1. #1
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    May 2002

    Default Need advice about becoming a firefigher.

    I'm 21 and currently a junior at the University of Central Florida. I had planned on being an officer in the military since I was a boy. However, I've recently decided to consider a career in firefighting. I was wondering if anyone could help get me started on what I need to do in order to make this happen. I realize going to the local firehouse is the best option but I haven't had time to do that. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2002


    Don't give up on the military yet, you can always become a firefighter in the military. In that case all you would have to do would be to go talk to a recruiter for whatever branch of the service you're looking at.

  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    25 NW of the GW

    Cool GO FOR IT...right in Florida!

    I'm re-posting this from an earlier thread. I suggest you contact the individual by E-mail....and ask LOTS of questions!

    Originally posted by Jimdmdfr
    Dear Brothers and Sisters

    On August 12, 2002 Miami-Dade FL Fire Rescue will open its Applicant Filing period to last until August 26, 2002. This is the first step in compiling the hiring eligible list that will be certified in July 2003. I am putting this info out (Unofficial and ON My Own) in attempt to get experienced FF's from all over the country to Miami-Dade. We have had an incredible turnover in recent years and are hiring less and less experience. YOU MUST FILE IN PERSON!! No interest cards to fill out and NO APPS BY MAIL.
    Listed below is some background info about Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

    On Hiring

    The dept. hires off of a written exam (40%) a pass/fail CPAT, and oral interview (60%).
    Extensive background check, drug screen, medical exam. NO Polygraph.
    At this time there are NO policies in place to give preference to certified FF's/EMT's/or Paramedics. Just Veterans 5 points per Florida Law. There will be NO lottery, Florida folks you know what I'm talking about.

    FL State Certifed FFs/EMTs/Paramedics go thru a mini 8 week Fire Academy. You must have the FF cert to go thru the mini academy. All others go thru a 6 month academy. However, this can be reduced if you "challenge" the state FF, EMT or paramedic certifications. EMT/Paramedic is pretty easy to challenge, just a written exam, if you are Natioanl Registry. If you get EMT/Paramedic certified, that cuts 2 months off of your academy time. Fire Academy time is full pay at about a $28,000 salary.

    Dept. Operations

    MDFR utilizes a "single tier" system. We do it all. ALL FF's must be minimum FF/EMT's and almost a majority are FF/Paramedics. There are 3 Operations Div Chiefs, 12 Battalion Chiefs. Suppression units are Engines and 50' Tele-Squrts (Pierce Quantums) for the most part, with a 5 65' aerials and 2 100' platforms, 2 2000gal tankers, 1 Heavy Rescue, 6 MIA Airport trucks, 1 air truck, 1 HAZMAT, 3 Air Rescue Helicopters (We own the Helos and FF's fly em) and a Marine Services Division thrown in. Total of 49 staffed units. Suppression Units are staffed with 4 FF's at all times per our IAFF Local 1403 Contract. 3 more suppression units are scheduled to open in the next year. 12 suppresion units are ALS/Paramedic with more to be converted. 4 units are TRT (Technical Rescue) capable. 1 Engine and 1 Aerial are also HAZMAT.

    Rescues (not Heavy, ambulances) are staffed with 3 at all times. In addition to running med calls, they operate as truck companies at fires. SAR, Forcible Entry, Ventilation. Most rescues carry full compliment of JAWS and some carry K-12 saws. FF's on these units are paramedics and go from cardiac arrests to entrapments to house fires. There are a total of 43 of these units with 2-3 more slated for the next year.

    Salary and Benefits

    Starting Salary upon Fire Academy Graduation is about $43,000 for FF/EMT and
    about $49,000 for FF/Paramedics. This does not include extra pay for college, which is 5% for Fire, EMS, Nursing or Public Admin, 2 or 4 year degrees. There are also other additional incentives.

    Due to the current rate of retirees and contractual staffing requirements, Overtime is plentiful and "always there." Work schedule is 24on/48off, with a kelly day.

    Florida is a "NO TAX" state. No state income tax, property taxes are significantly lower when compared to other major metro areas. State sales tax is only 6%.
    Our retirement is Florida Retirement System (FRS) at 3% annually with NO payroll deduction and a 457 fund (deferedComp). You can retire without penalty at 25 years at any age or at age 55 with at least 6 years served. FRS DOES have a provision for buying back other state, municipal or federal time served.

    Health/Dental Insurance is a PPO, Health Insurance trust, meaning it makes money for us. So when you retire your Health Insurance is FREE. Single FF's Health Insurance is also free, once the county kicks in there share. Lasik eye surgery is covered, braces, etc. We are a "Heart Bill and Disease Presumptive State"


    I personally transferred from New York City in 1998, where I worked as a FED FF on Governors Island in Lower Manhattan. I can honestly say this was a great move for me.
    I and a few other MDFR FF's have put together a support network of sorts for out of town FF's. If you plan to come down and file in August, let me know. We will arrange for a place for you to stay (our homes), get you to Applicant Filing, plan some "ride alongs" if you want and just party. If enough "out of towners" come in, we will try to plan some sort of "social" maybe in conjunction with our South Florida F.O.O.L.S Chapter. (www.foolsinternational.com)

    Any other questions hit me up here or at Jimdmdfr@bellsouth.net (preffered)
    FF Jim Dolan
    MDFR Engine 56"A"
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber
    firedawgstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002



    Being a Junior in college I would have to advise you to get out to a local station and sign up for their observer / ride along program if one is available. Are there any related courses offered at your college, like EMT? That would earn you credits and immerse you into the system, plus maybe get you some testing points.

    As far as being a Military Officer...

    If you have that opportunity GO FOR IT!! I am a USAF Firefighter, but we don't have ANY officers in our career field. We fall under Civil Engineering and the CE Commander acts as the Base Fire Marshall. The DoD has come on line with the Firefighter Certification System...meaning that we meet NFPA line items. A Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force serves as Base Fire Chief and has a Fire Officer IV rating. I currently have Fire Officer II, Fire Instructor II, Fire Inspector I, Airport, Driver Operator Pumper and Driver Operator ARFF.

    The Army has Officer Corps personnel in their fire protection program. The Marines use Warrant Officers, and maybe Commissioned Officers...I am unsure about the Navy or Coast Guard.

    Either way you go it is a noble calling...

    If there is any way that I can help you further, let me know.

    Last edited by firedawgstew; 05-24-2002 at 03:05 AM.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
    firedawgstew's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002


    Hello dkblram ~

    I was referring to dry land ops, sorry for the error. The Amry, Navy, Marines, Air Force & Coast Guard all now attend the DoD Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas. The school was the Air Force Fire Academy (moved from Chanute AFB, IL in 1993).

    As far as the shipboard portion I understand that all assigned to a ship are trained to a degree and that drills are frequent. However I doubt that they all have the formal training that the DoD Academy offers.

    I was at the DoD Emergency Services Conference in New Orleans, LA last year. It was held the same time as Fire Rescue International. I was proud to see the Damage Control Team from the USS Cole win the DoD Heroism Award.

    In my humble opinion the Damage Control Team has no other duty than that of D/C...that is their primary job. The fire teams I do believe are the other sailors, whether they work in the laundry or lauch aircraft from a carrier. Not sure of the system but this seems to be close to target. If anyone can shed some light on it, please do.


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