11-24-2009, 11:51 AM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
Question About Being a FireFighter
im Currently in College taking fire science classes to get a degree and presue my carreer being a fire fighter. and i have a question which has stoped my in many of my selections of a job.
im Completely deaf in my left ear, nerve damage when i was born. and was wondering if this would effect my chances in becoming a firefighter, i have above average hearing in my right ear. just cant hear in left ear
11-24-2009, 02:17 PM #2
You're in college?
I would recommend taking some English classes while you are there because it is a real shame that you graduated without being able to spell and/or punctuate.
I'm not the spelling police, but you're bound to find out that many entrance exams have a spelling and reading comprehension portion. And that is the second hurdle at getting the job. The first is a neat, and I would go typed, application. So knowing how to spell words like "pursue" and "career" may be beneficial to you.
As for the hearing issue, you should figure out which departments you may want to test for and ask them what the requirements are for the hearing. Because that will be checked in a medical screening (usually). As you will find out through your Fire Science classes, you become extremely limited to two senses inside a fire building: hearing and touch (sight if you're lucky). Having no hearing in one ear is definitely a detriment to one of those senses you do have, so like I said; give an ask directly to these deparments. I'm honestly thinking you'll be fine, but there isn't a M.D. after my name.
Last edited by ffbam24; 11-24-2009 at 02:20 PM.
11-24-2009, 03:38 PM #3
Quit worrying about it. If you want to be firefighter, then make the plunge and do it. You are the one holding you back. They can't kill you, but they can say "no". You just have to try again.
This only becomes an issue when you need to have someone repeat instructions.
There are two guys on our roster that have hearing issues. They have never let it hamper their ability to do the job.
But if you are capable of hearing "above average" in one ear, then I'd say you are "way above average" since most young guys don't listen anyway.
11-24-2009, 03:59 PM #4
Ain't that the truth?
A lot of folks have trouble listening with the two that they got!
11-24-2009, 04:34 PM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
I beg to differ guys. There is a NFPA (not sure which one) that discusses medical evaluations of several areas, one of which is hearing. I have seen in writing where it was used to disable a firefighter from duty due to the outcome. You might want to research it further at www.nfpa.org . It is there. I would start with reading NFPA1500 and going from there.
11-24-2009, 04:46 PM #6
11-24-2009, 06:24 PM #7
LT2387: While I think you may be right, how many depts really comply with NFPA 100%?
I haven't tried to find the specific NFPA (1582) language either because I don't think it applies here and it is not my job to bust his bubble.
What I stated is that he should jump in and try. If he does not try it, it will not happen. Thus, he is holding himself back.
He also stated that he had above average hearing in one ear. I stated he was already ahead because most guys do not listen....
As far as our guys that have hearing issues, they do a great job. One has about 50% in both ears. The other is about 25%/45%. They are far from finished. They will decide when it is time to walk away.
I tend to believe that Fire Depts define what rules they adopt. If NFPA was "THE ABSOLUTE RULE", then we would have fulltime firefighters in every jurisdiction, 4-man Engine Companies on every shift, 6-man Truck companies, etc...
We tend to pick and chose our rules by looking at NFPA. Almost every dept tries to comply with the two-in and two-out Standard, but does it really happen every time? Not with one 2-man Engine it doesn't, not until the cavalry shows up.
NFPA is a Standard, a suggestion of what they think we should try to achieve. Do you see 4-man Engines and 6-man Trucks, etc... everywhere? If NFPA was everything, we all would be forced to be compliant... 24/7. The money isn't there to do that.
When NFPA or Uncle Sam provides enough money for us to become NFPA complaint, then it will happen... not before.
But this issue isn't about NFPA or Laws. It is about what this young man wants to do with his life.
I don't see a point telling someone that they can't do something that they really want to try.
It is my job to help guys become the best they can be.
If he doesn't make it, he at least knows he tried.
11-24-2009, 06:41 PM #8
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
I understand your point but I have seen in my own department, as well as others picking and choosing the NFPA's they want to follow, even 1500. 1500 was my basis to start with in that it pulls compliancy of others into the mix without adoption of the exact standard.
11-24-2009, 08:16 PM #9
We use NFPA to establish our own rules as needed based upon capability..... or when it suits the purpose.
So yes, if it suits the purpose to 'get rid of' or 'eliminate' someone, we can blame it on NFPA. We all have seen this applied somewhere along the line.
So it seems that we see 'eye to eye' on this.
I appreciate this discussion and agree with you on your interpretation and application of NFPA.
In reality, my opinion doesn't matter. It isn't about me or the Standard.
I just don't want to use a negative before he is out of the chute.
I still encourage him to try.
If the dept he applies at has an issue with him, then they get to decide.
11-24-2009, 11:10 PM #10
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
Same here I agree for him to try and do not want to discourage him but still wanted him to know the possibility exists
11-24-2009, 11:37 PM #11
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
Thank you to the people who have responded to my question does anyone have information regarding hearing tests when become a firefighter or something? cause i mean i don't want to go through all this and then find out o sorry u cannot join or something because of my hearing, i know some people on this forum where talking about having bad hearing but i am competently deaf in my left ear. and i think it would be more devastating to hear it when im done with everything have trying to get stuff planed out then to just see information regarding the topic
Last edited by abiddar; 11-24-2009 at 11:40 PM.
11-25-2009, 08:49 AM #12
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
- Way South of the Mason Dixon line
Its a shame that you have that problem, atleast you are willing to try and you are in college attempting to get a degree. Maybe you could look into the post incident lines of work i.e. arson investigation, etc. Another shame, just because you misspelled some words that someone has to get on your *** about it. Good luck and dont give up.
11-26-2009, 02:51 AM #13
Here is the NFPA Hearing Standard.
NFPA 1582 - 2007 Edition
6.5 Ears and Hearing.
6.5.1 Category A medical conditions shall include the following:
(1) Chronic vertigo or impaired balance as demonstrated by the inability to tandem gait walk
(2) On audiometric testing, average hearing loss in the unaided better ear greater than 40 decibels (dB) at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 HZ, and 3000 Hz when the audiometric device is calibrated to ANSI Z24.5, Audiometric Device Testing
(3) Any ear condition (or hearing impairment) that results in the candidate not being able to safely perform one or more of the essential job tasks
6.5.2 Category B medical conditions shall include the following:
(1) Unequal hearing loss
(2) Average uncorrected hearing deficit at the test frequencies Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 HZ, and 3000 Hz greater than 40 dB in either ear
(3) Atresia, stenosis, or tumor of the auditory canal
(4) External otitis
(5) Agenesis or traumatic deformity of the auricle
(6) Mastoiditis or surgical deformity of the mastoid
(7) Ménière’s syndrome, labyrinthitis, or tinnitus
(8) Otitis media
I still encourage you to give it a try. I would not disclose anything until you see the entry questions that you must answer.
When (if) the issue of your hearing comes up, then you can discuss your capabilities and options, if.... it is going to be an issue.
I have not seen very many Depts get hung up on the hearing standard.
You seem to have adjusted well despite your hearing loss. You just cannot let it hold you back and use it as a crutch.
Depending upon the Departments Entry Process, there are many other items that are of equal or higher concern. Many Departments hold Entry Test or Civil Service Exams. The competition for most entry positions will be fierce, with 10 to 100 applicates applying for each position.
So with that knowledge, you need to find out everything you can about their process. Don't fall for the on-line Fire Dept Test kits, they just take your money. Some Depts provide a Practice Entry Test upon request. Visit with anyone you may know on the department about what they went through, or just call the Training Officer at the department.
Remember, the more tools you have in your toolbox, the easier it is to build upon the career. If you are already engaged in Fire Academy, you will still most likely be required to attend their academy. Every department does it "their way". Acquiring your EMT-B up front will help you initially since many departments are now making it mandatory; some expect EMT-P. So ask questions and acquire the tools and knowledge.
Many of us old guys probably had it easier than todays recruits. The NFPA Standards were more of a myth than anything that we had ever seen; kind of like BIGFOOT. The academies were not as standardized as they are today, mostly due to regional requirements and lack of funding. But in some respects, it was alot harder for us old dogs to adapt to change as Fire Science and Technology advanced. Water still puts out fire, but over the last 40 years we have made tremendous gains in the way we train the new guys and the way we approach our mission. Our job description has also been redefined and changed over the years.
But when the crap hits the fan, who you gonna call? The Fire Department.
It is a fact:
You cannot succeed if you have never failed.
If you never try, you are just a victim.
Best of Luck
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