1. #1
    TFD is offline
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    Apr 2012

    Default Want to pursue my dream

    Hello, I'm 20 years old, and I have my Firefighter 1 & 2 as well as R.I.T course done. Doesn't seem like much for most people but I'm just starting out. I'm a volunteer for a small town in Wisconsin. I'd absolutely LOVE to be full time and I'm just wanting to know what it takes, where do you start? etc.

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Find out what certifications if any are required to apply in most of the cities in your state.

    If you have them already , start applying, and testing.

    Test anywhere and everywhere....

    Get in physical shape and stay out of trouble to include no traffic tickets.

    Start practicing interviewing

    Might check some stuff here:


    Did I say test everywhere

  3. #3
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    Join Date
    Dec 2011


    Go to medic school. Having your medic will put you ahead of the pack. I got mine at 20, better young before you have a family, cause it will be your life for about a year. And as fire49 said TEST EVERYWHERE!You can always turn down a offer but cant accept it if its not there

  4. #4
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    Mar 2003


    You are on the right track. I agree with the thoughts about going to Paramedic school, IF you have a passion to be a paramedic. Do not go because you think it will help you get hired. Here are some thoughts I have put together on how to pursue a career in the fire service.

    Pursuing a career in the fire service can be an intimidating process that is often full of conflicting information. This may be especially true when you speak to a group of firefighters. How can this be? Actually, it’s very understandable when you consider that the minimum requirements to become a firefighter are often 18 – 21 years of age and possession of a high school diploma or a GED. While these may be the minimum requirements, it’s very rare for a fire department to hire someone with the minimum requirements.

    Most firefighters took a different path to get hired in the fire service. One firefighter (like me) may have known at a young age that he or she wanted to be a firefighter. I attended fire science courses and graduated the basic fire academy at 19 years of age. I became a reserve firefighter, riding as the fourth person on a three person engine company. Other firefighters joined the military and were hired following a successful military career, while others may have earned a 4 – year degree. Still others may have worked a variety of different jobs before becoming a firefighter.

    As you can see, there is not just one path to becoming a paid professional firefighter. The list below will help you determine the path that is best for you. Use it as a guideline of how to approach becoming a paid professional firefighter.

    1. Visit the local fire station and ask the firefighters what they recommend you should do.

    2. Talk to your family- if you are married it’s important to get buy in from your spouse. Without it you will not make it. This needs to be a team effort.

    3. Talk with a counselor at a community college that offers fire science courses. Enroll in classes

    4. Complete an Emergency Medical Technician course (EMT) – this will make you much more marketable, especially since 85% of our responses are medical aid calls. You need to be a strong EMT.

    5. Enroll in a state certified fire academy at the local college

    6. Find out if your community has either a fire department volunteer program or Fire Explorers.

    7. Volunteer in your community- big brothers/sisters of America, clean the beach, Sierra club, little league coach.

    8. Learn how to take FIRE department interview (These are much different than any interview you will ever take)

    9. Start a log that includes everything you have done to prepare yourself.

    10. Get in the best shape of your life – the physical agility exams are very difficult.

    11. Look the part – get your hair cut, lose the goatee and the earring!

    12. Dress professionally every time you visit a fire station or take an interview

    13. Enroll in a service that lets you know which departments are testing.

    14. Surround yourself with reputable people.

    15. Learn a trade such as carpentry, electrical, or plumbing.

    16. Improve your public speaking skills – get involved with teaching something (first aid and CPR is a good one www.emssafety.com .

    17. Maintain a clean driving and criminal record.

    18. Maintain a good credit history – pay your bills on time. Your credit history is a direct reflection of how you uphold your responsibilities.

    19. Update your resume.

    20. Decide how important your tattoo is to you. A tattoo will never help you get hired, but it may prevent you from getting hired as many fire departments have policies that prohibit firefighters from having visible tattoos. If you already have a visible tattoo, decide how much you want to keep it. An option may be to have it removed. If you are considering getting one, you may want to reconsider.

    If, after becoming a strong EMT, completing a basic fire academy, staying physically fit, working as a volunteer or reserve firefighter, and most importantly learning how to take a FIRE department interview, you are still having trouble getting hired you MAY consider putting yourself through paramedic school. In some areas of the country, it may be a requirement to take the entry-level exam. Do your research for the region in which you want to work. DO NOT become a paramedic just because you think it will be easier to land a job in the fire service. You will be unhappy. More importantly, you will not be a good paramedic.

    If you are in the military on active deployment, use this time to take online fire science courses. Get involved in the fire brigade on your ship; enroll in first aid, CPR and hazardous materials classes. Be prepared to enter the basic fire academy when your military commitment is complete. You will have to complete prerequisite courses first. These can be done online.
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief

  5. #5
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    Join Date
    Jul 2013


    I am having the same problem here in northern New York (no not Albany or Buffalo the real northern New York near Plattsburgh). My issue is every place offering a test has a residency requirement that states you must reside in that city or county or whatever for at least 12 months prior to applying. So I can't test everywhere I actually can't test anywhere in New York unless I move every year lol any advice for me?

  6. #6
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    Join Date
    Oct 2000


    I agree with Cheif Lepore on item 16. Get a job that will make you work with your hands. I see so many new firefighters that are unable to get what they know from their heads to their hands. You may understand the theory behind the physics of leverage that make the adz of a Halligan tool the optimum device to force a door. But if you don't have enough strength and coordination to hit the da#n thing with a flat head axe or sledge more than one time, you are not going to be a valuable member of a company. While the art of firefighting has evolved to more of a science of firefighting, you still must be physically capable to do hard work in a stressful environment to apply what you've learned.
    On another note, you are young. If your state has a retirement system that covers many departments in the state, use that to your advantage. Get a job somewhere. anywhere, with a small department and begin to establish your service history. As you become more experienced look to move to other more desirable departments that participate in the retirement system until you get where you dream to be.

  7. #7
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    Jun 1999


    Quote Originally Posted by limmillis View Post
    I am having the same problem here in northern New York (no not Albany or Buffalo the real northern New York near Plattsburgh). My issue is every place offering a test has a residency requirement that states you must reside in that city or county or whatever for at least 12 months prior to applying. So I can't test everywhere I actually can't test anywhere in New York unless I move every year lol any advice for me?

    I would be looking out of state as well as in state. You may be surprise that you may be able to test and the salary may be better. Start looking at various cities and counties web sites in the eastern part of the US.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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