1. #1
    D. Anderson
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post When you started your career

    I'm just wondering how old you guys were when you started, if you had a real job before becoming a firefighter, and if you were a veteran. It seems we're hiring younger people all the time and sometimes the work ethic isn't there, and they don't realize what a fantastic job they have.

  2. #2
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 28 when I got appointed to the Department in 1981, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1988 and am waiting for the results of the November 1999 Captain's exam.

    I worked as a technician and did some sales for a pest control company prior to getting appointed. Before that I worked in sales at a radio station, went to college, played bass guitar in a rock band, and worked in a couple of factories between semesters at school.

    Firefighting is a great career. If someone doesn't want to do the job, they should get out; there are many who are waiting to get on!

    Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited January 29, 2000).]

  3. #3
    Terry McDonald
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 18 when i started on a city reserve program, and was on full time when i was 19 years old in 1989. I was with that dept. for almost six years when i moved to my current dept. and i have been here since March 1995. I am currently assigned as a driver/paramedic on an engine company. Also, I am a third generaton FF. Father retired as Chief of Dept. almost two years ago in Oxford MS after thirty years of service and grandfather retired as a captain in 1972 with twenty years of service at Canton MS fire dept.

  4. #4
    Truck 2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 36 when I came on the job in 1987 and was lucky enough to be promoted on my first test in 1992 to Lieutenant, I have taken and passed the Captains test but didn't score high enough to be promoted, we only have 4 Captains. on the department. I worked two years in the Fire Marshals Office and went back out as a Company Officer on a 1991 E-One 95'Quint. I wasen't a veteran but was involved in the volunteer fire service when I was in high school. The biggest thing that kept me from trying earlyer was I wasen't sure if I wanted to live in the city! Best career move I ever made.I was a over the road truck driver for 17 years prior to going on the job.


  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 24 years old when I started with the Federal Fire Department. I started about 1 year after I got out of the Marine Corp. I now have about 10 years in and I wouldn't want to do anything else.

  6. #6
    Ed Shanks
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 31 when I was hired as a fulltime firefighter in Feb. 1988.

    I had a real job - I was one of 5 guys who did all the maintenance and repair for a municipal public works department (in a village of 5000 people). It was a non-union job with low pay and few benefits. I can honestly say I've shovelled sh#t. I also repaired hydrants and water lines in subzero temperatures, laid hot blacktop in the heat of summer, you name it!

    I refer to those days as "Back when I used to have to work for a living." I was also paid-on-call at that same village FD. I did that for 6 years before I came to where I am now, where the job is occasionally harder, but I still don't think of it as "work."

    IAFF 1176

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was a volunteer at age 21, full time at age 25. I did not get any veterans, paramedic or college degree points, so I had to kick butt on the written with my measly 5% credit for EMT. Everyone else on my test was hired with 20% or greater credit for military and/or paramedic.

    I've done a bunch of different jobs, no Sh&^ shoveling, though: private ambulance, fire extinguishers, medical claims billing, reimbursement and collections (Collecting Sucks,) metal grinding, pressure testing, retail, biochemical processing, packaging, warehousing and shipping, small delivery truck driver (small dump trucks - mulch, stone, corn.)

    This is the best job I can think of - inside work, outside work, big red trucks, fighting fire, saving lives, eating well, good pay, EXCELLENT benefits, time with my family!

    Just try to find a better job - where else can you stab someone in their own home with a needle, or tear out their walls and ceilings and they thank you for it?!

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started out in 1987 as a volunteer firefighter/EMT while I was still in the Navy. In 1994 I got out of the navy after 8 1/2 years driving submarines, and went to work for a private ambulace service as an EMT. In 1995 I started paramedic school and in 1998 at the age of 33 I was hired by the Memphis Fire Department. Needless to say I was the "old fart" in my academy class. It was a long bumpy road but it was worth it. This is the best job in the world.

    Larry Boothby
    Truck 3 A-shift
    Local 1784

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Started as a full time firefighter in 1972 at age 21. After coming home from the service, I worked full time in a grocery store before joining the fire department. I continued to work part time in the grocery business for the next 20 years after my appointment. I remained in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve for 10 years until 1978. Now after almost 28 years full time service, I can honestly say the fire department has been the best career I could have ever had and I don't regret a single moment.

  10. #10
    Lt Overmyer
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 23 when I started out as a volunteer. I was 25 when I was hired as a career. After getting the job in my blood I did not want to do anything else.

    I am now a Lt. at age 38 and look back to see if I would have changed anything. NOPE!

    My father was a fire chief of a volunteer departnment, and I can honestly say that I LOVE MY JOB!

    Yes I have noticed a different work ethic of the new people coming in, but they can be trained. Good luck, Stay safe, and Stay low.

    Lt. Brett J Overmyer
    Carmel Fire Department
    Carmel, In

    This is my opinion and not the opinions of the Carmel Fire Department.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 21 when I was hired and 29 when I was promoted to Lt. I did have several real jobs from working on commercial fishing boats to logging.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I was 29 when I was hired, had been with a volle dept for 5 years. I was working at a auto parts store. Like LT gonzo said if you dont want the job then dont try out for it, there are a lot of people out there who would love a crack at the job.

  13. #13
    Dave Grice
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    When I was 5 my parents moved to their current house. The house is about a mile away from a station. Seeing the apparatus go by everyday fascinated me. My parents told me they were the brave men going to help someone in trouble. Ever since, being a firefighter was just what I wanted to do.
    I consider myself very blessed, I worked private ambulance the day I turned 21, and took two tests. The second test turned in to a dream come true-- I was hired onto my current dept. two months after turning 22. I wasn't in the service or had to work back-breaking factory jobs, but I thank God everyday for my "job". It really isn't a job when yu wake up in the morning and can't wait to get to the station. After only three short years, I have been on some great calls and I know there are many more to come, and it all feels like a blink of an eye. I also just want to say to all of you with many years in the fire service how much respect and reverance I have for you, because if it wasn't for those of you that have gone before me things might be a different fire service. God Bless and stay safe.

  14. #14
    Chief Taylor
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started in 1983 as a wildland firefighter. prior to that I was in the grocery business and doing quite well, but no challenge.

    I am now in my 17th year of service and a Fire Chief for a new community. I am very happy to be in this field and also want to let you young people just starting out know, that it goes very fast. I feel like I just started and have so much more to learn. Enjoy it and be safe out there.

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I can honestly say I have never had a real 9-5 job. My father is a retired fire chief,I can remember going to fires with him when I was 7yrs old,and helping clean the truckson Saturday clean-up days.

    I joined a volunteer depr when I was 16 as a cadet,we were allowed to ride the apparatus to the fires and help with plug hook ups and pulling slack.It was a great way to get on the job training.At 18 I was promoted to Firefighter.At 22 I was hired by Atlanta fire and made Lt. 3 years ago.It has been a great time,and I still cant wait for every shift to roll around and still find it difficult to be off for more than one shift at a time !

    Has far as work ethic,I have seen a tremendous drop off over the past 10 years. These young guys have no idea how great a job we have,to alot of them it's just a pay check and good days off.
    When I teach a rookie class I give the example of a cook v/s firefighter. Every day a cook going to work knows exactly what he will be doing for 8 long hours. A firefighter never knows what he will see,do or encounter over a 24 hour shift,everyday theres somthing new to learn or overcome.


  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I joined my department in Oct.of 1974 when I was 21. I had worked several jobs, been in the military, and had attended college. I had a good family friend who was a volunteer in a small rural dept. in our county. Listening to him tell his stories and then reading Dennis Smith's book got me interested. I was a FF/PM, worked in the Prevention Bureau, Promoted to Lt. in 1984, Platoon Commander in 1995, and Assistant Chief in 1996. In 1999 I was promoted to Chief of Department. One reason I was so successful is that I listened, I studied, and I traveled around the US learning everything I could. In my time here I have seen every attitude known to man. I worked with depression era people, vets from WWII - Korea - Viet Nam, Baby Boomers (me), and all the others. I had old guys who had worked 25 years who couldn't or wouldn't do anything. I have worked with one year people who think the world owes them everything. I remember how much different my thinking was than the older members I worked with and now the new guys are so much different than me. Our profession has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, it always has, it always will. You're right when you mention that they don't know how good they have it. Thanks for letting me vent.....Take Care & Stay Safe.

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started in 1985 at 23 years old as a POC FF.I got all of my certifications and training as a volly on my own. I was not in the military. After 5 years I became full time and have been for 10 years. The major educational accomplishment of my full time career was becoming a Paramedic. I am in a small town department with little promotional advancement possiblities.
    I believe that some younger people did not have the life experiences to make them a hard worker they eventually find there place. I have seen some come and stay and some leave. On the flip side I know some guys that were war vets that have been good workers for most of there careers that have given up and want to do nothing but collect the check and retire.I believe that everyone has it in them to be a great worker but you have to have something to motivate you to keep you in it. We all find our way.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

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