1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question How did you start out FF?

    I just need to know some info on how to get myself started, (in FF that is, I want to be the one that goes in and put's the fire out)I would appreciate any info that any of you may have for me. I am a 17 year old female who will be 18 in May, who is currently a senior in high school, who will be graduating in June.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hello and congratulations on selecting the exciting world of firefighting as a possible career. I started out as a volunteer firefighter for my community and eventually landed a job as a paid firefighter. My decision to be a firefighter is one I have never regretted.
    If you are interested in learning more about the fire service and your local fire dept. is volunteer, you might try speaking with a representative about what you must do to become involved. If your local dept. is paid, you might contact someone in the fire prevention bureau who can assist you with any questions you might have.
    Many people may say you will have trouble getting into the fire service or performing firefighting duties becasue you are female. Don't give those ideas much thought. Anyone can perform well on the job with good training and a strong desire to succeed. If you're lucky enough to find a female firefighter role model, even better.
    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I think it's fantastic that you want to become a firefighter, and I wish more men and women your age had your aspirations.

    My family has been involved with the fire service since they set foot in this great country nearly two hundred years ago; so for me, firefighting is a family thing that's gone from generation to generation.

    I think you'll find that putting out fires, and helping people is very rewarding; but for me, the BEST thing about being a firefighter is being a part of a big, BIG family. The BEST people in this world are my brother and sister firefighters.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest

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    we have just recently started accepting firefighters at the age of 17 into our department. Even though they are "limited" in what they can do till they are 18, I think that they will learn alot by the schools they can attend during their first probationary year in the Company. One of the first things to do is actually go in to your local VFD fill out an application and sit and talk with the members to get an idea of what the job is like. As anyone can tell you in the service these days, it's not just "goin' in and putting the fire out". Today's firefighter does a little bit of everything....extinguishment of fires,confined space, haz-mat, EMS, cat's in trees, rope rescue, river and ice rescue, assist in disasters by having the station as a shelter, road blocks assisting P.D....right down to sitting in a piece of apparatus to watch a set of arcing wires near the road till the power company shows up 2 hours from the initial call. I have been a FF for 10 years in various depts. here in NY and I still haven't "done or seen" it all. Don't be discouraged from joining because you are a female. The very first dept I was in had 6 female FF's and let me tell you, that was the entire response from our dept. during a day call and they could do it all. Good Luck and let me know how you make out.

    R. Schorr FF/EMT/HMT
    Northpole Fire Co, Watertown NY

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I got started out as a firefighter in the Air Force. Liked it enough I stayed twenty years. It had it's plusses and minus but the opportunity was a great one. Travelled all over the world and had the opportunity to work in some extremely busy and extremely slow departments.

    Good luck,


  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have been around fire all of my life, my dad was a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service for about 35 years. I wanted to do firefighting for a living so I talk to a person who was a firefighter with the City of Rolla FD, and he told me to join the local volunteer dept to get the training, and experince that I needed. After about 5 years with the volunteer dept I joined the city dept and I have been here almost 3 years. You will have a lot of fun times and there will be some very bad times but keep your head up, it will get better. The best advice I can give you is train and train and train some more, and you can never have enough experience. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.

    Have a good day and be safe.

    Local 3905

  7. #7
    Ed Shanks
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey Des,

    You want to know how to get into firefighting? First of all, graduate high school. Then, select a fire department that you would like to be employed by. Find out what their entry level criteria are. These will likely include meeting your state's (Washington's, in your case) minimum standards. 'Way over here in Ohio, that means taking the 240-hour basic training course and passing it. Once that's accomplished, you have a marketable skill to offer to prospective employers.

    IAFF 1176

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I'm 18 and my interest in Fire Fighting came in a back-door sout-a-way. I have been a member of a Civil Air Patrol/U.S. Air Force Auxilliary Search & Rescue Team for five years and am now the Squadron Emergency Services/Search-&-Rescue Officer. I love helping people and when an oppurtunity to get involved with a dpartment arose about a year ago, I jumped on. One of my High School teachers is Volunteer Fire Chief and I started by helping rebuild a '79 Freightliner that now has a 500gpm pump and 3000gal. tank from scratch. Although I don't repond with this department I help in every way I can, whether it be cleaning the trucks or the station, helping rebuild the tanker, or what ever needs to be done. You learn a lot by just being around it, listening and asking questions. I also go to drill and train with them. Its a great department, and a great bunch of guys and gals.

    The key thing is: LEARN

    LEARN all you can, you never know when you will need it. You may be one of three or four people going to a fire late at night and you may have to run the Engine.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Gramdpa was an original member of our town fire department and I grew up 2 houses from the department, that developed the interest. Was on the Jr. FF program until that folded.(Long story) Trained and was able to do it in the USN and now do it here at home. Absolutely love it!
    Stay safe...

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Future Firefighter, this is nice that you are asking about it. I commend you for trying. I started out 40 years ago living next door to the firehouse. I moved away and into a new community. Beginnning a new school in a new school, their was a guy from the local firehouse that was looking for members. I went to the meeting with the entire senior boy class and I have never left since. It is a good idea to visit your local volunteer station to see if they need any help. During this period learn all you can. Most of the time it is no cost to you. If you like it, most members go to work ona paid service. Enjoy it . No regrets hear. Mike

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest

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    Greetings Form The North!
    One of the best ways to become a professional fire fighter, in my opinion, is to try a volunteer fire dept. first. It will give you just as good a look as any at the profession. As a volunteer you can be trained in several different ff positions.I first started as a volunteer. I became a licensed plumber at 21, joined our local vol. dept. and loved it. I can operate trucks, pumps, vent roofs, do interior search and rescue as well as fight a fire from any given position. If you like it, and you are ambitiuos enough, I know you could make it as a professional. By the way, all of the advice I have seen posted previously seems to be excellent. Explore all the pathways you can. Do what it takes to get the job you want. If you can accomplish this, you will be an excellent fire fighter! We never quit 'til the jobs done. Have a safe and happy career, you'll love it.
    Deseronto Fire Dept.


  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hello, We can't get much farther apart geographically without getting wet but if your going to fight fires get used to being wet,cold, and dirty.
    Just FYI, we have civil service and all professional appointments start with a state wide exam, physical, and strength test, then you're put on a list for the municipalities you chose to include on your original applications. Then you wait for a job to open,get called in for an interview,wait to be hired or not. If your hired you go to a fire academy for training in the latest evolutions then you report to work as a Firefighter.
    No matter what the process, I highly recommend it.
    We lost six firefighters Dec.3,1999 during one abandoned warehouse fire in Worcester,Ma. and it was one very tragic reminder of what we do and the risks involved.
    However, it also brought firefighters from all over the world together to reaffirm our commitment.
    So "suit up rookie" and good luck!!

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Dear FutureFireFighter,

    I am a third generation firefighter, that I know of, and was practically raised in the firehouse. I learned alot just hanging around and watching. There was no junior program at that time. Our department now has an Explorer program which is run by the Boys Scouts and sponsored by us. Girls are allowed also. I would check with your area departments and see if they have an Explorer post or junior firefighter program. Our explorers are allowed to take most of the same training courses as our regular members. Alot of our Explorers go on to be firefighters either with us or elsewhere. Good luck in your endeavor and never give up on your dream. You won't be disappointed.

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey good luck.. Unlike some of the others I did not have a relative in the service to follow. I started out chasing the trucks when I was old enough to cross the street. I just seemed to be hooked. I started out with my hometown dept. as a paid on call. When I got married, I moved on to a larger combination dept. (paid on call and fulltime) and with some luck will be one of the six we are gonna hire fulltime in a few months. It has been almost 12 yrs now that I have been on the job and it has been a helluva ride. I would not trade it for anything.
    One thing about starting out as a vollie or paid on call, it is getting harder to keep up with training while working fulltime and maintaining a homelife. Starting out early before you have settled down is the way to go, I waited till I was 23 y.o. and almost married, wish I would have started into it earlier in life. Our dept is pretty progressive and it takes alot to maintain required certifications and learning the most you can.

    Once again Good Luck and remember Keep it safe but do the job !!!

    ED C.
    "Doin' it for lives and property !"
    <A HREF="http://www.freeyellow.com/members8/ptfd21/index.htm"" TARGET=_blank>Pittsfield Twp. Fire Dept.</A>

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well Hello
    Welcom to the best job on the face of the earth.
    Well frist dont let any one tell u that
    u cant be a firefighter because u are a gir.
    I am new in the family myself i have followed my dad and he fallowed his grandfarther. But one warning once its in your blood there isnt any way out
    when ever you hear the tones go off or see a fire you will want to be part of it.
    This week you have also learned the hardest part of being a firefighter death.

    and my last thought something to u to think about
    we are fire fighters, we put out fires. we arnt heros we just have the best job in the world
    so dont ever try to act like a hero and go John Wyane style cause most likely you will get hurt or some one else will.
    but after all of this welcom to the worlds best job and family

    Fire fighters are not heros We have a job to get done and we do it well

  16. #16
    howard barraclough jr
    Firehouse.com Guest


    i was raised in the fire service.my dad has been a fire fighter for as long as i can remember so it was a natural for me to join .i was 16 when i loined and we were called jr firefighters.exterior only.now my dad and i are still in the same dept. and my oldest daughter is a member.she joined when she turned 16 also.she is a medic now and also can do the exterior things at a fire.we have 7 or 8 women in the dept right now and i would trust my life to all of them with out a problem.so go and do what your heart tells you to do.talk to as many fire fighters that you can in your district and good luck.

    Howard E Barraclough JR

  17. #17
    Robert Bryan Deas
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hello to you.
    As many others have done, I starsed out in firefighting only a year ago as a volunteer. I would suggest that you go to a fire house neer your residence and talk to some of the firefighters at that station. They may have some info on how to apply to ther department or other departments in the metro area you live in. They may also be able to suggest volunteer units to apply for so that you might be able to gain the neccessary knowledge needed to apply for a paid department. You may also want to look into a local community college to see if they may offer an acadamy class that you can take.
    I wish you the best of luck in your endevers.

    Bryan "Porkchop" Deas

    Sable Altura Volunteer Fire Department

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Greetings... I was going along nicely in my life when a friend bet me I could not get on a dept. before he could. we had been on a vol. dept. I had only a minimal amount of desire to be paid.. it was the best bet I ever took.. I love the job and life style.
    oh yea... I won the bet!!!

  19. #19
    Brian Pratt
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Welcome to the Brotherhood.

    I am a third generation Volunteer who joined my local department when I got out of the Navy. My Navy experience and my volunteer time made a big difference when I took the civil service test to become a career FF. I scored on the top of the list and am now a prof. FF in Elmira NY.

    Good luck to you in your firefighting future.

  20. #20
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You asked what you have to do. Polarbear said to go to your local volunteer fire dept and ask for an application. That way would work. But, there is another way that not many people know about, yet. There is a hot-line you can call now to help you find the closest dept and help with the application process. I believe it is 1-800-Fireline.

  21. #21
    Dave Grice
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Future Firefighter---

    Everyone above have said some great things which I hope you follow through on. But I would also encourage you to go and get your emergency medical technician certificate. It only takes about 10-12 weeks to finish it and depending on your location, a local hospital or college should offer it. I wanted more than anything to be a firefighter. But the area where I'm at mostly comprised of part and full-time departments that gave civil service tests for employment (along with an agility test, interviews, polygragh test, background screening and physical exam). Anyway, I became an EMT and worked for a private ambulance company while I took tests. Luckily it only took three tests before I was hired. In my area, Northeast Ohio, EMS is a big part of fire departments responsibilities. Most departments are now limiting their tests to paramedics only because it saves the city money for having to send you once you are hired. So my advice would be to get your EMT and paramedic certificates and find out as much as you can about the departments in your area are looking for. Good Luck.

  22. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    How about an update? How's your quest progressing? Any useful information from your posting?--------------------??
    Well, I guess NOT!!

    [This message has been edited by EXJAKE (edited February 23, 2000).]

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