

    You take a guy who has an AAS in Fire Science, Fire Fighter I&II certs, a paramedic license and 2 years as a volunteer and a paramedic working on the road, who beyond that, hasn't really had much real world experience, and you compare him to a guy who worked as an iron worker or a plumber or mechanic for 10 yrs. who wants to switch careers. While the plumber or iron worker may not have as much previous knowledge of the fire service, this can potentially help him out, because he doesn't carry over bad habits from his old department to the new one, along with possibly leaving if he's not 100% satisfied with where he's at. He'll more than likely work out beautifully and stay, vs. using the department as a stepping stone. They will appreciate it more.

    I agree with you toddrat1 that there are a lot of guys out there who really have no real world experience beyond their fire schooling and EMS schooling. They will probably get picked up and get hired somewhere or whatever. I do not do as good as them on tests though, and have had to work a lot harder than average, to even get in the 85-100 range. But I do have a lot of carpentry, construction and hard luck experience though, and conveying that to interviewing panels has helped me a ton I think. They like to see someone who can work with their hands and not just read books.

    Previous life experience, and a guys ability to convey that across the table to the interviewing panel should, and often does count for something. There are some departments out there that realize this and some that don't.

    If ALL a department bases their hiring on is a test score, shame on the department for not looking at the big picture. If the applicant couldn't pass the test, shame on the applicant.

    Just something I've noticed...

    Actually i have tested quite a bit and have been lucky and blessed enough to turn down depts. with job offers. I started small and was lucky enough to get on with the fire dept. i'm with now. No matter how much you like it or not you need to do good enough to rank you among the highest percentage of test takers for them to even notice you. I dont care if you have a phd. in fire science and a truck load of fire certs, placing way down the list will not get you noticed. Shame on you if you have that kind of background and are not placing higher then the average joe. If i was an employer I would ask you how with all your experience can someone with no experience out score you? In my eyes sometimes what you think is the best candidate for the job really is not. The test makes it a fair playing field.

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