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Thread: My introduction and a question for career FFs.

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    Last edited by NJFirefighter311; 06-09-2014 at 11:56 AM.

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    Go for it

    The volunteer will give you a taste to see if it is for you.

    Age is not a problem as long as a dept does not have an upper age limit

    Get in physical shape ,, stay out if trouble


    Your main problem may be where

    I advice people to test everywhere and often. Do not limit yourself to a few depths, so if you are willing to do that , the problem is you may have to move.


    Check several dept web sites to see what the minimum requirements are just to apply

    And get them!!!!

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    I got hired at my first FD at 31 and my second at 39. 26 too old? Not a chance!
    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

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    Last edited by NJFirefighter311; 06-09-2014 at 11:57 AM.

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    26 is a great age to start applying. We routinely hire people in their 20's, 30's and 40', and have had a couple of guys go through recruit school in their 50's as they start a second (or third) career.

    There are lots of places in the US that don't use civil service tests or give veteran's points, so if you don't mind a commute (or simply moving) then you'll be fine. Also, a fire science degree doesn't give people the advantage that so many people believe it does.

    Be prepared to apply often, and apply all over the place.
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    I was 28 when I started full time. And I know many that where older than that. I also know a couple that were forced to retire when they hit 70. Half of age is attitude. Like was said before, apply often and everywhere. (myself, I'd want to get out of NJ, too damn expensive.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJFirefighter311 View Post
    Thanks for the encouragement from both of you.

    FyredUp- when did you start looking/applying?
    In 1980 at the age of 22 when I got my Associate Degree in Fire Science. I worked as a part-time fire service instructor, a dispatcher, a full time fire service instructor, was a paid on call firefighter and worked other jobs until I got hired. I will admit periods where I was discouraged and went back to school again so that may explain part of the delay for me getting hired.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
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    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJFirefighter311 View Post
    and no fire science degree. Is this a lost cause? I'm extremely motivated and will do what it takes, but I just wanted to hear from your experiences what you think.
    If I have said this once, I have said it 665,000 times- you need to check hiring prerequisites with the jurisdiction for which you are applying.

    That being said, I do not believe that Newark (a Dept that I have many friends on) currently has any prerequisites- it is like most big city departments on the East Coast- Any Joe Schmo can walk in off the street, apply and be run through their Fire Academy (upon successful hiring of course.)

    One draw back however (which is common in the State of NJ and it SUCKS) you have to be a resident of the municipality where you are applying- for example if you want to apply for Newark, you MUST live there, and you cannot apply for Trenton, Camden or Atlantic City at the same time. This really limits you. You CAN however apply in jurisdictions out of state (provided they have no residency clauses.)

    Understand that competition is fierce. Cutthroat fierce (think gladiators in ancient Rome fierce....) You might consider enlisting in any of the branches of the US Military- do this because you WANT to do this however- NOT because it will give you veterans preference...(this is a bonus of course.) Volunteering will give you a slight edge and some experience, but again not required for MOST jurisdictions and in fact most places could care less if you came from someplace else- you are NOT their firefighter until you run through THEIR boot camp- Newark could give two rats *****es that you were on a busy engine company in the Bronx- you are not a Newark FF until you earn your bones by going through their school, period.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 04-22-2014 at 08:22 AM.
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    If you really want to become a career firefighter, don't limit yourself to just NJ. I lived in NJ all my life but got hired by a Dept in VA at the age of 26. I recommend searching in MD, Northern VA and the Richmond area in Va, departments around there are hiring 1 or 2 recruit schools a year. Va is a right to work state so there is no age restriction, I believe NJ's age limit is 35 on civil service.

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    Yes, NJ age limit is 35. And not all paid departments in NJ require you to live in the area of the Department, but it is more common than not. FF1 in NJ is FF1, volunteer and paid go through the same course, same training, often in the classes together. MOST of the paid departments will put you through their own training after you are hired, even if you have FF1 already.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    You might consider enlisting in any of the branches of the US Military- do this because you WANT to do this however- NOT because it will give you veterans preference...(this is a bonus of course.) .
    X2.

    Many departments like hiring veterans. My department hires 90% veterans.

    But, it is important you enlist in a branch of military you will enjoy serving in, and have an interest in. If not you will hate it, and run the risk of getting in trouble. Get in trouble and you run the risk of getting an other than honorable discharge, and then you've wasted your time, because that won't get you veteran status. It seems that the Navy, C.G., and A.F. are the places where you will most likely learn some (technical) skills that can be used in the real world, too. Should the fire service not pan out. And, reserve service doesn't do you any good unless you get activated, so you'll have to go active duty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The52nd View Post
    Many departments like hiring veterans. My department hires 90% veterans.
    90%?! Are you in a civil service area?
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    Thanks for all the replies guys.
    Last edited by NJFirefighter311; 04-22-2014 at 11:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    90%?! Are you in a civil service area?
    Yes.Veterans get preferential hiring. Rare to have a non-veteran get hired. Usually when a non-vet gets hired one of the first questions they find themself facing is "How did you get hired?".
    firewacker49 likes this.

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    Thanks, 52nd. We usually have a handful of vets in our recruit schools, but certainly not a majority. Always interesting to see how "others" do it...
    Career Fire Captain
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