1. #1
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    Question Is this a good idea?

    Hello. Just a quick intro about myself:

    I am currently a high school junior here in Texas. I'm an explorer with a large career fire department. I've been in the program for two years now. I'm involved in a program that allows me to earn an Associates Degree in high school. Therefore, as soon as I finish high school, I just plan on getting hired with a fire department and finishing my degree online.

    While I love the department that I am an explorer with...it is not my dream department. My dream department does not offer an explorer program.

    The age to ride out at this dream department is 18 years of age. There have been cases where exceptions have been made. They had a high school student who would always hang out and ride along with them and eventually got hired (although at a different department).

    I've asked before if I could get a mentorship with this dream department and get permission to ride out with them. It would consist of going to not only ride-out, but more importantly, getting to spend time at the station to see how they operate and be (albeit, a small) part of this dream department. However, the person that I spoke with (a Capt in their administrative offices) said that it would not be possible due to the requirement of being 18 in order to ride out.

    I asked when I was 16...now I am 17. It's been about a year since I've asked, and now that I am older (only a year... )...I would like to ask them, formally, if they would be willing to grant me an exception and allow me to be mentored and have an internship with them.

    In the current explorer program I'm in, we are allowed to ride-out. I hope my 'resume' will impress them---I get good grades and will have my A.A. degree and EMT-B after high school and I can get plenty of good reference letters from the firefighters/officers that I've got to ride with in the city that I'm an explorer with.

    Now, that I am a little bit more mature, I can understand that in the past, one of the (hopefully, the only) reason they said "no" was because of me being 16. While I am still under 18 (I'm 17)...I'm afraid I could be a liability to them in case I got hurt while spending time at the station/riding with them.

    So...my questions are:

    1. Would it be a good idea to ask them, formally (that is, mailing a letter with references) to ask them if I could get an internship with them? The first-time I asked, I mentioned being mentored AND riding with them. I'm pretty sure the ride-alongs were the problem since their SOP requires observers to be 18. Should I try to ask if I just be mentored by them? Then again, that raises the issue of the whole station getting an assignment and me being "left alone".

    2. Is there any way that I prove to them that I would not be a liability to them? I thought that the form that observers signed was something along the lines of saying that (in this case, my parents) would not hold the fire department (or any part of them, including the city) liable if I got hurt/killed. Perhaps some of people here can shine some light. Is there anything that can be done to clear out any chance of me being a liability to them?

    Thanks!

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    I should mention, the first time I asked, it was informal...I just e-mailed them and asked. If I decide to ask for the mentorship/internship this time, I would go all out and actually type up the letter and get my references and send it to the command staff at the department.

    Also, I know that sometimes internships are associated with pay. I do not want to be paid. The opportunity/experience along would be worth everything to me.

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    1. I would say NO, and especially NO if you plan to apply there

    2. do not limit yourself to getting hired at one department, because you may never get hired there, or it may take a long time

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    fire49,

    I mean...can it really hurt just to ask about getting an internship?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfsmpa View Post
    fire49,

    I mean...can it really hurt just to ask about getting an internship?
    no, go ahead and do it, it'll be super fun




    (only because you want to hear what you want to hear)
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    It can't hurt to ask. But I doubt they bend the rules for you. Bad things do happen and the city's legal department wouldn't be thrilled if you got injured after rules were bent. The benefits are big. You'll get to learn more about the daily life of a firefighter, I see no real downside to doing it.
    Fire Service Interview questions - The blog that has REAL interview questions for firefighters, Engineers, Lieutenants, and Captains !

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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    no, go ahead and do it, it'll be super fun




    (only because you want to hear what you want to hear)
    tajm611, what do you think about asking just to be mentored and not ride-along with them?

    Then again, I'm sure I might be a liability just by being alone at the station if the whole station caught a run.

    hm.

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    The simple fact is they seem to have rules, and they seem to stick by them as they have pretty much told you no, and told you why in the past.

    You can continue to learn at your current department, and test with your "dream" department when you become of age.

    The bottom line here, IMO, seems to be that you have a tough time taking no for an answer. If you continue to ask them, when it seems to me they have made it clear exactly what the rules are, you risk damaging your reputation when the time comes that you are eligible to test and possibly get hired.

    Make the most of your current situation and accept the situation you are in.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfsmpa View Post
    tajm611, what do you think about asking just to be mentored and not ride-along with them?

    Then again, I'm sure I might be a liability just by being alone at the station if the whole station caught a run.

    hm.
    You make the statement of "prove you won't be a liability to them". It's not them that declares you a liability, but their insurance. You are john-q public until they plan to invest time in you. They are not ready for that yet and so you are not ready neither. Read, learn, train. Your time will come, good luck.
    ‎"I was always taught..." Four words impacting fire service education in the most negative of ways. -Bill Carey

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    Quote Originally Posted by tajm611 View Post
    You make the statement of "prove you won't be a liability to them". It's not them that declares you a liability, but their insurance. You are john-q public until they plan to invest time in you. They are not ready for that yet and so you are not ready neither. Read, learn, train. Your time will come, good luck.
    If it's a department of any size, their policies are more than likely developed by the city/town attorney, who will not allow them to deviate no matter how many references you have.

    They have rules for a reason, and the reason is likely that the city attorney says so.

    Please be smart and don't push this issue and leave a bad taste in their mouths. They will remember it when you apply and test. Trust me.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsgory123 View Post
    do it! itd be funnnnn!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    1. I would say NO, and especially NO if you plan to apply there

    2. do not limit yourself to getting hired at one department, because you may never get hired there, or it may take a long time
    I agree 100%. They have rules about riding along and you don't meet them yet. Don't call and ask for an exception to the rule. You will only make a bad name for youself. You will never get the chance to Impress them with your resume if you already have a name for yourself. (you are 18, the truth is you resume will not be as impressive as the top 20% of the applicants)

    Graduate high school and finish you 2yr degree. Concentrate on preparing yourself for your "dream" department's hiring process. Don't limit yourself to one FD.

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