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Thread: Volunteer.....

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Question Volunteer.....

    Howdy guys! I have a question for you.... I will be turning 18 in 2 months and I would like to be a volunteer firefighter. My problem is that i have a mild heart condition. My question is, will they let me waiver it? THANKS!


  2. #2
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    I would suggest contacting the VFD in your area and talking to the Chief about it.

    Many departments have an opening for everybody. You may not be an interior firefighter but they can always use help somewhere.

    Good luck.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  3. #3
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    What is your "mild heart condition"? I had OHS when I was an infant to close an atrial defect and I have been in the fire service for 16 years including almost 2 as a full time firefighter. I guess it depends on the department, state regs, your physicians advice and how you handle hard labor (not if your a wimp but how your ticker takes it :P)

    Good luck!
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

  4. #4
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    My heart condition is a mild Hypertrophic cardiomiopathy....(sounds long eh?) what do you mean "interior" firefighting?

  5. #5
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    So if I recall that is a degenerative condition causing the heart to enlarge? I would definitely consult your physician prior to engaging in the fire service if for no other reason then piece of mind for yourself.

    By interior firefighting he meant wearing SCBA, dragging hose, searching for victims and such. Many departments have members who just drive the trucks and run the pumps, perform outside support tasks like filling air bottles, and directing traffic. Don't take these jobs to be non-important or not as "cool" as they are extremely important and helpful.
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

  6. #6
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    I heard that being an "exterior" firefighter, is granted to those who did not physically qualify to be an "interior" firefighter? if this is true, would they allow me to do exterior firefighter? (volunteer)

  7. #7
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    It really does depend on the local volunteer service, what training requirements they have, and whether they offer a non-interior firefighting position. I highly recommend you talk to your physician first to find out exactly what your limitation are then to the department you plan on joining to see if they can work with you.

    Good luck!

    Dawn

  8. #8
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    Lightbulb

    Thanks for all your replies, but i have one more question : ) what about being a volunteer EMT? would they let me in??? plz respond back

  9. #9
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    USMC,
    There is no "they". The answer will depend upon each organization and what roles they have available. I recommend you first talk to your personal physician and obtain their guidance on what you can & can't do. If possible, have them put it into writing. Then, speak to your local department. See what roles they have and what qualifications they require. Compare their answer with your limitations (if any) and decide from there. You may have to pass a physical. In that case, having something in writing from your doc will be very helpful.

    As a general rule, EMS places less intense cardiopulmonary demands on you, but requires more lifting (hard on backs). But, what my departments need could be vastly different from yours.

    Good luck.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

  10. #10
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Your problem will be this as I see it...

    There is a "Heart Lung Bill" that covers firefighters (And I believe Volunteers are included). This bill has a presumption clause. Basically it states that if you come on board as a firefighter and have "no cardiac or lung related issues" and you develope them in the course of your career, it is "presumed" you got them on the job. With your condition, it would appear that you could not benefit from this bill and therefore may be somewhat of a liability. Most departments now days will not take on people in "combat roles" (interior or exterior) with conditions such as yours.

    Whether interior or exterior, the stress and work habits required will be extensive. Look at it this way....exterior means you can fight fires on the outside and to me that would clear you to do wildland fires which are often long events that require you to perform under measures often more extreme than interior.

    I applaud you for desiring to volunteer your time, (that is how I started), but suggest you go talk with your local volunteer department. They will need to know the limitations of your conditions and what exactly it is that you have. They will then be able to tell you if they want you to pursue being a "line firefighter" or support personnel. Support personnel are just as important to volunteer departments. They serve as administrative personnel and assist in critical areas such as Board of Directors, Fund Raising, Auxillary, etc. Before they will let you join you will have to undergo (or should) a fire department entrance physical. If that occurs, make sure you make the examining agency aware of your condition.

    Good luck
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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