1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Middle aged rookie?

    I am a 36 y/o professional...prior military experience. Have often thought of working as a fire fighter, but got married, had some kids...

    A year ago I was involved in a serious car accident, and witnessed first hand what first repsonders do for us. The sacrifices they make. This experience has casued me to consider applying for a job with our local FD. Still a lot to resolve...will my current employer allow me to work as an FF?? Wife and family need to be pursuaded.

    Anyone here started a career with the FD when they were in their mid-30's? What's it like? Are you a better candidate with more life experiences? Our local FD just graduated a 49 year old rookie...not sure if he didn't have prior FD experience though.

    Any thoughts, guidance, encouragment would be appreicated!

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    470

    Default

    With your prior military service, I would say you'd have the mindset to handle the academy training and probie year. It's nothing more than what the drill sergeants did in basic. And frankly, most can't even get to you as much as a drill sergeant. Just remember to laugh with them at yourself and if you think of something to make it more fun at your expense, go for it. If you so them you can laugh and take a joke, it will last not nearly as long.

    I assume you're talking about working for a volunteer dept since you are wondering if your employer will allow it. That's completely up to them. I don't believe their are any laws for vol. firefighters like there are for military reserves where they MUST let you go. On that note, I can't imagine many employers saying no unless you're constantly on taking runs. Talk to the department. Often they will work with your schedule if you tell them you're available only evenings or nights, so long as you make their required runs. Most depts will expect their volunteers to respond to a certain percentage of the pages they receive, and that depends on how busy they are and how big their volunteer pool is.

    I don't think being a little older by itself makes you a better candidate, but your military background and life experiences will definitely help. Remember though, there are many 21 year olds that may have a fire science degree and 5+ years with a vol dept or explorers. I think maturity (which can be gained at any age) is a big factor. Those will definitely help during the interview process.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BigD2009 View Post
    I am a 36 y/o professional...prior military experience. Have often thought of working as a fire fighter, but got married, had some kids...

    A year ago I was involved in a serious car accident, and witnessed first hand what first repsonders do for us. The sacrifices they make. This experience has casued me to consider applying for a job with our local FD. Still a lot to resolve...will my current employer allow me to work as an FF?? Wife and family need to be pursuaded.

    Anyone here started a career with the FD when they were in their mid-30's? What's it like? Are you a better candidate with more life experiences? Our local FD just graduated a 49 year old rookie...not sure if he didn't have prior FD experience though.

    Any thoughts, guidance, encouragment would be appreicated!
    Life is way too short...Go for it, better to regret trying than living the rest of your life wondering, what if?

    I too am a middle-aged guy, wife, 2 kids under 4 and I'll compete with anyone, older or younger, for a postition on a career FD. Being that I am currently in a Volunteer Dept and have been for almost 4 years, I can say 36 is not too late to consider a career change into the best profession available. Experience, stability, finances, responsibility (what I call integrity) are definitely things you may have over conpetitors. As long as you can mentally, physically and emotionally give it 100%!

    Oh yeah, wife rules, so make sure she's 100% behind you and understands what being a firefighter means to you, kids and her, volunteer or career!!!

    Good Luck & Stay Safe,

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Talking

    I take it you plan to become a volunteer firefighter. I was 35 yo when I was shanghaid to join our department. 20 years later now. Trust me even if your 45 a lot of departments will still need you. Especially long term members.

    Go down and make a formal request to join and get on the list. It does take dedication, but FF safety is number 1 issue. You will find satisfaction, but glory seekers are looked down upon.

    What are you waiting for? They can't eat you.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Wheelersburg,OH
    Posts
    48

    Default

    Started my career at 51 as a firefighter for DOE.Go for it,it's just a number.
    It's not that life is so short,it's cause you're dead for so long.

  6. #6
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
    Posts
    10,739

    Thumbs up And...........

    BigD, Welcome. My perspective is a bit different, since this is all I've ever done. My Family has always had a presence in our VFD since Day 1. My Grandfather and my 2 oldest uncles were charter members when the Company was formed back in 1928. As each Male Family member became old enough, they joined, while the Ladies (most of them, anyway) Joined the Ladies Auxiliary. Some 25 years back, a Bylaws change provided for female Members, and we have about 20 percent females on the rolls. As far as my thing - I'm starting my 52nd year as an Active Firefighter. At age 68, I'm still doing OK... That's the Background, Here's my Point.

    In my time, I've seen a lot of folks come and go. Age alone is not a big deal, We've had guys come along at 60 or more and give it a try. Some did well, some didn't. As an Instructor, I've taught folks that had some years on me, and older folks are more "intense" about Training, which is a Very Good Thing. Sitting here, typing this, I've tried to think of any cases that I should throw out for thought. One comes to mind. Longer ago than I want to think about, a guy joined a neighboring VFD. He had a few years on when he was diagnosed with a Disease that slowly ate away at his Muscles. He stopped riding, and went into Administration, where he proved to be a good man to have on the job. VFDs in this area usually are set up to allow for the Membership to elect the Chief, President, etc. on an annual basis, and He was soon elected President of the Company where he served for quite some time. He ran a tight ship, administratively, and was largely responsibile for that VFD reaching a very sound Financial position. The notable thing was he did all of this from a Wheelchair.

    If he could make his dream come true - You can too. Good Luck.......
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and thoughts.

    Here's a little more background.

    This would be for my local FD...Huntsville, AL. My miliatry experience, is USMC. 1991-1995

    Presently I work as a financial advisor, and make a pretty decent living. I look forward to coming to work. Recently I had a chance to spend half a day with a local crew and made me think more about this change...

    I have often heard that a lot of FF's are succesful business people, with the shift schedule 24 on 48 off...if my current employer would OK it...with modern tech, I would never be totally out of contact...some weeks if my shift fell on a Wednesday, I'd have 4 days for my other job.

    For some reason I just have an overwhelming desire to serve my community in a capacity that isn't volunteer work...i.e, local charities, etc...I do that, and it is great, but at the end of the day I feel somewhat unfulfilled. Make sense? The camraderie, and esprit de corps I witnessed the other day was very satisfying and I think I want to be a part of it.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    470

    Default

    Since it sounds like you are considering a career department, the only thing that might have an influence regarding your age would be if there is a maximum age. Many departments themselves don't have a maximum age, however, the State retirement system may have one (a lot of States require you be in the retirement system before age 35). However, not all departments participate in the State retirement fund so it may not be an issue. Contact the department and if they have no concern over your age, go for it! It's one of the best jobs (if not THE best job) in the world. Good luck.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Hi from middle Tennessee!
    By apagea99 in forum Meet and Greet
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-26-2007, 04:21 PM
  2. When is a rookie no longer a rookie?
    By JHR1985 in forum Probie House: The Place for Newbies
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: 12-22-2006, 12:07 AM
  3. Middle Twp. Fatal
    By Firefighter156 in forum Fire Wire
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-04-2002, 06:43 PM
  4. Using aged airplanes.
    By Ron In Lompoc in forum Wildland Firefighting
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-24-2002, 08:36 PM
  5. Thanks Middle Island FD, NY
    By iwood51 in forum Fire Wire
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-21-2000, 05:06 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register