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    Default curious of my chances

    Hey guys im new to the forums its seems like a cool place to get alot of info and get in touch with the real deal. anyways im 19 years old and ive been really keeping my eye on firefighting for a while now simply because i just want to help save lives even if it means giving my own. I just want to know if i can get some sort of estimate of my chances in making it as a paid firefighter the least within the next 6 years. right now im taking FTC and emt classes in college. i train in mixed martial arts almost 2 hours everyday so im confident in my cardio, stamina, and the occasional lifting/protein shakes also help. Im 5'8 160 lbs. live in irvine, orange county, i dont have a bad record or anything. i have smoked pot here and there before? i have a slight weakspot for heights but ive dealt with jobs involving using a double ladder to getting up and around houses just fine so i doubt i would have any trouble with that. oh last but not least when i was like 13 when my parents got a divorced i was assigned to coulceling and was even prescribed anti-depressants but i stopped taking them after the first week because i felt they were useless. i do take ADD medication though. haha thats about it. anyways just wanted to know what some of you more experienced folks out there think. oh and i also was wondering what do all the hundreds of hard working candidates that dont place for the jobs do? do they stick around and keep trying while working other jobs? do they just accept volunteering and resort to making cash some other way? ok thanks guys apreciate it.
    Last edited by Max Mansouri; 12-25-2009 at 03:44 PM. Reason: missed some stuff

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    Max- You will get a different answer from different people because each state does things different. Since you are in the OC, please take your question to CaliforniaFirefighter.com for some answered tailored to your situation and location.

    Plus there are a lot of FAQs and answers there as well.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by webteam; 12-31-2009 at 08:17 AM. Reason: Removed url noted

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    Re: what do people do while they're testing? Whatever will pay the bills. You'll find it's not uncommon in most areas, esp one as competitive as CA, for people to test 20 times or more before (if) they get hired.

    Also, I would caution using the phrase "accept volunteering." Many volunteer FFs will have more experience than a career FF will have since they get paged for every fire, whereas career is only working a third of the time. Don't be misled... many volunteers are professionals with a career they never intend on leaving, but volunteer as something fun to do where they can give back to the community.

    Good luck!

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    ok. thanks guys. im just trying to find out as much as i can. i feel confident in myself to pull through lots and lots of hard work but everywhere i go i hear FF is not for everyone which is sorta making me think twice about the commitment im making. I just wana clear up that I think that volunteering to me is extremely noble and patriotic. Though the only thing im still stressin over is how am i going to be able to support myself while testing. i know its competitive here in Cali, so how can i spend the next few years earning enough to live while im trying to keep up with FF training/testing

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    Anything's possible.
    Last edited by FF173; 12-26-2009 at 09:39 PM.

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    Well i live in irvine. which is pretty big yes. theres other city's nearby. like tustin, santa ana, coasta mesa, newport, anaheim. those are all pretty big. i would take any station around here if i got the chance.

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    MM- I would like to give you some advice and heads up.

    First- If you want to be a paid, professional Firefighter- English and grammar skills are huge! You donít have to be a collage scholar, but you need to be able to write reports, medical documents and various other legal documents. If you are testing us in here, that is not a good start. And believe me; the written exam will test your English skills.

    Second- In California, there are hundreds of current, turn key Candidates ready to go now with field experience, CA FF1, CA/NRENT-1, FF1 academy and Fire Tech courses. I donít want to scare you, but the competition is monstrous. Donít expect to see a badge for atleast 3-4 years.

    Lastly- If you are serious about this, you really need to put your life on hold. That means NOT starting a family, buying a house, expensive cars or going into major debt. You need to be single, mobile and constant prepping. That includes school, agilities, testing, practicing, flying to interviews, hotel rooms, rental cars, volunteering, etc. Itís a total lifestyle that you have to embrace.

    I am telling you all of this stuff now so you understand whatís involved. The former Executive in THE ACADEMY made it sound easy by taking his first test, life style change and *boom* he got hired. That does NOT happen 99.99% of the time. Again- Go over to CaliforniaFirefighter.com and you will get some more information.

    Good luck, Bou

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Mansouri View Post
    Well i live in irvine. which is pretty big yes. theres other city's nearby. like tustin, santa ana, coasta mesa, newport, anaheim. those are all pretty big. i would take any station around here if i got the chance.

    Just FYI- Irvine, Tustin, and most of South OC are all OCFA.

    Santa Ana- You need to be bilingual to work there.

    Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Anaheim havenít tested in a while, but should still have lists in place.

    Also- You test for each "department", not station.

    Please PM me if you have any questions....Bou

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    thanks Bou

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    That means NOT starting a family, buying a house, expensive cars or going into major debt. You need to be single, mobile and constant prepping.
    I'm not undermining your advice, but up until this point I've been under the impression that it would actually be beneficial to a candidate to be a married homeowner with children, as this shows stability...? I am a candidate myself, and I've been worrying about being a single renter with no children actually hurting my chances of getting hired.

    Any thoughts?

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    When I was testing, there were a lot of open jobs and most of us did the shotgun approach of testing where ever you can and getting on as many lists as possible.

    Candidate ife broke down into 3 categories and they are listed below-

    #1. With that in mind a typical life of the applicant would include- college classes, collage academy, studying for finals, PCF/Volunteering, training days, driving to interviews, flying to interviews, physical agility tests, traveling to prep for an interview, hotel stays, rental cars, standing line, typing applications, phone calls, networking, politicking. And a current p/t job to pay for all of that. And if you have supportive parents, you are lucky.

    #2. All of that above and I didnít even mention- vacations, holidays, friends, family or dating.

    #3. Now take ALL of the above and mix in kids, house, maintenance, a wife, school, child care, pre-school, soccer practice, babysitters, in-laws, property tax, home owners insurance, etc. None of the above is cheap. And letís not forget the possible end result- divorce. They are never cheap or clean. Now mix in child support, Alimony and legal fees.

    And letís mention one word here- Debt. How is your credit score going to look between the three?

    Now you can live the life of 1, 2 or 3. I can promise you with #3, the #1 lifestyle is going to be very hard to do. I have never been asked at an interview or Chief's interview- "Do you have children, a wife or house"? But what I HAVE been asked is- "What have you done to prepare for this position?" my answer highlighted a very detailed #1 above. YES, it would be nice to slip in the wife, kids and house- but anyone can do that. Or even lie about it.

    Departments want to hire the best FIREFIGHTER today and being a good citizen is nice. But education is the key and itís hard to go to collage/school with kids. And dumping all of that work on the wife/mother is not going to fly. She is not going to stand for that.

    In closing- If I really, REALLY wanted to be a Firefighter- I would remain single, go to school, keep my credit clean, debt low, apply every where and do well on all of my testing. Even having a girlfriend is nice as a support unit, but they are in the game for one thing- a ring and a baby and the stress and pressure is coming down the road.

    Hope this helps, Bou

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    PS- If you are under the age of 30, you donít need to be getting married. Trust me on this. Pretty much every divorced person before the age of 30 all say the exact same thing- "You donít know yourself then. You think you do, but you donít".

    At age 28, I went to my 10 year high school reunion and anyone who got married prior were now divorced- all of them. If you are before the age of 30- Go to school, get some savings, keep low debt and gain some life experiences. Having kids and a wife is easy to do and better after 30. Itís been time tested and proven.

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    I think Bou makes a good point, but I wanted to add to this. I had a wife, a mortgage, a 2 year old son and was on Active Duty about an hour away from where I was applying when I got hired. I can say personally it took a lot of effort on my end to devote the time necessary to the application process, the military and, oh yeah, my family. If you can balance all the things at one and do well, I think it can make you appear like a strong candidate. However, the amount of time you need to dedicate to getting hired if you are whole-heartedly serious is a lot. Just the same with a new marriage or a new child.

    Do what you can now to make yourself the best candidate you can by controlling what you can - your education, your background (no drugs, clean driving record, etc.), your finances (no collections, good payment history, etc.), and so on. You can be very stable by renting and being single or by being a homeowner and married. Just don't be living a flashy "playboy" lifestyle. Not saying you can't have fun, but be responsible. What's most of the bad PR say about us: "Local FF involved in DUI," "FF caught in child porn..." Were these FF on duty when they were doing these acts? Hopefully not, but you live this job 24 hours a day and are a representative of the community and should be someone the public can trust. You don't see many other occupations listed in the headlines unless they're public service.

    But I digress...

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    It definitely makes sense now that you put it that way. I often think to myself that it would be nearly impossible to add children and a wife to my already filled-to-the-rim schedule with school, testing, working out, a full time job, and the ever important sleep and that's not even including time spent travelling for jobs out of town or state like Bou says. My hat's off to those that do it everyday. Much respect.

    But we'll always find a way to make things work if we want something badly enough.... My girlfriend and I are pursuing similar career paths and as a result, have extremely limited time together. I think with an understanding partner and/or family anything is possible, but you're absolutely right.. the hectic life of a FF hopeful is most certainly better facilitated with minimal commitments and prior obligations.

    I'm glad to hear that my domestic status most likely won't affect the decision making process when it comes down to getting the thumbs up, had me a little worried there.

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    Definitely agree with the wife comment. Im 19 and i don't plan on being married till late twenties maybe early 30's anyway but we'll see how life really plays out. I guess I can definitely get in the zone with taking classes and just learning as much as i can while testing as long as i can make some sort of income from a side job. My only concern is what if I NEVER get on full-time. i know here in Cali its super competitive. I would obviously still stick around and get thrilled with any privileges i was given but i cant deny the fact that i would be really really bummed to see myself not getting hired over and over again.

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    MM- If you are serious, I would head over to www.californiafirefighter.com so you can get the local scoop and feel. This is a national board and some of the information here might not apply to your local situation.

    Good luck.

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