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  1. #1
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    Default How exciting/dangerous is firefighting?

    I'm 22, trying to get money to finish college (half way through)... I want to get a degree first before I do anything.

    But after... I really don't know what I want to do. I know what I don't want to do, have a desk job, be a banker, be a lawyer, any of that sort of thing.

    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot. The fact that I get to help save people's lives is also extremely appealing. The deep bonds that I presumably would develop with my crewmates would also be awesome.

    Now the reason I started thinking about this career path (before I really didn't have any in mind at all)... was after I started watching the show "Rescue Me". You guys have probably heard of it at least. But anyways it's about a group of firefighters in NYC. It's not really just a "drama" because it's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. But it's also filled with sadness, and the scenes of them rushing through burning buildings just caught my attention. I can't think of another job that allows you to experience extreme danger and help people so much at the same time.

    But of course, it's a TV SHOW, so what I want to know from you guys is...... how much of that is dramatized? How much is it "just hollywood"? Keep in mind if I took this career path I would DEFINITELY want to do it in a huge city like NYC or SF or LA... I'm not planning on being a firefighter (if I choose that route) in a small town.

    thanks!
    Last edited by NoxNoctum; 09-12-2010 at 06:11 AM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member FiremanLyman's Avatar
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    Do you like waffles? Then you'll like firefighting. It is just about as awesome as eating waffles.
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  3. #3
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    REAL firefighting is JUST LIKE that show rescue me....To the "T" actually...We go to HUGE fires EVERYDAY, all the time actually...

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    A more accurate TV show would probably be Golden Girls or perhaps The Young and the Restless.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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  5. #5
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Rescue Me is a drama/comedy? Huh, and all this time, I thought it was a History-channel-based documentary.

    To be honest, what you'll love more than going to fires and rescuing people every day is what you're able to get into on the many days off you'll have. For example, me and the guys from my shift ride around in a black mid-1980's GM van in the Los Angeles underground, practicing vigilante justice and helping those who have no where else to turn.
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 09-12-2010 at 12:39 PM.
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    Well, assuming this is a serious post and not a drunk middle of the night thing, I'll toss in my two cents. Assuming you are going to restrict yourself to large depts only, you are going to have a tough road ahead. Those departments often have thousands of applicants applying for each opening (i.e. if they're hiring 10 people, expect over 10,000 applicants). Honestly, with comments like yours about experiencing danger and being an adrenaline junkie, I'd be really concerned about you freelancing or doing something to jeopardize your crew.

    If you are serious, I would suggest you doing a ride along with a local mid-sized suburban dept and if you can get a ride-along with a large metro, try that also. Remember that the calls you see on TV are "once-in-a-career" calls for 99% of the real firefighters out there. Yes, the minor auto accidents, stove fires and 3 am nursing home EMS runs are not sexy and glamorous, but that's the bread and butter of most fire depts. Even FDNY has seen a drastic reduction in fire in the last 20-30 years as building construction and fire prevention improve.

  7. #7
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    On a more serious note, to add onto what zzyyzx said, you're going to be one of thousands of applicants for a position, and a lot of large departments only hire every few years. However, even if you made it on one of these department the likelihood of catching fire has a lot to do with your response district, socio-economic development of the area, things of that nature.

    For most departments, EMS is going to be 50%-75% of what you do every day. If you're not into EMS, you're not going to enjoy a lot of what you do at work.

    Rescue Me is, eh, 25% realistic. The parts showing them going to and returning from calls is pretty realistic (ie: we really do ride around in the big red truck). So are the parts with people getting married and divorced. Maybe 5% of the firehouse drama. The rest is a soap opera that happens to be centered around a group of firemen, and not school teachers or taxi drivers.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzyyzx View Post
    Well, assuming this is a serious post and not a drunk middle of the night thing, I'll toss in my two cents. Assuming you are going to restrict yourself to large depts only, you are going to have a tough road ahead. Those departments often have thousands of applicants applying for each opening (i.e. if they're hiring 10 people, expect over 10,000 applicants). Honestly, with comments like yours about experiencing danger and being an adrenaline junkie, I'd be really concerned about you freelancing or doing something to jeopardize your crew.

    If you are serious, I would suggest you doing a ride along with a local mid-sized suburban dept and if you can get a ride-along with a large metro, try that also. Remember that the calls you see on TV are "once-in-a-career" calls for 99% of the real firefighters out there. Yes, the minor auto accidents, stove fires and 3 am nursing home EMS runs are not sexy and glamorous, but that's the bread and butter of most fire depts. Even FDNY has seen a drastic reduction in fire in the last 20-30 years as building construction and fire prevention improve.
    Well thanks for the words of realism regarding large departments.

    I still wanna finish my degree first so I've got a while to think about this stuff. And what's an EMS run?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VESmedic View Post
    REAL firefighting is JUST LIKE that show rescue me....To the "T" actually...We go to HUGE fires EVERYDAY, all the time actually...
    Cmon now, don't mess with me, I'm just asking for advice and wisdom.

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    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoxNoctum View Post
    I
    I really don't know what I want to do. I know what I don't want to do, have a desk job, be a banker, be a lawyer, any of that sort of thing.

    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot. The fact that I get to help save people's lives is also extremely appealing. The deep bonds that I presumably would develop with my crewmates would also be awesome.

    thanks!
    If you want some thrills, join the Army or Marines, I here tell there a war going on and if you want to get your rocks off I'm sure they will be more than happy to find a place for you.
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
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  11. #11
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoxNoctum View Post
    And what's an EMS run?
    EMS = Emergency Medical Services.
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  12. #12
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    Best job in the world, period.

    Put it this way. When I wake up in the morning to go onto shift I never say to myself "man I don't want to go into work today". In fact, I don't even call it work when talking about it to family members and such.

    Yes the 2am EMS calls for bs can become monotonous, but it's still better then being stuck in a office for 40 hours a week.

  13. #13
    Forum Member EngineCO38's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoxNoctum View Post

    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot.

    Now the reason I started thinking about this career path (before I really didn't have any in mind at all)... was after I started watching the show "Rescue Me". You guys have probably heard of it at least. But anyways it's about a group of firefighters in NYC. It's not really just a "drama" because it's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. But it's also filled with sadness, and the scenes of them rushing through burning buildings just caught my attention. I can't think of another job that allows you to experience extreme danger and help people so much at the same time.
    To be honest, those two parts of your post I quoted leads me to believe that being a Firefighter is not the right job for you. We have an "adrenaline junkie" on our dept and he's a freakin knot head. Ask him what a higbee indicator is and he thinks I'm talking about sports. His hearts not in the job, which only makes him a burden on those who are in it for true reasons.

    And the real Fire Service is nothing like Rescue Me, yeah its good for a laugh now and again but other than that not a true representation of what we do on a day to day basis.

    I would seriously look into the fire service, visit your local firehouse, go on ride alongs. Get the real story before you make a decision, and try and keep your Adrenaline under control.
    Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoxNoctum View Post
    I'm 22, trying to get money to finish college (half way through)... I want to get a degree first before I do anything.

    But after... I really don't know what I want to do. I know what I don't want to do, have a desk job, be a banker, be a lawyer, any of that sort of thing.

    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot. The fact that I get to help save people's lives is also extremely appealing. The deep bonds that I presumably would develop with my crewmates would also be awesome.

    Now the reason I started thinking about this career path (before I really didn't have any in mind at all)... was after I started watching the show "Rescue Me". You guys have probably heard of it at least. But anyways it's about a group of firefighters in NYC. It's not really just a "drama" because it's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. But it's also filled with sadness, and the scenes of them rushing through burning buildings just caught my attention. I can't think of another job that allows you to experience extreme danger and help people so much at the same time.

    But of course, it's a TV SHOW, so what I want to know from you guys is...... how much of that is dramatized? How much is it "just hollywood"? Keep in mind if I took this career path I would DEFINITELY want to do it in a huge city like NYC or SF or LA... I'm not planning on being a firefighter (if I choose that route) in a small town.

    thanks!
    Lol is this a joke?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BULL321 View Post
    If you want some thrills, join the Army or Marines, I here tell there a war going on and if you want to get your rocks off I'm sure they will be more than happy to find a place for you.
    HAHA, sorry brother, had to laugh. I left a good dept and joined the Marines, and now I'm more bored than I have ever been. I can't wait to get out and run a few EMS calls and false alarms again.

    As for the OP, it's worth it when you get to help folks. As for me, it might have 5% to do with adrenaline, the rest is pure wanting to help folks. It's a good job, but if you're doing it to get an adrenaline fix, well, get a rich boy job and start sky diving , racing, or something.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoxNoctum View Post
    But of course, it's a TV SHOW, so what I want to know from you guys is...... how much of that is dramatized? How much is it "just Hollywood"? Keep in mind if I took this career path I would DEFINITELY want to do it in a huge city like NYC or SF or LA... I'm not planning on being a firefighter (if I choose that route) in a small town.

    thanks!
    At the risk of sounding corny, the career choose you, you do not choose this career. Unlike many careers this is one that leave to with emotional baggage, even in a small department. If you do not have the mind set you will either not last, or not be good at the job.
    Do yourself and you potential department a favor. Complete school, and work outside of the emergency field for a couple of years (banker, retail, construction) and then trying emergency services, whether EMS (ambulance), Fire, or Law. At least then you have something to fall back on if it does not work out.

  17. #17
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down And.............

    There are times that I don't know where to start, and this is one of them. As a 52 year Member of a Station that runs around 4,000 call per year, I've seen a lot....... You haven't. What you should do, in my opinion, is Find a Busy Volunteer Fire Department, and apply for Membership. You need to understand that this is a Way of Life, not a "Job"..... Try it, see what you think, but even more importantly, see what others think of you..... And don't go off about you don't want anything to do with a Small Department. That would be a quick way to get shown the Door.....
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  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefightinirish217 View Post
    HAHA, sorry brother, had to laugh. I left a good dept and joined the Marines, and now I'm more bored than I have ever been. I can't wait to get out and run a few EMS calls and false alarms again.
    I hear you Brother. How much longer you got left in?
    Stay Safe
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    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
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  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    There are times that I don't know where to start, and this is one of them. As a 52 year Member of a Station that runs around 4,000 call per year, I've seen a lot....... You haven't. What you should do, in my opinion, is Find a Busy Volunteer Fire Department, and apply for Membership. You need to understand that this is a Way of Life, not a "Job"..... Try it, see what you think, but even more importantly, see what others think of you..... And don't go off about you don't want anything to do with a Small Department. That would be a quick way to get shown the Door.....
    The Chairman of the Board has spoken, you would do good to listen to him! Great advice Harve.
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL
    http://sylvafiredeptnc.tripod.com

  20. #20
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    its super exciting, lets see my last shift we went to a textile factory fire right around shift change, and one of the guys fell through the floor and I caught him. He was dangling above the fire and hes all "let me go, you got kids" and I told him "You go, we go". I said we because I was slipping and one of the other guys had to hold onto me so I wouldn't fall either. We pick up, came back to the fire house, started lunch then we went to save a window washer that had his rope seat fail. So there I was 20 floors above the pavement trying to hang onto a frantic window washer. It all ended well I kicked out a window and rolled into an office. We were leaving that when we get a big fire in some sort of chemical warehouse, factory thing. There were barrels exploding and such, really intense, but I went in with the duece and a half in one hand and a k12 in the other and slayed the dragon. We left there got cleaned up, ate some dinner, then I went to a quadruple shooting. All of us on the engine had our own guy to do CPR on, pretty intense. Then we go back to quarters and I sneak my gf into the firehouse and plow her on the hose bed while the brothers are sleeping. Well we caught a high rise gig, I hate high rise gigs, during this and the guys didnt even notice I was on the top of the engine so they leave for the fire with me and my promiscuous gf atop the engine. Well we get there and the rookie didn't check the door before forcing it and got his face burned off, we all yelled at the lou for not watching the rookie. Then after hanging out at the hospital we go back to quarters and got a detail man for the rest of the shift. Nothing really major happend, few house fires and people trapped MVA's then my relief came in. That was a slow 24 hour shift too. Usually we have like 20 fires and a couple LODDs, makes it super dramatic and intense. Someone should make my life into a movie, it'd be totally sweet.

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