1. #1
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    Default New here.. just a few questions..

    Hey guys.. I am an 18 year old college student from the SF Bay Area and I'm interested in becoming a fire fighter.

    I just signed up for EMT classes at a local community college. .

    Here are my questions:

    1. What should I do after I become a certified EMT? Start applying to different departments?
    2. Would obtaining an AA degree in Fire Technology make much of a difference in getting hired?
    3. What exactly does a fire figtherI/II certificate mean? Does it mean they've been through an acadamy?
    4. if you don't make it passed the testing/oral boards, can you try again in the same department later, or must you move on?
    5. Should I attend an acadamy on my own now?

    Sorry about all the questions... Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
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    Welcome Doberman,

    I am from a different state so some things may be a little different here than out west.

    If you really want to be a firefighter, you must be prepared and committed to a long process. It is not easy and there is huge competition for FF positions so it may take a couple of attempts and some time. Your commitment will be tested.

    You've started on the right foot--getting your EMT credentials, they are really important since this seems to be where the fire service is headed.--here's what else you should do--

    1. Join a volunteer FD to get experience and see if this is really what you want. You can also get started on your training here if that is the route to go.
    2. Get in shape and stay in shape--if you need to lose wieght, start today. Same thing with exercise, get started today on your cardio and strength.
    3. Invest in CaptBob's plan at www.eatstress.com. He will show you the way to get ready. Without becoming a commercial, I was amazed how on target his material was. I even went to an interview (oral board) and every questions were right out of the book. The investment is worth it.
    4. Stay out of trouble-no tickets, DUI's , speeding, beating your girlfriend and any other pitfalls you might run up against. You're lucky, you're young so you can really watch your background easily.

    Obtaining the AA degree would be ok, but EMT credentials are more effective, the higher the certification the better. FFI and FFII are certifications that you get when you get enough training. Larger departments will put you through thier academy so that may help but may not be neccesary. Again, the EMT certs work well here. Whether you attend an acedemy yourself is convienience--if you can do it great, but I would do the volunteer thing first so that you can get the experience along with the training.

    Good Luck!
    "When you are safe at home, you wish you were having an adventure-when you're having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home"

    --Thornton Wilder

  3. #3
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    kghemtp's Avatar
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    Jatkins offered you great tips there. One of the things you will probably find is an asset is some kind of volunteer/call department membership. You're gonna have to start somewhere, and as it was said before, that's where you'll experience things & decide if it's really for you. I would be cautious about pursuing fire academies on your own without a FD affiliation, as that can be SO pricy for the individual. Even many small volunteer agencies are sending their people to classes & academies because we're all fighting the same fire whether working in Boston or the back woods of Maine. Liability is just way too high now for municipalities to overlook, so we get training out of it! Also as Jatkins said, expecting EMS as a major part of your fire life is probably the most realistic thing you can do. We don't all like EMS, but most departments are doing first response to med calls at the very least, so it's something we need to be proficient in as much as throwing ladders & rolling hose. Best of luck in your endeavors, and keep us posted with where ya go!!
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the answers guys..

    So right now I'm going to be taking EMT classes at night.

    Should I also take fire science classes or just say the hell with that?

    Also, I think attending an acadamy before getting hired would be fun, and maybe good for some prior experience. should I stay away from this too or what?

  5. #5
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    Don't say to hell with the fire science classes. Take all the training you can get. The fire service is very competitive. The more you have on your resume, the better. Most fire departments don't actually require a college degree to get hired. However, you might decide later on in your career that you want to go on and become a Fire Investigator or Fire Marshall where you might need a college degree. Attending an academy before getting hired is up to you. There are pro's and con's to it. The pro's are that you'll get some good training and it might increase your chances of getting hired in certain departments. The con's are the price, the time commitment and the fact that some departments might not recognize the academy that you went to. They might end up sending you to their own academy anyway. FDNY is a good example. FDNY runs their own fire academy. I went to the NYS fire academy. If I wanted to transfer to FDNY, I'd have to go through their academy even though I already went through the NYS academy. I hope that helps you out a little. Don't get discouraged if things don't work out right away. It took me 5 or 6 years to finally land a professional job. Just keep at it. Good luck.

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    Talking

    Try to get your FFI certification ASAP. Many departments are looking for candidates that already have FFI certs. The requirements for FFI/II come from NFPA 1001. This standard will tell you what the actual requirements are for earning the certification. Typically a junior college or fire academy teaches the course. Make sure you can earn an IFSAC or ProBoard certificate when you're finished. Those are nationally recognized. Most entry level positions want FFI, not an AA degree to start. Hope this helps!

  7. #7
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    Just a thought here, but after getting your EMT basic you might want to consider going for either your intermediate or Paramedic. It's a big commitment time wise but medic especially will pay off big time. If you're a medic and have a clean record you can pretty much write your own ticket. Most departments nowadays are really looking for medics. Oh yeah, also be prepared to move if necessary.
    That's what I did when I was looking for a job. I ended up moving about an hour away from where I'm from but I'm loving life, doing what I love.

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