Thread: My situation...

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Default My situation...

    So I have found myself in an interesting situation, and I was looking to get some advice on the issue. I live in California and im currently attending school to get my 2 year fire science degree (and eventually transfer). I have about 35 units already completed and graduated from high school about 7 months ago. I already obtained my EMT-B through an EMS Academy in Santa Maria. Where I live (Santa Barbara County) there are very few jobs available (volunteer, or paid) that relate to the fire service.. In Santa Barbara, Volunteer positions are literally non-existent. I cant begin to express how frustrating it is not being able to find some job that somehow relates to what i want to do... Even volunteer.

    So this is where the twist begins. I visited my sister in a place called Keizer Oregon this last weekend. They have volunteer stations all over up there, and there are career stations too... When i visited, my sisters boyfriend (who is a volunteer FF) told me that he would be happy to work with me at the volunteer station, and introduced me to his captain and chief. Both encouraged me to work up there and attend the Chemeketa fire program in which is supposedly very good.

    Now, my first question : is leaving California in search of experience as a volunteer a bad idea? I would love to live up there for a few years, and work as a volunteer but i feel like my heart is in California and this is where I want to live out my actual CAREER as a firefighter... Would the transition back to California be near impossible? and would i be a valuable candidate to employers here in CA after i return? Of course, I could find somewhere in California to live and volunteer, but the cost of living is so much higher in a lot of California, and Id want to move somewhere where i know some people since im still young. The issue i see is that the fire fighting here and in Oregon is somewhat different, considering during our fire season al ot of the fires are wild land, and in Oregon there is not really a lot of wild land fires.

    Input, advice?

    I am currently working on applying for jobs around here. I have applied for a position at a fire station on an indian reservation, I have applied for Cal Fire seasonal in San Luis Obispo, and im in the process of applying for AMR and San Luis Obispo Ambulance.

    One thing I have heard over and over again is "Its about who you know"... Here in Santa Barbara, I know the guys at the local County stations but its nearly impossible to start working there under the age of 25 just because of the competitiveness. It seems like i would know a lot more people in Oregon to get my foot in the door... I know that it may seem like im lazy and want an easy way in, but trust me, that is not the case. I just want to start building my resume, start getting experience, and continue going to school. The issue for me is, where i live, the opportunities are very slim.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Nickjp42; 01-28-2010 at 12:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2010



  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    north of San Francisco


    In my opinion the fires burn just as hot in every other state as they do in California. The best thing you can have to present in an oral interview is that you have already done the job somewhere else. It doesn’t matter if you were paid, volunteer, paid on call, civilian, or military, full time or seasonal, if you have worked as a firefighter you are more qualified than someone that has not.

    As far as testing and being hired having to do with who you know, I would disagree. First of all I have personal experience with hundreds of people that have gotten hired in So-Cal that didn’t know anyone. Second while we all see people that knew or were related to someone on the inside, I would say the reason they are working there isn’t because they were picked, but because they had people help them prepare for the test and they did the best. Possibly in a tie it may help, but each department has to be able to show why they hired one person and not another. Look up what is going on the Oakland, California test. No department would want to be exposed the that kind of media attention. Maybe in smaller rural departments they can get away with it, but not in the area you are testing. Besides, even if that was going on, there is really nothing you can do about it, what you can do is get yourself in the best position possible for getting hired.

    It sounds like you are on the right path, keep it up. Having the classes and a degree help you in getting hired. Having experience as a firefighter helps also. But to have both is the by far the best. What a great thing for you to be able to say in an interview, “I wanted to work here for your department and I couldn’t get any experience in the area. So I got my schooling out of the way and went to where I could get some experience, and reinforce what I had learned. That way I could show you the best fire candidate I could be”.

    There is no better way to get a job as a firefighter, than to already have a job as a firefighter. Being a medic doesn't hurt either.

    Good Luck, Capt Rob
    Last edited by FFighterRob; 01-28-2010 at 09:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Thank you so much for your input and advice. I appreciate that you took the time to read my novel above. haha. I know it was a lot to read. Thanks again for the help!

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