1. #1
    mbielik51
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question I'm have lots of questions.

    Ok well here is goes. I'm currently a junior in high school and I have decided that I want to be a firefighter/paramedic. But I have a ton of questions so I'm just going to list them. I would really appreciate it if you would help me out by answering them.

    1. What is a squad ( everytime I see this word I think of the one on the tv show "Emergency") is that what they are really like?

    2. What kind of equipment do they carry?

    3. Does the fire dept. respond to all medic calls like heart attack or someone who falls along with fires?

    4. Do you have to have gone through the military.

    5. What are some general physical requirements like so you have to be a certain height (cuz I'm short 5'4")?

    6. What kind of rescues does the fire dept. do (are there ones left for another type of personnel)?

    7. What kind of training should i take previous to applying for a job?

    8. If I was a ff/medic would I spend most of my time on a dept. ambulance?

    9. When somebody first starts out do you give them a hard time or are you friendly?

    10. Were you nervous about starting out?

    11. What do you have to do to volunteer?

    Other than that I can't think of anything else right now but I'm sure I'll come up with more.

    Thanks for your help,
    Mel

  2. #2
    Calvertvolunteer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Mel, it is the best decision you can make.

    1) A squad is a tool box on wheels. They usually contain heavy rescue equipment(jaws)and a wide assortment of forcible entry tools

    2) See #1

    3) Going on medic local calls with the EMS is up to your department. Some places send an engine with everything. Other places will send an engine for very severe stuff.

    4) I can't think of any volunteer station that requires military service

    5) Size doesn't matter, just good strength and stamina

    6) In most situations the fire department is first on the scene. Based on the individual dept, they may do it all (high angle, trench, confined space) etc or call for mutual aid.

    7) If you are going to be a volunteer, just show up. They will start you with basics (CPR, Blood borne pathogens, laying out line, tool usage etc) Eventually most companies require EMT and FF1, beyond that it is up to you. As far as I know most places will pay for your training if you give a minimum time commitment.

    8) Prepare to spend alot of time on the ambo. In most places EMS calls outnumber fire calls 3 or 4 times. But you would still ride engines and trucks

    9) Depends on the company.

    10) no

    11) pull a duty shift a few times a month and maintain minimum stats.

  3. #3
    RJE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I'll answer from the perspective of two depts. One my old vol. dept., and the Tulsa FD. These are the two I'm most familiar with.

    1. What is a squad ( everytime I see this word I think of the one on the tv show "Emergency") is that what they are really like?
    Yep, that's them. That's a light or med. rescue or squad. We had one just like it back in the 80's. Tulsa uses "heavy" rescues, built on med sized Freightliner chassis w/rollup doors (looks like a "Pepsi" truck, except w/lights. Carries basically the same things, just more of it.

    2. What kind of equipment do they carry?
    Everything from K-12 & Jaws to Meds box and defibrillator.

    3. Does the fire dept. respond to all medic calls like heart attack or someone who falls along with fires?
    Yep. Everything from difficulty breathing to heart attacks to car accidents, in addition to fires. Also may include non-injury accidents (esp. if PD is slow or busy - either because they don't know it's non-inj., or for wash downs).

    4. Do you have to have gone through the military.
    Nope. But if it's a paid dept., many cities give "bonus points" on civil service exams for veterans. May not be fair, but it happens (but not everywhere).

    5. What are some general physical requirements like so you have to be a certain height (cuz I'm short 5'4")?
    Any dept. will give you a hand-out with the general guidelines for their "agility" test (they may call it something different). Typically, you need to be able to drag a body, carry a roll of hose, run (short and/or medium distance) and climb a ladder. I've seen and worked with FFs who were short, generally not a problem. Lift some weights if you think you need it (I would!)

    6. What kind of rescues does the fire dept. do (are there ones left for another type of personnel)?
    Depends. With both the depts. I'm familiar with, there wasn't a separate "rescue" team. With the vollie, we had people with different interests, so they'd naturally gravitate towards their areas. For example, we had a spelunker (caver) and a rock climber, and a scuba diver. Obviously, they were the local "experts" for (respectively) confined space rescue, high elevation rescue, and underwater rescue. They took classes in their interests, then "passed their knowledge" along to us in condensed form. Tulsa FD has two heavy rescue "squads" that are manned by dedicated teams. They receive special training in similar areas.

    7. What kind of training should i take previous to applying for a job?
    First Aid or (if you have time) EMT classes should be offered by a local commmunity college. They may also have fire science classes.

    8. If I was a ff/medic would I spend most of my time on a dept. ambulance?
    Depends. In both areas that I've worked with, the ambulance is contracted by a private company. So if you're on the FD, you package, but never transport. Then again, a couple of the bigger "suburbs" of Tulsa have ambulances that are run by the FD. That's mostly politics (they don't like the "contractor"). In other areas, you may find that all the ambulances belong to the FD. And they may or may not have crossover personnel. (They may have EMTs that aren't trained as FFs to run the ambulance, or everyone may be cross-trained).

    9. When somebody first starts out do you give them a hard time or are you friendly?
    Both.

    10. Were you nervous about starting out?
    Yes.

    11. What do you have to do to volunteer?
    Look for times when there's lots of cars parked at the station on an evening. That's probably meeting/training night. Walk in and ask to "see the trucks". FFs can't resist showing their rigs off. Then ask about getting involved. In about 10 seconds, someone will slap an app into your hands. After that, who knows. It varies. But most vol. companies need people, and it's a good way to get experience that will make the tests for a paid dept. easier.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Engine 101
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    Originally posted by mbielik51:
    Ok well here is goes. I'm currently a junior in high school and I have decided that I want to be a firefighter/paramedic. But I have a ton of questions so I'm just going to list them. I would really appreciate it if you would help me out by answering them.

    1. What is a squad ( everytime I see this word I think of the one on the tv show "Emergency") is that what they are really like?

    2. What kind of equipment do they carry?

    3. Does the fire dept. respond to all medic calls like heart attack or someone who falls along with fires?

    4. Do you have to have gone through the military.

    5. What are some general physical requirements like so you have to be a certain height (cuz I'm short 5'4")?

    6. What kind of rescues does the fire dept. do (are there ones left for another type of personnel)?

    7. What kind of training should i take previous to applying for a job?

    8. If I was a ff/medic would I spend most of my time on a dept. ambulance?

    9. When somebody first starts out do you give them a hard time or are you friendly?

    10. Were you nervous about starting out?

    11. What do you have to do to volunteer?

    Other than that I can't think of anything else right now but I'm sure I'll come up with more.

    Thanks for your help,
    Mel
    Well as far as Squads go it really varys on what type of department you work, AT LA City's Squad's are there Haz mAT Units, Now my department has Squad's and they are just like on Emergency there Paramedic units

    It depends on the department you get hired by definition of a Squad,

    It all depends, Some departments EMS and Fire is kept seperate, But if not well out here the State of Ca EMS authority requires for an addtional unit to be sent out with the EMS unit on all Medical calls

    I've never heard of it being a requirment to of had Military service but hey the more training you can get before joining a regualr FD more power to you

    Well once again it depends on what department you work for, Larger FD's such as LA City have Paramedic Engines in addtion to Paramedic Ambulances, Or may get assigned to a regualr old Fire Engine or Truck

    Question 9. N\A
    10, Who isn't nervous about starting a new job

    You would want to check with your local volunteer Fire Department, Most Vollie FD's want you to be no younger than 18, Have a High School diploma or equvialent, a valid state drivers license and non criminal background

    Really not to sure on phyiscal requirments, Just be able to do alot of strenous work

    As for rescues it various from U.S.A.R type stuff to complex rescues such as rescuing injuerd hikers off of cliffs and other stuff, Well most FD's have Urban Search and Rescue teams if not most everyone has had some kind of U.S.A.R Training


    Hope this helps


    ------------------
    Engine101
    Tim Macias
    TimMacias101@Firehousemail.com
    I will fight fire for Electricity

    [This message has been edited by Engine 101 (edited 02-22-2001).]

  5. #5
    mongofire_99
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Short answer to most all of your questions is "it depends." Long answers follow...

    1. What is a squad (everytime I see this word I think of the one on the tv show "Emergency") is that what they are really like?

    It depends on the department - could be a hazmat, a rescue, first responder unit, a support unit (lights/air), a chief's vehicle, just about anything.

    2. What kind of equipment do they carry?

    Depends on the task they are assigned. Used as a rescue, they carry rescue equipment, if used as a chiefs' vehicle, they carry quite a load.

    3. Does the fire dept. respond to all medic calls like heart attack or someone who falls along with fires?

    It's getting more and more that way, but some don't.

    4. Do you have to have gone through the military.

    No, but the extra few points on the civil service test you get from an honorable discharge may help you get hired on.

    5. What are some general physical requirements like so you have to be a certain height (cuz I'm short 5'4")?

    Heights generally not an issue, but there are some fitness requirements. If you're coordinated, can run a mile or two and lift your own body weight (20+ pull ups, 50+ push ups) you should do all right.

    6. What kind of rescues does the fire dept. do (are there ones left for another type of personnel)?

    Depends on the department, but generally if you can realistically imagine it, an FD somewhere has probably rescued somebody from it. Some citys have a different organization than the FD for rescues.

    7. What kind of training should i take previous to applying for a job?

    Learn to comprehend, study, read, write, speak, well and be up on your math. Spanish or an Asian lanuage skill may help too.

    8. If I was a ff/medic would I spend most of my time on a dept. ambulance?

    If the department you get on runs the ambulance, you being the rookie will probably be riding it for a while, unless there is a box duty rotation in the shift. It would be a good thing for you to ride it a while though.

    9. When somebody first starts out do you give them a hard time or are you friendly?

    You generally get a friendly hard time.

    10. Were you nervous about starting out?

    No

    11. What do you have to do to volunteer?

    Contact a local vfd for info.

  6. #6
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As the answers to your questions come in you will see that geography plays a big part in the answers.

    1) On my career FD a "Rescue Squad" is a Basic Life Support Ambulance staffed by 2 or 3 FF/EMT's. There are SCBA on board for each FF as well as minimal forcible entry tools. At a fire scene more times then not they arrive first and take the first line off the engine in for fire attack. Their primary mission of course is EMS.

    2) See #1

    3) On my FD the answer is yes. Some FD's do not run EMS.

    4) No, most FF's coming on the job today do not have a military background.

    5) Depends on the FD.

    6) We do them all except for level A haz-mat.

    7) Everything you can get fire and EMS related. Join a volly FD to get some experience.

    8) On my FD an absolute yes.

    9) Yes and yes. It depends on the newbie. If they come in and act like an ***** that's how they get treated. There still is a great deal of tradition involved with newbies being seen working and not heard saying anything.

    10) Heck yes, but I wouldn't trade this job for the world.

    11) Go down to the local volly station and tell them you are interested in joining. Usually fill out an application and go through their process.

    I love this job. I can't imagine doing anything else (Okay I can imagine winning $100 Million from the lottery). If its what you really want go for it and don't let anything get in your way.

    Good luck,

    FyredUp

    [This message has been edited by FyredUp (edited 02-22-2001).]

  7. #7
    johnusn971
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    1. Squad company by most definitions is a company that can preform the functions of either the Engine or Ladder Co, depending upon the needs of the Incident Commander

    2. Everything. In NY, they have hoses, an extra ground ladder than other pure Eng Co's, ladder company forciable entry tools, etc

    3. In NYC, Engine companies run CFR, which is different than 90% of all other cities. We run a first response. In other words, if EMS is backed up, the FD respondes to put a band-aid on the victim till an ambulance can respond.

    4. Military? It is not a requirement no, however, to me? I would consider it. A- The military will mature you (plus for the FD) B- Military will get you used to structure, ie- Uniform, rank, responsibility (another plus) C- Military can give you alot of college credits, ie- Promotion once on the job (plus for you). There are more, but it is midnight lol

    5. Height/weight? Eek. I can't answer this one.

    6. Do you mean a Rescue Co here?

    7. Paid Professional fire service, generally requires no prior training. I know there is no training that can really prepare you for FDNY. Yes you can get job knowledge, but you can't learn the dept before you are hired really.

    8. Where you will be assigned depends on the Dept. I know in San Fran, Paramedics are assigned to Engine companies.

    9. Probies? They will have some fun with you, expect it. Keep your mouth shut and eyes/ears open. Always know that they will not harm you for a joke, and always, ALWAYS learn.

    10. No

    11. Have a pulse? j/k
    Doc, DC3

  8. #8
    KeithA8
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    I have an answer to most of your questions - visit your local dept. or the one you are interested in working for. All dept's are different. You're only in jr. high so you'll grow anyway. Picking on the new guy is all part of it - don't take it personaly and except it. (It's not bad if you have the right attitude) If you are concerned about being stuck on an ambulance then maybe concider being a firefighter only. Being a medic is very rewarding but not always required to get the job. Good luck in your persuits. Also don't get discouraged if you don't get the first job you test for - (It's very competitive). It's nice to hear someone of your age show an interest in our profesion.

    ------------------
    IAFF Local 2033, Love this job! Hate SCABS!

  9. #9
    smokeater-n-hellraiser
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Just two quick points would like to bring up, if I might. First, you're perfect size. We always need small guys. Inquire about confined space rescue.
    Secondly, the military is great, will mature you, etc.... HOWEVER, it is not a requirnment. Depending on where you wrk, living in the city/town is a plus, as is having EMT/'medic ratings. Best of luck to you.

    ------------------
    "I hate it when someone says something is impossible, because then I have to go and find a way to do it."
    Whatever it is, I didn't do it, and I don't know anything about a fire. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
    Stay safe, boys and girls. It's for keeps out there.

  10. #10
    Engine 33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Well living out here in California there is a high demand for EMS, Alot of California departments in addtion to the basic hiring requirments are also wanting you to have EMT Certifacation, So out here in California being some type of Medic is a huge plus

  11. #11
    actionj21
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    a squad in most plces is an ambulance or a rescue truck .they cary medical suppplies to help somone ina med. emergency,the medic does not always respond on all calls . some calls can just be handled by the bls ambulance (the emt's), you do not have to go through the mil. the best way to get started is join a volly squad and they should put you through training ,this is a tuff line of work and is demanding., the fire department pretty much handles it all these days it also depends what kind of depat. you get into, yes i was very nervous when i started 5 yeras ago i am a volly fire fighter and enjoy it., just go to the local voly fh and sign upin most places.

    good luck and best wishes
    stay safe
    check our site out www.drexelhillfire.com

    ------------------

  12. #12
    iaff1937
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Mel,
    Well let me introduce myself, so you know who your reading about. I am a paid Firefighter/Paramedic. I have been in the fire service for about 7 years and am 29 years old. I started at a College FD in California. Then as a U.S. Forest Service Wildland firefighter. From there I got a job in MO, at my first paid department. From there I took a position as a firefighter with the department that I work with now. O.K., now to your questions.
    1. A squad is just another name for a rescue truck. Usually a squad is built on a pick-up truck. A squad might run extrications and or medical calls. I've learned, through my experience that terminology varies from department to department.

    2. The equipment that a squad carries varies greatly depending on what that department's needs are for their community.

    3. My department response to any and all medical calls that happen in our response area, whether it be a hang nail or a bad car accident.

    4. The military is not required, however, it can only help set you apart when it comes time to compete for this job. I didn't serve in the military.

    5. There are no physical requirements to be a firefighter. There are discrimination laws prohibiting that. Firefighters come in all shapes and sizes. For instance I'm 6'4". So no, there's no physical requirements to this job.

    6. In todays fire service the fire department does a wide variety of rescues. Everything from fires, medicals, to trench rescue and haz-mat. That's what is so exciting about our job.

    7. Keep going to school!!! The job of a firefighter is extremely competitive to get. Whatever you can do to set yourself apart from the others out there will help you land this job.

    8. Not all FF/medic departments run an ambulance. My department has FF/medics, and we run two medic engine companies. But it depends on the department that you happen to work for.

    9. Some of the "old-timers" might give you a hard time when you first start. It has happened to me. It's just a game, however. These guys and girls are feeling you out. They want to see if you crack under the pressure of being "messed with". Role with the punches don't make waves and you'll be O.K.

    10. No, I was so excited to finally get this job that I was over joyed. You will be too.

    11. To be a volunteer usually you have to live close to the vol. department that you want to be a member of. Becoming a Vol. is an excellent way for a young person like yourself to get experience.

    Mel, remember that getting the job of a firefighter doesn't come easy. It took me 4 years of testing and I traveled 9 states to land my first job. Don't get down if the first time out you don't get the position. Keep up with school and test, test, test. Good luck.

  13. #13
    SmokeEater31
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Mel,
    What more can I say that has not been said.

    1). Squad here in my area is an ambulance.
    We term a "Rescue" as what you see on EMERGENCY. It differs whereever you go, it is all correct though.

    3). Here, the city department dispatchs squad with an engine chase for manpower mostly.

    4). Here, no. As previously mentioned though, it DOES give veteran points for civil exam. Do not go to the military for just that purpose though.

    5). General physical requirements? Yes. Height, I have not seen any yet. One of our "rookies" is your same height, and he is dynamite in a small package, and INCREDIBLE asset to our department. Height is overshadowed by desire.

    6). We do all types of rescue. We have a specialized Dive/Rescue team that is dispatched from the city for drownings. HAZMAT is either handled through State Patrol or out of Omaha. Other than that, w are on our own.

    7). Whatever you can get your hands on. Keep in mind though that fire departments are going to put you through their own program though. The exception would be basic EMT. Most paid departments now a days require that for application. Volunteer companies run a little differently sometimes.

    8). Here in my city, the Firefighters start out on Squad (ambulance) being as it is the busiest piece of apparatus to learn the district. In Omaha, the department starts all firefighters out on engine companies first then allows "bidding" on squad posistions. Some people choose to remain "Engine Medics" so that they get the best of both worlds.

    9). Nine times out ten, if someone gets a hard time, it is because they are liked. Friendliness prevails in the end though. Expect a "hard time", but take it in good nature and don' take it personally, we have ALL been through it in one form or another.

    10). Nervous? Maybe a little, but mostly excited nervous energy. It is a blast though, NOTHING like it in the WORLD.

    11). Requirements vary from department to department. Start visitig your local vollie company. Talk to them, get to know them, allow them to know you. You'll get a LOT of answers there, plus they'll already know you when it comes time to recieve your application.

    Good luck in the future, and we look forward to welcoming you to the brotherhood. You will NOT regret it. But above all, be safe, and learn from the veterans. The sky is the limit then. Also, a good point was made. If you are going or a paid dept. DO NOT get discouraged. I have known peoplethat have tested year after year after year before finding a home. Keep after it and you'll get it.

    ------------------
    Your Brother In The Service,
    Rob Herpel
    FF/EMT
    Vice-Pres./Asst. EMS Coordinator
    Fremont Rural Fire Department

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