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Thread: Fear of hights

  1. #1
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    Default Fear of hights

    I'm hoping that maybe I could get some imput from you guys about this. I'm working on becoming a firefighter, but the only thing holding me back is that I'm not all that comfortable with hights. Do you think that it's a lost cause and I can never get over it, or is it possible? Have any of you guys ever had to battle with this? If there is a way to get over this fear, how do I do it? Any information at all that you can give me is greatly appriciated. Thanks in advance


  2. #2
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    I am in the process of helping some of our new
    guys with heights and fear of scba.

    My advice is to just do it. Find someone that
    is willing to help you. Use ladders and harnesses.
    You don't have to be comfortable with heights to
    be a f.f anyway, be on an engine. Granted it helps
    tremendously if you want to do anything.

    Start slow maybe go to a height on a laddr you feel
    comfortable with and stand there for awhile, slowly
    move up. It takes time, but you can get over it.

    That ladder is not going anywhere(If properly placed)
    and you should always double check your ladder.

    It's not the fall that hurts, its the sudden stop at
    the end, and it only hurts for a little while.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Temporarily/No Longer Active Station7Cadet's Avatar
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    Believe me, I hate hieghts, I shake just thinkning about them! But when I took my FFI and right now I am taking a rescue class that deals with vertically elevated sitiations I got REAL scared! But I got over it! In my FFI class when had to get on and stand on a 2nd story window and jump out on a ladder about 1 ft away from the window with my SCBA on. I was not the happiest camper.
    I don't think the fare of heights should hold you back in your fire service career.

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    It's something that you will have to deal with. Did you ever see a baby taking his/her first step? You have to start with small heights, then gradually work your way up.

    Ladder work is an integral part of firefighting. Sometimes fear of heights is conquered by the adrenaline rush during fire ops, but when the fire is out and it's time to go back to quarters, you'll still have to deal with heights!

    Do you know what they call people who want to be firefighters but are afraid of heights?

    [COLOR=blue=]COPS![/COLOR]
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Crispynick

    I would have to agree with Mike W and Captain Gonzo. Take this fear of heights in small steps don't bite off more than you can chew. I remember when I went through FF1, there were several students that had this fear, the instructors were really good about it. They didn't bark orders or belittle the student, those people went as high as they were comfortable and then went two or three rungs higher if not they came down. They weren't penalized when practical test time came.

    Just take it slow, and climb a ladder a week at a time if you have the opportunity. Climb as high as you can the first week or day and set a goal to climb a little higher the next week or day. Remember to always double check the placement of the ground ladder before climbing.
    "The saw won't start, heh, grab the axe and start chopping"

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    Thumbs up

    Take some advice from someone that once frooze on a 45' pole ladder 15' above the poles, and it took two and a half hours to get me down. LISTEN to Gonzo!!! Take one step at a time and you will get over the top. If any of the Firefighters in the past let fear stop them from doing thier job then where would we be today? You have to take that fear and find a way to work around it. I frooze because my training officer was a smart@## and thought it would be funny to shake the ladder with the FNG on it. Yeah real funny they had to replace a section because three rungs was bent that night. But, it only took 5 years and the ARMY, I can now go back up ladders do my job and go on. the fear is still there but I found a way to turn it to my advantage as you are going to have to. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Station7Cadet
    In my FFI class when had to get on and stand on a 2nd story window and jump out on a ladder about 1 ft away from the window with my SCBA on.
    They had minors do that in MD?!?!? They shouldn't even have adults do that. Talk about unsafe! Those instructors are the type that get people hurt or killed.


    As far as the height thing, I'm not scared of heights...just falling from them! In other words, as long as I don't think I am gonna fall and I feel secure I am fine. So if I get worried, I just do some controlled breathing and convince myself that I will be fine.

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    first thing, i am in maryland and i didnt' have to do that. So not all people from maryland have bad classes my was safe....

    Next crispynick I feel your pain. I was the biggest "girl" when it came to heights. I hated any type of heights. But like all the other people on here tell you start with little heights and then work your way up. Trust me it does work. SInce then i even took a verti. rock rescue class. But the biggest thing to keep in mind is to Never let your fears stop you at what you love. YOu can always overcome your fears if you want it bad enough.

    the cute one:
    fire chick co. 36

  9. #9
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    Heights become lee imposing during a fire. You don't have to come to love heights but I know in my old department, ladders were thrown and utilized constantly so that fear was subordinate to having to work. If there is any advice I could give you, and I don't teach height classes, is to look at it as you would any evolution; it is something to be done and when you are complete you have that victory to chalk up in your corner.

    You will do fine!

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    I'm in the same boat with you about heights. I'm not scared of them but I don't go out of my way to find them. Two things I guess I've learned are

    1) At an incident, you will surprise yourself time and time again what you can do when you have to.

    2) If you aren't a little afraid of heights then you might be a little foolish. Fear causes caution which is often a good thing.

    You, and only you, know your limits so only you can make a decision about entering the fire service. Make it a good one.

    Good luck, it is nice to know that other firefighters are apprehensive about heights too.

  11. #11
    Senior Member shammrock54's Avatar
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    Just do it! No one likes hieghts, especially me, but after you go up the stick a few times and sit there while, 100' up, they spin you in a 360 u get over it quick. Besides people will love you, you'll move up that ladder so fast just to get off you'll have the roof vented in no time As for the SCBA it just takes time, its just like how when you first start it takes forever to put it on, eventually it becomes second nature and takes no time. hang in there.
    Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

  12. #12
    Senior Member lady_in_turnouts's Avatar
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    crispynick,

    I was petrified of heights when I first started as a firefighter. I had not had much experience with heights,just a little in the military but not enough to prepare me.

    At my first dept I had the biggest jerk for a capt, and he tried to use my fear against me. As others on here have written, I took it slow and tried not to think about it. The higher up I got I just focused on the task on hand and never let anyone intimidate me.

    The first call I got that required getting up on the roof of a local business(large storage facility for a moving co), I was shaking in my gear the whole ride there. Once I got out of the truck, training kicked in and I did what I had to do. It didnt hit me until the call was over exactly how high I'd been,but being on the ground safe and sound it didnt seem that bad

    I still dont "like" heights but I have no problem with ladders or such anymore. I just get up there and do my job. Give it some time, take it slow and believe in yourself. You'll do just fine.

    Take care,

    Lady.
    "Let every nation know..that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty"---JFK, Jan.1961

  13. #13
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Fear Of Heights

    I agree, take one step at a time....go slow. Most of all, you need to trust your equipment. I can remember the first time I attempted rappeling from the 4 story structure at the fire academy. I had second (and third) thoughts. Then, it all becomes second nature and you just go ahead and do it.

    I have no doubt that a senior firefighter would be more than willing to help you through this....they're terrific people!


    Believe in yourself...gain confidence and BE SAFE!

  14. #14
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    Talking Ahh, heights

    Well, I'm scare sh**less of heights. But I'm very comfortable on a ladder that is either attached (leaning) on a house, or even an ariel that is above a building. But for some reason, I can't get myself to climbe up the arial unless it is over a roof top. I can't explain it, but that's just the way that I am! In my department, they don't hold it against you if you can't climb all the way up the 75' ladder.
    Joel

    Lets never forget the events of 9-11

    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

    **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**

  15. #15
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    thanks for the replies, it's reassuring that I'm not alone with this I'm going with a buddy to an indoor rock climbing gym out here and I'll see how it goes since it will be my first time doing that. thanks again!

  16. #16
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Default Rock climbing

    Good for you! That's probably a great place to start. I wish you well in your endeavor! And don't be afraid to give it a little time....repeat the effort until you feel comfortable!


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