1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Arrow How did you start out VFF, and where are you now because of it??

    I just would like to know information on my subject question and any details pertaining to that. I want to start volunteering soon and I would just like some feedback. Thanks...be safe.

    Desirae Knowles

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hi Desirae.let me first start off by telling you that i joined the volunteer fire dept when i was 17.it was a junior program at the time,we were the first and last class to enter.But looking back I feel it has been the Best years of my life.the personal feeling of helping the community your own personal satifaction of doing a great job will always e with me forever.I have been in for 17yrs now and hope to complete another 17 more.
    all i can say is go for it

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    hey desirae,

    I started volunteering back in "94" to help the community and for the excitement.
    I quickly found out that firefighting is a bug and when it gets in you,you are hooked and cant get enough of it.I went through as much training as I could and made as many runs as I could.
    Than in "97" I applied for the city fire dept, studied my rear off and made on the first try.
    Because of volunteering I now have a good paying job and a wonderful career.

    My advise is-- go ahead and do it,chances are you will LOVE it.

    [This message has been edited by jrj918 (edited December 02, 1999).]

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started in EMS with a busy vollie service in a suburb of Rochester, NY. When I moved to my current home in the NYC area, I looked to join the Vol Ambulance corp, but was not comfortable with the orgznization, so I said why not try the FD. I ended up meeting a couple of the members and they had me stop by the firehouse a couple of times to take a look around. That was the end of that. Nine years later, here I am. I really love it. I am sorry I got involved in EMS first and not the fire service. (I am not knocking EMS I learned alot and had a lot of fun there as well, just like firefighting better).

    There is a big time committment, a lot of training, depending upon how far you want to go. But you will never meet a bunch of people more dedicated to the community and to each other. The excitement is great, but it is not all fun and games. The work is hard sometimes, dangerous also and cleanups and maintenance are a pain in the butt, but that is all part of the whole experience.

    I have made some great friends and would not trade the experience for anything!!

  5. #5
    Truck 2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I joined my local volunteer dept. when I was 14, things were a lot different in 1965!I ran as a volunteer till I got marryed at 21 and started as a long distance truck driver. At 34 I made up my mind that I didn't want to drive truck the rest of my life and still had the fire service in my heart. I took the entry test for the city career dept. having to sell my house and move my family into the city. I was hired in 1987 almost 13 years ago now. At this time I'm a Lt. on a Tower/Ladder. Best career move I ever made!

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I stared as a junior firefighter back in 1977 at the age of 16. A hose roller for two years, I became a regular vol.in 1979 just out of high school. After 5 years I became a Captain in our fire dept. After 22 years I still vol. for the same fire dept. and still enjoy the feelings I get found helping out my friends and community in really the only way I know how.The rewards are not much, mostly a smile or a thank you for all the long hours maintaining the equipment be to me its all worth it. good luck and be safe.
    Captain Craig Lambert
    Harmony Volunteer Fire Department

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    your going to love it! i saw an posting in a local store. I hade just moved from a big city to a small town,and was looking for a way to meet people and join the community.
    i joined the local dept.I had never really thought about being an ff but soon found i really enjoyed it.I helped save a life (ems) in my first month,i was hooked.The thrills,chills,and envolvment are like nothing i have ever been through before.

    good luck in your choice of service
    stay safe

  8. #8
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I joined my station's Juniors program when I was 16, in 1983. Back then, it was just cool to be running around on fire trucks and feeding off the adrenaline. Pretty quickly, it became more than that...it's fascinating from a technical standpoint, it "feels good to do good"...and, maybe most of all, it makes you part of a special community of fire fighters that's not quite like any other. I didn't really understand this last part until some years ago when grad school took me to Pittsburgh and I was out of the volunteer fire service for the first time in 7 years (I ran with a station in the town where I went to college, as well as my home station over breaks and afterward). I really missed it, and couldn't quite find anything else like it in the city.

    Six years later, a job change allowed me to move back to my home town, and one of the first things I did was get back to my old station and re-activate my membership. The great part was that some of the people had changed, some of the methods & procedures had changed, etc., but I was welcomed back almost as if I hadn't left. That sort of thing wouldn't happen in too many kinds of organizations out there after so long. So...what you get is to be part of an exciting and satisfying profession that is a tight-knit "community" like few others. That's not a bad deal!

    Lt. Bob Snyder
    FFC#2, Mohnton, PA

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started out at 15, in Jr. Squad I'm a 3rd gen. firefighter. I must say it was easier coming in since my dad was there. But Things have changed alittle since 89, all people are given same change at proving self.. I want to wish you luck, and don't give up, those that really want to fight fire make it..

  10. #10
    pvfr fyrfyter
    Firehouse.com Guest


    those that have answered before me have said just about anything that I could say, except one thing. Join with the knowledge that whether you like it or not, you are going to get something in your blood that there is no cure for. not that i've seen or heard of anyone working on such a cure. Paid ro volunteer, you will still be a professional with alot of responsibility on your shoulders. you will never(!!!) be able to please everyone, but those that you help and work with will become friends/ family for life.
    as a t-shirt I once saw said:
    "Volunteers- the few, the proud, the insane"
    I'm a volunteer for life and proud to live up to that saying.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hello, I started out on my Dads Coat Tails, Going to Fires and The Like, I would spend Time at the Station Washing Dishes, Polishing Trucks ect Just waiting for the Bell to Ring and all the Fire Fighters to Run out to The Trucks, My Dad says I rode in My First Fire Truck at Age 5, I dont remember it but there are Pictures that Prove it, I became a EMT right out of High School and worked for a Large County EMS all the while Volunteering for my Home Town, Things changed and a new Chief was Hired my Father Retired after many Years as a Paid F/F and Volunteer were no Longer Needed,, so Now I Live in another Town and Still Volunteer, I am the Chief/ Paramedic/ and what ever else needs to be done....and I would not change what I have done for any amount of Money.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well let's see - Unlike many of the other posts, I did not have any relatives in the service. I started out when I was a kid (as soon as I could ride my bike across the streets)following fire trucks to scenes. "Emergency" had an impact also on me being a F/F. I have 12 years "on the job" now, spent 5 years with my hometown dept., left there as a LT. and now am a Paid on call with a larger dept. outside of Ann Arbor, MI. I would not trade it for anything. As far as where am I now - I just finished taking my oral board for a fulltime F/F position on my dept. -- Time will see where it takes me now.....
    **3-25-2000** - As of 4-1-2000 I am now one of six newly hired full-timers **
    ED C.
    "Doin' it for lives and property !"

    [This message has been edited by PTFD21 (edited January 19, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by PTFD21 (edited March 25, 2000).]

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Roswell, GA, USA


    In 1978, I joined my hometown VFD. Over the next several years, I went to as many schools as I could, and got a Basic Certification (not exact title). Then, I was asked by Chief to be an Assistant. We had no Capts, Lts, etc., just Assts. I said yes. After a while, my work took me to Texas.

    Altogether, I was there 9 years, in 2 different depts. I also had the pleasure of attending Texas A&M on many occasions for training. Additionally, I attended a fire academy and got a municipal certification (needed in TX to work as a career FF).

    At one of the departments, I was promoted to Lt. Work took me back to PA, and within 5 years, had worked my way back up to Dep. Chief, based mainly on my experience and training. Then, just this past summer, work once again moved me.

    Now, I'm in GA, and have joined yet another fire dept. What was the main effect I've noticed on my life? In most cases, I've lived a bit further from work than I could have, but chose the longer commute so that I could be a vol. FF. That's a short sum of my 21 years of firefighting. It's in my blood, can't get away now!!

    Rick Reed
    Do it right, do it safely, do it once.

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    When Break-N-Entry was sentenced to 2 years probation, $2,500 in fines, and to 1000 hours of community service for stealing cars, one of the places the judge sent him to was the firehouse. Been here 16 years, and B-N-E ain't leaving!

  15. #15
    FF/EMT 19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I joined as a volunteeer Firefighter after serving as a shipboard Firefighter in the U.S. Navy. When I joined I was told by a great man that when I go on my first run, one or two things was going to happen. One, I was going to love it and I would not be able to get enough of it or Two, I would hate it and not care if I ever did it again.
    That was nine years ago and I'am currently a Captain with my department. I can truly say I have not met a better group of people in the world (and I have been around it) than this countries Firefighters.
    To give back to your community as a volunteer Firefighter has to be one of the most noble callings one can do for his or her's community.
    Desirae, what you make out of the service is what you put into it. You are on the right track by asking questions. By the way the great man who said I would either love it or hate it was my brother. He now is currently serving on a local city department. He was right, I love it and would not trade it for anything.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away. Hehe, just kidding. I always wanted to be a FF, but it was a good friend that convinced me to join. I joined at age 16 and quickly got into the groove of things. Some people began to notice that I had a knack for leadership and even though I was only a rookie, I was taking charge of things like landing medical choppers and heading the skywarn program. At age 19, when our fire police capt passed away after a long battle with cancer, I was unanimously voted in to succeed him. Now I am 20 and am serving my 2nd year as "FP1" and from what I understand, I am the youngest officer in the history of our dept.

    I don't mean this to sound like I am tooting my own horn, it was a long hard road to get where I am today. But it shows that when you have dreams, you can do anything to achieve them.

    be safe,
    Parker FP1

  17. #17
    Bob Shelly
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I started chasing my father on fire trucks when I was about 9 or 10, then when I was older (13,14,etc) my pop would take me to scenes and let me help roll hoses etc. all the while teaching me how things were done. I became a jr. firefighter. After high school I joined the U.S.Navy and part of my job was firefighting ,damage control, and training my shipmates how to fight fires. I have always loved the science of firefighting. When I got out my father talked me into joining the local vol. fire dept. because they needed volunteers, that was a wife,four kids,three adresses ago. I have served as a firefighter, engineer,engine capt. assist. Chief, and Chief of the dept, 23 years total. all I can tell you is give it a try, get the right training and go for it. If you can run INTO a burning building and and save strangers lives and property, then I don't think theres anything you can't do!!! be safe

    Chief Bob Shelly

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Started out rolling wet dirty hoses, now I roll dry dirty hoses.

  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest



  20. #20
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You ask how some became volunteers and what they are doing now. To be honest, I started volunteering when I was 16 (in 1969, Georgia allowed this). At the time, the volunteer fire station had retired Atlanta Fire Officers serving as captain. In 1973, I became a City of Atlanta Firefighter. The retired Atlanta Officers who trained me was most beneficial, to the point that I scored #8 in a class of 52. I still however, volunteered at the place where I started. In 1978, I was, by way of the formation of the Fulton County Fire Department, able to transfer my seniority and pension. In one month, I was appointed a fire apparatus operator at the same station in 1969. The old saying "What goes around, comes around" was certainly true in this case. In 1982, I was promoted through promotional examinations to the position of Lieutenant (it took 4 years for this to occur). In 1984, I was promoted to Fire Captain and assigned to a contract fire station, where volunteers operated (contract being a joint venture between Fulton County and a municipality). I was there until April 1993. Due to change in contract I was assigned to another fire station (no loss of rank). In January, 1995, and October, 1999, I transferred at my own request. I am now a Captain in a double company (Engine and Truck). I at times, perform the duties of a Battalion Chief. I presently have 26 1/2 years in the fire service, career wise. I am also a basic emergency medical technician in Georgia, having been the same since 1975. I am still a volunteer firefighter at a FCFD contract fire station which also allows volunteers. My wife is also a volunteer firefighter for the same fire station, but her work as a 911 dispatcher curtails her activities some.

    I have stayed in the business these many years, because I enjoy the work. Please do not take this to mean I wish anybody injured, hurt or killed. Because I do not. I have seen my share of hurt, injury and death. If you stay in the business long enough, you will see it, whether by fire or accident. As a matter of fact, about three weeks ago, there was a fire in my coverage area which involved a fire fatality.

    I figure this will make you or break you. This is a statement I tell new firefighters. I certainly do not wish it on them, but it eventually happens. I am not trying to scare anybody, but to display the facts. You will be tired after a fire; you will use muscles never known to you; you have to think while running; you will have to make decisions at times; there will be training, which you may or may not understand. As for training, I recommend procuring an "IFSTA" Essentials Book and read it from cover to cover. The State of Georgia for example, requires a minimum of 120 hours training annually, and must be reported to the proper authorities to remain certified as a firefighter. Our department requires 240 training per annum.

    You will do well to ask someone who is a firefighter what it is like. I could give more advice, but I am sure others would like to join this party.

    To be completely honest, try it. You may make a difference in someone living and dying in a fire or accident. I do recommend much prayer also

    [This message has been edited by csgos (edited March 07, 2000).]

  21. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hi there me again update on my status.I now am a paid career firefighter in the same dept i had vol for the last 17yrs.Perseverance pays off.

  22. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I am 18 yrs. old, although a little more than 2 weeks away from turning 19. I started with the Lake Bluff Fire Department (Volunteer) two days after I turned 18 and it is the best experience of my life. I did it for about 5 months before I left for college and I now do it when I am home on breaks. I hope to start year round when I graduate. It is a awesom experience and the friends you make will be with you for a long time and in both good and bad times.

    Safety first, then the hero stuff, or is it the other way?

  23. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I started when I turned 18 years old. I'm 21 now and I love it.I think this is one of the best things I have every done for my self. I love the friendships I have devolped at the station. My suggestion is go for it. Try it! You never know if you might like it!


  24. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I am one of those that had no family in fire or EMS that I was aware of. My neighbor was a volunteer and when I was 12 or 13 I used to help him work on his "farm". When he would go on calls I would ride my bike to the station. On a big fire one of the guys who did not know I was only 13 asked me to ride along in the tanker as it was policy to have two people in the truck( wasn't worried about training then) He got into trouble taking a 13 year old with him but I stuck with it. I was after allowed to run the radio after discussions with my parents. I was really hooked and that made me stay in the station not on scenes. In 1983when I turned 18 I was officially put on the Department and took an EMT course and started working full time on a Private ambulance. I left the ambulance company to work for private industry in the safety Department. To this day I am still a volunteer and have made the rank of Captain. As stated in other posts once in the blood always in the blood.

    Les Hartford
    Captain, LMR VFD
    Maybee, MI


  25. #25
    Brian Johnson
    Firehouse.com Guest



    You are lucky to be just starting. What a thrill it is the first time you are given a set of turnouts, the first time you ride an engine Code-3, the first fire.

    I started in 1982 as a wildland firefighter then 1986 as a volunteer in Orange County Ca. I am now an Asst. Chief in Okinawa, Japan.

    Good luck, take lots of pictures, your in for a great ride.

    Brian Johnson
    Assistant Chief
    Okinawa, Japan

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