Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Miller337

Thread: Commuting to a job, need advice

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Camden County NJ
    Posts
    1

    Default Commuting to a job, need advice

    I have taken testing for ff/EMT jobs in my area in the past, the farthest ive been was about 2 hours away in MD for testing. Recently went to PWC VA for the written test and the cpat is in march. 1300 applicants so i have to do my best but I cant help but think what I would decide to do if I got the job. I know I would find an apartment for 6 months during the academy but after that personally I would want to still live in NJ and commute. Went down a week ago and the weather was horrible, horrible is probably an understatement and I got there in 3 hours. Im thinking I could make it there in 2.5-3 in decent weather/traffic. Im asking for some opinions to commuting the 3 hrs 1 way. From what they showed us you work 24/48, not sure if they will work with you on schedule but maybe some of you can give me some incite on that.
    thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    940

    Default

    Better find out if they even allow you to live out of state first.

    The work schedule makes long commutes more acceptable than it would be for a 9-5 job. But it's still a personal choice. Everyone has their own limits.

    Is there a compelling reason to stay in NJ, or just a preference. After 6 months, you may like it better in MD anyway. Then you'd want to look at finances. Cost of fuel. Cost of housing. Income and property tax (assuming you eventually buy) situation. It can add up to a significant difference.

    Plus those 10-12 hours a week (unpaid) away from your family. Don't know your exact situation but things that are less important to you now may become very important in the future.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,952

    Default

    Are you married?

    For bad weather days you can find a co worker local to let you use a room for the night either come in early or stay there till you have to work again

    No they will not work with you on the schedule

    You will be on one shift and like any job really expect you to show
    Especially your first year

  4. #4
    Let's talk fire trucks!
    BoxAlarm187's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,335

    Default

    I am NOT exaggerating at all when I say the traffic in Metro DC is some of the worst in the entire nation - like in the top 3 of places to avoid driving at all costs. You won't want to live in Jersey and commute to PWC, trust me. Think about running all night in the busy eastern end of the county and then facing a 3-hour interstate drive home. Plus the fuel costs...?

    If it gives you some idea, we have guys who live near me in Richmond area who work in Prince William, Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax that leave 3-4 hours early for work - and we're in the same state. They simply can't risk that massive traffic backups that occur in the event of a single accident. Not to mention if you run into problems around Baltimore as well.

    The Northern Virginia area isn't cheap to live in. A lot of guys live at least 90 minutes from work because of that. The furtherest one I've heard of is a Fairfax guy that lives in Delaware.

    Finally, a department isn't going to waiver on their schedule because you're making a choice to live 200 miles away.
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer


    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    220

    Default

    I used to commute 2 hours, 24 on 24 off schedule. It became a real drag, quickly either driving to work or driving home everyday and the 3 days never came soon enough. I had a car that got 25-30 mpg and the gas bill was still quite hefty. I tended to sleep on my days off and ended up with only 1 real day of being able to do anything on my 3 days (slept most of the first, had the second to do stuff and had an early bedtime the third so I could get up at 4:30 to get ready for work).

    If you have a family it also makes it tough on holidays or stretches of overtime, since it is so far away your family really can't drop by and visit.

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,952

    Default

    Also, your traffic should be on your way to work, hopefully when you get off people are coming in while you are going out

    And if you look at a given month you only have to travel around ten days total

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    FWDbuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Pee-Ayy!
    Posts
    7,420

    Default

    Bonelli, I used to live in the lower Northeast Philly and was a Federal Firefighter- worked at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Was a 75 mile one-way ride for a 24 hour shift (they worked 24/24 at the time.) Guys knew if they needed a shift exchange for 24 they could come to me and I would usually snatch it up if it didn't interfere with my part time gig- was much easier staying there for 48 or 72 than driving back and forth.

    Then I moved to Bethlehem, Pa. and that 75 miles one-way turned into 135. Now was the time that I approached guys regularly with my calendar in hand seeking shift exchanges, so that I was guaranteed 48 or 72 on with 3 or 4 off afterwards. If I remember right, I got up at 4:30am, schit showered and shaved and was out the door by 0500, and depending on how hard I pushed and if I made any stops or not (usually at the rest area in Delaware) I would arrive at the firehouse anywhere from 0650 to 0730 for an 0800 start.

    The Federal Fire Service does not have a residency requirement. You need to check into this.

    If there was incoming inclement weather such as a bad snowstorm predicted for the night before a shift, I would pack up and head in the night before and camp out in a vacant bunkroom. Sometimes when I arrived, guys would do an instant shift exchange with me so that they wouldn't be stuck there in the morning. If conditions were bad and the bosses knew I was "camping out" overnight they would hire me on overtime and I would ride as an extra. And if I was at work, and bad snow came in overnight, I would be the first one to volunteer to stay until relieved.

    Also many times more often than not I was one of the first ones to volunteer for overtime, as long as I did not exceed the 72 hour on-duty maximum.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 01-16-2014 at 12:15 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,239

    Default

    Two things right off the bat:

    1) Is there a residency requirement meanining do you have to live in the community or county, for the FD you want to work for?
    2) If not, is there a limit to the distance away you can live, including living within the state?

    I spent 22 years commuting to work, it as about 105 miles to one department, and around 95 to the next. It isn't so bad being on the road for less than 2 hours in nice weather. But it sure as hell sucks a z z in the winter during heavy snow conditions. It once took me a half hour to get down an on ramp to get on to a jammed packed interstate highway for what became over a 3 1/2 hour ride home. Add to that getting up 2 or 3 hours earlier than normal, or coming in the night before, so you can make it to work on time. It sounds so easy until you add that in.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    snowball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Just North of South Central
    Posts
    2,740
    IAFF

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,239

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    Yeah, but we don't have earth quakes, mud slides, and people rebuilding their homes in the same place that a brush fire burned them down the year before! believe me I'll take the snow over any of that.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    snowball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Just North of South Central
    Posts
    2,740

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Yeah, but we don't have earth quakes, mud slides, and people rebuilding their homes in the same place that a brush fire burned them down the year before! believe me I'll take the snow over any of that.
    We pretty much have the natural disaster category all sewn up here. A true "State of emergency"... Haha!
    IAFF

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Miller337's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    939

    Default

    While many posters have pointed out many of the pitfalls, legal issues and personal experiences which are all quite relevant and good advise all of which at the very least be considered, no one has actually discussed the best mode of traversing from point A to point B.
    I personally am a strong advocate of the ACME Rocket. While it hasn't worked out very well in the past for the Coyote the use of it still provides the rest of us with hours of entertainment.Name:  acme rocket 2.jpg
Views: 521
Size:  10.9 KB
    Last edited by Miller337; 01-18-2014 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Did it before webteam did it.
    rescue_1 likes this.

  13. #13
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    3

    Default

    I commute 1.5 to 2 hour for work. I am on a Kelly schedule 3 of 5 days and then 4 off. My commute blows but it is my only current option as I own a home and need the work so moving is not in the cards at the moment. I would strongly suggest living within a reasonable distance from where you work especially being a probie and if they call back for people you don't want to be 3 hours away because then you are no good to them. A lot of departments require you to live within 50 miles the way the crow flies. But my biggest piece of advice is to decide after you land the job.

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,239

    Default

    I can honestly say that my commute never really bothered me until about my last 2 years before I retired. Even then it wasn't the going to work that got me but the coming home. Geez there were so many days that I was thinking I am wasting an hour that I could be working on the house, or spending time with my kids, or alone time with my wife.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,952

    Default

    Other thing work there a year or two and

    You may want to move closer by than

    Or , start testing at other closer departments

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    175

    Default

    It's doable but won't be fun. We have guys who commute to DC from as far as West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. However, our situation is also a little different. We have four platoon system(24 on/72 off) versus your three platoons(24 on/48 off). So the commute isn't as often.

    We are also forced to live outside of the city if we ever want to own a house since DC is one of the most expensive cities in the country. PWC is pricey too but not the same as DC.

    Then there's the guys who don't want to live in a major city. Even many who do enjoy city life, commute from Baltimore due to the cost of living.

    So yes, you could manage it if your department has no restrictions. It will definitely be rough though.

  17. #17
    Forum Member
    MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,531

    Default

    Have you considered flying?

    We have had a few guys that do.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  18. #18
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,269

    Default

    Back in the mid 1970's I had applied for a job in NOVA and went on two interviews. I was asked where I lived, it was on the application by the way, and I told them. They said that is about 90 to 100 miles south of here and could I be able to drive that every day. I told them sure. Any way I didn't get the job. But I could have driven it every day, which in a time frame would have been at least 2-1/2 to 4 hours going North due to the heavy traffic, and about that coming South the next day. Yes traffic was terrible back then but much worst now days.

    You on the other hand would be coming from New Jersey south to the same area and I would plan on maybe 4 to 5 hour trip, providing there are no wrecks or any holdups. Also consider the weather as a big factor. The snow is bad all the way past NOVA as well as the roads during winter.


    Myself, I would find a good job near home if I were you.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
    Posts
    10,660

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Back in the mid 1970's I had applied for a job in NOVA and went on two interviews. I was asked where I lived, it was on the application by the way, and I told them. They said that is about 90 to 100 miles south of here and could I be able to drive that every day. I told them sure. Any way I didn't get the job. But I could have driven it every day, which in a time frame would have been at least 2-1/2 to 4 hours going North due to the heavy traffic, and about that coming South the next day. Yes traffic was terrible back then but much worst now days.

    You on the other hand would be coming from New Jersey south to the same area and I would plan on maybe 4 to 5 hour trip, providing there are no wrecks or any holdups. Also consider the weather as a big factor. The snow is bad all the way past NOVA as well as the roads during winter.


    Myself, I would find a good job near home if I were you.
    Or consider moving your home closer to work if you get the gig.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  20. #20
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Or consider moving your home closer to work if you get the gig.
    That's not always an option. This is the one of the most expensive regions of the country. DC is the third most expensive city behind NYC and San Francisco. I will NEVER be able to own a house in DC. It's impossible on our salary unless you are married to someone who's VERY wealthy. Most of the surrounding area is very similar as well.

  21. #21
    Forum Member
    MemphisE34a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Memphis, TN - USA
    Posts
    2,531

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Have you considered flying?

    We have had a few guys that do.
    Themselves I mean. You can get a small, private prop plane for about the same as a auto.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    26

    Default

    So I can definitely identify with that kind of commute. Worked as an engineer for 5 years making a 2.5 hr commute one way out here in CA. It's definitely tough and there are pros and cons, but it comes down to how bad you want the job. There is something to be said for making that kind of a sacrifice, but there are a lot of things to think about. The effect on your days off and family, first and foremost. I am married and have a 2 year old and was making my drive during my wifes' pregnancy and the first year and a half of my sons life. Kinda scary to think that there was a good chance that I could have missed my son being born, or if there had been any emergencies during the pregnancy i was 3 hours away during peak driving times.

    As far as the shift schedule, talk to some of the guys that work at the department already. Ask them if anyone currently working there is making a similar commute and how they handle it. I'm sure they will be happy to fill you in, it may also help you out to see that you are looking at it as to how the decision will effect your personal life. It is a big decision after all.

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    13

    Default

    When I first got hired on 12 years or so ago I was living in the city I work for. (we had to in order to be hired due to the pesky residence requirement). While the five minute commute to the station was wonderful, the occasional drive-by up the street or ever present drunkard passed out on my building stairs made my young bride at the time a little uneasy about our living conditions seeing that we were both born and bred in a small jersey shore resort town of about 1200 people. After a little over two years of living the "hood life" I finally was at my length of service requirement to move out of city. The first house we bought was about 98 miles to the south in the New Jersey State Pine Barrens, while I loved the area, the 2.5 hour minimum commute to North Jersey was killing me, a year and half later we split the difference sold the house and settled about 45 miles south of my work in the town we both grew up in. But hey, it is Jersey so that 45 miles still takes a good hour and a half to hour and 45. Stay safe!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Can I get some advice?
    By Edgewood626 in forum Hiring & Employment Discussion
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 07-05-2011, 06:34 PM
  2. Looking for some advice
    By EveningDarkstar in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 06-19-2011, 05:17 PM
  3. Hey, it's just a normal commuting speed...
    By Dalmatian190 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 04-15-2006, 06:30 PM
  4. Advice to a pup..
    By DeputyChiefGonzo in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 87
    Last Post: 03-19-2005, 12:12 PM
  5. Haz-Mat advice
    By neo14x in forum Hazardous Materials General Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-15-2004, 05:52 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register