1. #1
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    Default New guy here feeling a bit discouraged

    I have spent a great deal of time this the past week reading through this forum. The firefighters here appear enthused and helpful with other potential new hires, so I thought I may also get some feedback or constructive criticism. I am a General Contractor and have have been in business for the last 6 years and have managed to keep my company busy during these times. The last 15 years of my life have been in construction and I enjoy doing what I do however something is missing. I like to push myself towards challenging positions and becoming a firefighter will do just that. Ya I know I sound like the guy who wants to be the hero, but I am far from that. Honestly all I want is to make people pleased knowing that there are those who care and have pride in what they do. So here it is, I am 35 years old, A licensed General Contractor, 5'11" 168 lbs physically sound. I'm 3 months distant from an Associates Degree in Fire Science, and 76 college units. When I was 19 years old I unknowingly purchased a stolen engine and received a felony for receiving stolen property, It has been reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged. I am married with two wonderful children. I carry no medical/EMT certs, I have never applied for a firefighter position. Time is definitely not on my side, nor is my previous conviction. I am just searching for a little bit of advice or encouragement from others who may have been in a similar position that could steer me in the right path. Thank you for your time.

    Mike

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    What state are you in??

    Have you researched what your state /local departments require, if anything to get hired???


    As far as conviction depends on each department
    You would have to ask each place you apply at


    Some ask if you have EVER been arrested

    But if you have been good since ten some take it into account


    Suggest you apply and go through the process sometimes that helps a person decide if they want the job

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    I am in Southern California. I have lived here all my life. Purchased my house in 2000 and started raising my family. My wife and I are fine with regards to relocating if needed. I have been quietly and slowly advancing towards a career transition through the last couple of years. Just recently I've been experiencing a shift in a more desired determination to apply, although haven't checked local or state-wide prerequisites. In the eyes of the Fire Department a degree in fire science is all I have to show for, therefor I have been focusing on my education before I go any further.

    Mike

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    Suggest HIGHLY you check local requirements!!!!!!!!!!

    Do not know about calif but more then likely an AA will only look good on the resume



    Other suggestion is to start applying and testing at any department that is hiring!!!!!!!!!0

  5. #5
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    Wink You have to be hungry!!! IT IS POSSIBLE!!

    Quote Originally Posted by y0manda View Post
    I am in Southern California. I have lived here all my life. Purchased my house in 2000 and started raising my family. My wife and I are fine with regards to relocating if needed. I have been quietly and slowly advancing towards a career transition through the last couple of years. Just recently I've been experiencing a shift in a more desired determination to apply, although haven't checked local or state-wide prerequisites. In the eyes of the Fire Department a degree in fire science is all I have to show for, therefor I have been focusing on my education before I go any further.

    Mike
    Yo "Manda"! I too hail from the sunshine state and have been in the biz for a "while"! Sounds like you're feeling that midlife pull to do something more meaningful in your life and to leave a legacy on this earth that you did for others, and not just yourself! (howz my psychology training working?)

    Anyway...all that said, there may be many that will disagree with me, BUT I'm the eternal optimist, and I believe based on what little background you've provided here, that you have a shot at this profession. Why?

    First and foremost you have a trade in construction. Back in the day, this is all the fire service used to hire is tradesmen..i.e. electricians, carpenters, roofers, concrete guys, framers..ect.. The reason for this should be obvious; firefighters have a need to understand building construction, and have the mechanical aptitude to use an abundance of tools! No brainer right? You'd be surprised how many people come on the fire department these days that can barely start the lawnmower on yard day! Ask them how the chain goes on a chainsaw and it's evident they never even adjusted the chain on their own bicycles as a kid! Ask them about a spark plug gap and their eyes glaze over!!

    Secondly, you've held a regular job. Now this seems like a dumb thing BUT, clearly you have a record of having "some" accountability. Now I've had some bad experiences with contractors, BUT I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're a stand up guy that has reported to work, ON TIME have some sense of teamwork, AND HONEST!!

    Lastly, you're married, 35 years old and have kids. This shows maturity, responsibility to your family and some stability.The average age of hire in recent years where I work: 36 years old. The oldest? 50 years old. Recent legal rulings allow you to come on at a later age, as long as you can pass the physical requirements every year! (Yes...every year!)

    Now does all of this give you a black, American Express Card to saunter on up into a firefighter job? Absolutely not!! But these are foundational traits that are generally looked upon favorably!

    Now about your felony! I'm one who thinks that as long as it occurred when you were 19 and there have been no other issues, plus it's been reduced down to a misdemeanor and expunged; you're likely in good shape! With a caveat!!. DO NOT LIE!! THEY WILL FIND OUT ABOUT IT!! You need complete transparency!! Don't omit a single thing! If you've kept your nose clean all this time, I believe you still have a shot. Many departments here in California, will still hire you with a misdemeanor, as long as it occurred a long time ago, depending on what you did and as long as you've been a good boy!! (check www.eatstress.com and check with CaptBob on this too).

    In closing, if this is your dream and it's a recurring theme in your life, then your flesh won't allow you to do anything else. You don't need a fire science degree. EMT and especially Paramedic certification will separate the men from the boys! You're off to a very good start dawg!! You sound like you're in good physical shape and with some work on your oral interview skills (which is where most guys end up taking a crap) you can be on your way!! IT IS TOTALLY POSSIBLE!!

    "The Axeman"
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    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

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    Being in California has some positives and negatives in your situation. First and foremost, as Axe mentioned, most depts don't have a maximum age. Of course, check with them to be sure, but some states have maximum ages (usually around 35). So it is at least possible.

    Kind of a middle ground situation, but will just require extra work. A lot of depts in So Calif require you to possess certain certs in order to apply. Those might include FF1/2, EMT-B, etc. However, there are some depts that will hire you off the street with no experience. You'll need to put in a lot of work looking for those depts. I don't know of them off-hand as I haven't lived in CA for years. In order to be competitive, you should probably have these at a minimum and if you can afford to work it into your schedule, get your paramedic cert too.

    Finally, regarding your felony. This is going to obviously cause the background investigator to look into it closely. The HUGE positive spin on this is that it happened so long ago. It sounds like you've done a lot with your life since then and running a business is no easy task. Hopefully you've been able to keep your record clean since then.

    CA is very competitive and there are candidates that have a crystal clean background and already have all these certs. But you have one thing that many probably do not... life experience. You won't be able to waltz into a job, but I think you'll be competitive in an open process.

    Look around the local community colleges (El Camino, OCC, Mt. Sac) and find out about their fire academies. You might be able to complete one over the course of a semester or two and then work paid-on-call and use that as a stepping stone into a full-time position. Although not as common in So Calif, look for a volunteer dept. You might be able to get your training there also.

    Good luck!

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    Thank You guys for the boost!

    Today I called a few places to get my EMT cert. Most of them are full or the class had started. I found an ROP class about 20 miles from my house that starts August 11th. Tomorrow I go in for an assessment test and to pay the class fee of a whopping $1,200.00.
    The class is Mon-Thurs 6-9pm and every other Saturday for a full day. Class ends Dec 16th.

    Will this class get me the EMT-I (basic) in which I see a requirement for applicants on 90% of openings? At Santa Ana college they have the Fire Academy scheduled for full time employees, however the class is about a year long. I can't afford to be off work for 12 weeks for the normal fire academy unless I sell a few personal things to cover my mortgage for that period.

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by y0manda View Post
    Thank You guys for the boost!

    Today I called a few places to get my EMT cert. Most of them are full or the class had started. I found an ROP class about 20 miles from my house that starts August 11th. Tomorrow I go in for an assessment test and to pay the class fee of a whopping $1,200.00.
    The class is Mon-Thurs 6-9pm and every other Saturday for a full day. Class ends Dec 16th.

    Will this class get me the EMT-I (basic) in which I see a requirement for applicants on 90% of openings? At Santa Ana college they have the Fire Academy scheduled for full time employees, however the class is about a year long. I can't afford to be off work for 12 weeks for the normal fire academy unless I sell a few personal things to cover my mortgage for that period.

    Mike
    I'm not sure where you're doing the ROP Program. Some will have EMT as part of the curriculum and so do not! What ROP will provide is a very basic program, akin to an academy. In fact, (you should verify this) this ROP program may be the equivalent of a Firefighter I certifiable academy. You should check, because if it is a certified academy program, going through Santa Ana's program may be a duplication in effort. I went through Santa Ana's 51st Fire Academy back in 1984. It's one of the finest academies and held in very high esteem in the Orange County area and through out Southern California. Even the part-time academy has a good reputation. Even if the ROP program is not certified, it's training and exposure you've never had;so that's good! Something tells me, however, at $1200.00, it's an academy program and certified. Let me know what you find out!

    You have plenty of time dawg! I don't want you to feel like you've got some kinda rare disease and have a short time to live before you become a firefighter. If you're diligent and press forward, obtaining your EMT and as zzyyzx said, get into a volunteer program of some type. You'll be right on course. Now I will say there aren't many volunteer programs in Southern California. In fact, there are some "call-firefighter" programs out in Riverside County and San Bernardino County, but many of those programs require you to live within several minutes of the station. Some departments still have reserve or auxilliary firefighter programs, where you actually work a full 24 hour shift, once a week. A certified academy, and EMT is usually required. Keep your nose to the grindstone and before you know it, you'll be one!!

    "The Axeman"
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    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yield Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theaxemancometh View Post
    You have plenty of time dawg! I don't want you to feel like you've got some kinda rare disease and have a short time to live before you become a firefighter.


    I will post tomorrow once I find out what this ROP class is exactly offering.
    Coming from Orange Coast College to Santa Ana College in 95 I remember looking through the class catalogue and seeing their fire academy program.... I wish I had signed up then!

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    Default Emergency Medical Technician

    This course provides training in all elements of pro-hospital, basic life support in accordance with the standards prescribed by the California Administrative Code, Title XXII and by the local emergency medical services agency. Instructions includes patient assessment, shock, airway management, immobilization, dressing and bandaging, extrication and rescue, communications and other emergency responces. Course context is taught through the lectures, teacher demonstrations, self-directed instructions, skills laboratory and unpaid practices experiences in community classroom (hostpital and field sites)

    4 months totaling 250 hrs

    This is all I could find out hence there were only two ladies working in the receptionist office. They confirmed I will need to register and pass a test after course is complete to be certified. I received a 1200 page text book, and will be fitted for a uniform first day of class. I need to be live scanned prior to class completion, and they provide CPR training and cert through American Heart Association. Good thing I have already taken Anatomy and Physiology in college, It may be of some use for this class.


    EDIT... I have done a little more math and research regarding this Class.. 271 class hours, EMT-I .

    Mike
    Last edited by y0manda; 08-06-2010 at 11:36 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by y0manda View Post
    This course provides training in all elements of pro-hospital, basic life support in accordance with the standards prescribed by the California Administrative Code, Title XXII and by the local emergency medical services agency. Instructions includes patient assessment, shock, airway management, immobilization, dressing and bandaging, extrication and rescue, communications and other emergency responces. Course context is taught through the lectures, teacher demonstrations, self-directed instructions, skills laboratory and unpaid practices experiences in community classroom (hostpital and field sites)

    4 months totaling 250 hrs

    This is all I could find out hence there were only two ladies working in the receptionist office. They confirmed I will need to register and pass a test after course is complete to be certified. I received a 1200 page text book, and will be fitted for a uniform first day of class. I need to be live scanned prior to class completion, and they provide CPR training and cert through American Heart Association. Good thing I have already taken Anatomy and Physiology in college, It may be of some use for this class.


    EDIT... I have done a little more math and research regarding this Class.. 271 class hours, EMT-I .

    Mike
    ....And there you have it!!! You're in the process of signing, sealing and delivering your EMT training! This is good, because many academies are now starting to require you to have EMT already prior to enrollment. Some academies have EMT as part of the curriculum and may make you go through it with the rest of the class. BUT, you'll already have it under your belt and if you have to go through it again, it'll will be like taking candy from a baby!!

    You're on your way dawg!! EMT is no joke if you haven't had exposure to some of these concepts, so FOCUS and thoroughly ingratiate yourself into the work, the culture and the people you're training with; you'll learn a lot!!!

    Keep in mind, if a test for firefighter emerges while you're going through ROP, and it's an open test (meaning they don't require any experience, training, certs, ect..) GET ON IT!! Don't sleep on the opportunity....take the test!!! In the interim, there's much you can do to introduce yourself to the fire service.
    1) Ask lots of questions to those that are testing, have tested with departments and will be testing. There's an enormous brain trust out there of cats who are in the system and can answer many of your questions and concerns.

    2) Talk to other firefighters, visit fire stations and talk to guys that have recently been hired. Ask about the hiring process; get familiar with terminology and the culture.

    3) Arrange ride-alongs, read materials. www.eatstress.com has a plethora of free content to get you in the groove of testing, preparing for interviews and CPAT.
    4)If you need, since I'm local, PM me. I'd be glad to give you some assistance and answer your questions! Good luck bro!!

    "The Axeman"
    _____________
    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yield Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

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    Pay attention to big city positions since SOME of them only require a GED and a SSN. The best course of action in my opinion would be to go after the medical/EMT certs. Get your basic, volunteer at a local FD. Keep applying, since you have a family I don't know how willing you would be to move but you just need to network and research locally. Good luck

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    I guess it all depends on what you would like to do. If you are looking to be on a big city department, many of them don't require that you have an EMT certification or prior training. With that being said, some bigger cities weigh more heavily on previous convictions than others. I wouldn't let that discourage you from applying though. If you are looking for a smaller department, it might benefit you to get your EMT and volunteer. Anyway you slice it, you gotta keep trying. Your skill set in construction is very valuable and I would put emphasis on it. So much of what we do is based on building construction.

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