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Thread: Changing from one department to another

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default Changing from one department to another

    There have been several threads on individuals requesting opinions from the readers regarding a DECISION to leave one paid/career department for another, this is not the intention for this thread. I have already decided to do so.

    I would like to ask those of you who have made the switch, for one reason or another, how did you go about doing this? What would you recomend or what would you have done differently? Im not asking would you have left your department or not, Im asking how you informed your crew, admin? Is it customary to give 2 weeks notice or is the fire service different than other occupations? Did you go through your chain, or HR or what. Did you do this on duty, immediately after? or what?

    Also is there any documentation you would recomend obtaining or anything else that may not have been mentioned?

    This is a situation I would like to handle gently, I know it will be awkward, and am just looking for advice on whats the best thing for me to do, while still doing the right thing.

    Please withhold all negative coments/posts.


  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    It would be nice to let them know as soon as possible, so they can plan accordingly,,,,

    Unless you work for a city/ dept that can let you go anytime and they do it!!!

    As in a person hands in their resignation and they walk you out the door the same day, unless you are prepared for that

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    Of course my crew knew before I had left and I'm sure admin heard about it before it was official. I gave my 2 week notice to my Lt. and nobody seemed to care about that time frame. I would strongly recommend you get any and all of your training records, ceus, or any other documents you can think before leaving. Also I bought my crew steaks for my last shift.

    Good Luck!

  4. #4
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    dfwfirefighter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    The Lone Star State


    When I decided to leave a small career FD for another another one in the "big city", most of my chain of command knew about it already. As a matter of fact, my Captain, my BC, and the Fire Chief were the three people I discussed the career change with. All were very supportive and provided me with alot of useful information and things to consider when making my decision. "Who" you involve in that decision is based on your relationship with them. I realize that you've already made your decision but having some resources to offer some neutral, 3rd-party advice was definitely helpful to me.

    Once your decision is made to leave, utilize all of the resources at your disposal - the department, HR, Civil Service, and etc.

    As previously stated in this thread, obtain copies (if not the originals) of everything - training records, CE, certifications, exposures, merit and/or disciplinary records, and etc.

    As far as the notice you provide, follow the guidelines of your organization. Leave on the best possible terms when you do so. You don't want to burn any bridges so leave on a positive note. You never know what the future holds with your new employer (or your previous one).

    I provided two (2) weeks' notice per my departments SOPs. I hand-delivered one to every step in my chain of command. I also went out of my way to wish everyone "well" during my final two weeks. I worked just as hard for those final weeks and did not slack. On my final shift, I paid for dinner for the 12 of us and then we loaded up afterwards and went to get ice cream.

    I sent a letter to the fire chief a week after I left and thanked him for the opportunity that my previous FD provided to me.

    The best description I've heard of the fire service is that "it is the same circus - just different clowns". Don't live with regret. Do what will make you happy.

    The bottom line is that your decision is yours (and your family, if applicable) and yours alone. Make the best decision for you based on the information you have. If you are going to leave, be honest with yourself and ensure you are doing what you are doing for the "right" reasons.

    "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    sfd1992's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007


    I haven't done this, but I know quite a few guys that have.

    Lots of good advice above, but I would also talk to (as applicable) your FD Admin, city HR, civil service and Union Local and find out what your options are for returning if things don't work out at the new FD.
    Do you have the option to take a leave of absence? Do you have return rights under civil service rules?

    You may not be planning on leaving the new Dept, but things happen that we don't always plan on. I'd cover my bases in regards to coming back if you can/need to/want to.
    ffbam24 likes this.

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