1. #1
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    Default Going from volly to career

    I have been a vol. fireman now for over 6 years. Before I became one, I always wanted to be a cop. Now, I have no interest in that and the only career I'm interested in is being a paid fireman. I hear there are hundreds of people in my area who take the tests and very few positions. I have felt discouraged because I know there are plenty of guys better than me (I know I shouldn't think that way). And on top of that, I'm constantly hearing how much minorites are favored (I'm a white male). I have also heard that those in charge of hiring in the paid dept's don't like volunteer applicants, and I forget why. Can anyone tell me if they think that's true and why they don't? Thanks.

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    Lightbulb

    It's not true...just another wedge that some in the fire service try to drive between career and volunteers!
    ‎"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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    Amen Cap! I've found that when we actually talk to each other, career and volunteer aren't so different after all.

    The key is to not let crap you see on internet forums and rumors from malcontents on both sides cloud your judgement.

    Jeff, my only advice is to apply at as many departments that you can, you're bound to be in the right spot on somebody's list sooner or later.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Lightbulb Please read...

    When it comes to going full-time or paid, being
    a volunteer is nice. Having all of the certs. in
    the world and numerous letters of rec. are also
    neat. BELIEVE ME- Trying to get on a FD is sometimes
    like trying out for professional sports or for a
    movie role- awesome competetion! What do you offer?
    Team player? Want to give back to the community?
    Those answers are old and have been cloned! But
    what makes it happen is the ORAL BOARD! What is
    behind you is important, but how are you going to
    deliver it?

    Capt. Bob says-

    "What most candidates do if they don't place high
    enough on the oral is go back and try to pack on
    more credentials. Oh, I have to finish my degree
    or get through that academy. They do little to
    nothing in gaining the skills for the oral board
    which is usually 100% of the score. If you don't
    do anything to improve your oral board skills
    nothing is going to change, you will never, ever
    see that badge. The oral board is for all the
    marbles. This is where the rubber meets the road."

    Sure, you can "wing it." Or say- "I got hired as
    a Volunteer, cant be much different, right?"
    Think again. Very offen I keep telling folks in
    here, get a whole lot more information at-
    www.eatstress.com
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-26-2004 at 10:54 PM.

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    Jeff16

    How will you ever know about the testing until you try it. Don't let other people dictate your career direction. Those people that think that way like to blame everyone but themselves for not getting hired. There are plenty of career firefighters out there, myself included, who took numerous tests before getting hired. You will find that the more tests and interviews you go to, the easier they get. Start searching the net, making calls, and anything else you can do to find out who is testing. You can't get hired til you take the test.

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    I went from volunteer to career and found there are always going to be some firefighters who will be against vollies. Ususally, I found these individuals had never been vollies themselves and in most cases got on the job with little or no prior training or fire related experience. This has me thinking that it is an insecurity issue most of the time. I had better IC training and experience when I came on than some of the officers.

    My vollie chief gave me some very good advice when I left. He said " you are an excellent firefighter and instructor. You have alot of training and experience under your belt. Now you will have to close your mouth and open your ears. Not all departments do things the same way and you may see some things you disagree with. Don't push your knowledge on them, wait for the opportunity to share it when they will listen." I went from my vollie department to an oilfield firefighting company and then on to a large city department and have been very successful.

    We as vollies and ex-vollies have a lot to share but you have to remember that the fire department is an organization rich in tradition. I have seen a few guys that have come on with some great experience to share but due to their agressive approach they are not listened to and are labeled as loud mouth trouble makers. When trying to share info you have to act as though you are trying to feed liver and brussel sprouts to a child. They don't like it but it is good for them if you can geet them to eat it.
    Sometimes, in order to make an operation idiot proof, you must remove the idiot!

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    My advice is to take as many tests as you possibly can. This will increase your odds and more important you will gain experience in the process.

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    I hear there are hundreds of people in my area who take the tests and very few positions....

    I have felt discouraged because I know there are plenty of guys better than me...

    I'm constantly hearing how much minorites are favored (I'm a white male)...

    I have also heard that those in charge of hiring in the paid dept's don't like volunteer applicants...
    Sounds to me like you're talking yourself right out of the running. I suggest a severe attitude adjustment and a unstoppable will to get the job you want. Even if all the things you think are true, not one of them excludes you.

    When I took the test, there were 52,000 applicants for about 6,000 jobs. Guess what, I passed.

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    Thumbs up I'm with Gonzo....................

    Capt. Gonzo said in in as few words as possible, and he's right. I have "Been There, Done That" and all the "rumors" just ain't right. My advice? Go for it. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

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    There's been a lot of good advice passed on already. My 2 cents:

    - All of the above AND work on your physical conditioning NOW. By the time you get the call to do an agility test it will be too late.

    I've been on both sides of the fence and wouldn't do it any differently today if I had to do it over.
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

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    You had better get your job apps in now or everyone reading the posts here will be mad at you for not trying. Yes you can come from being a volunteer to a carrear department. I did it an look what I have accomplished (darn proud to. Everyday I come to work at my department I am dancing on pins and needles I am so happy to be here. All that HARD HARD work I did with the volly department paid off and paid off big. You can do it to.

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    Yeah, a lot of folks told me I was wasting my time trying to get into a "big city dept" too... they said there were just too many applicants etc etc... and it did take me a few years of trying. But, I never quit, and I got it.... nuff said?
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

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    We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

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    Default LOOK AT THIS...

    If you still feel discouraged, please click
    on this link below for some motivation...

    http://www.firecareers.com/testimonials.cfm

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    Default thanks

    Thanks to you all for the inspiration and good advice. I realize now if I never become one, it's nobody's fault but mine. I think right now what's important is improving my physical condition (as Ullrich said) and taking lots of classes when they come up since I don't feel as good a fireman as the others. Then, I will be ready to put in loads of applications, and get out and talk to people, etc. Thank you all again.

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    I'm not familiar with the laws of WV, but if the training criteria are different for vollies than from paid departments, get the full-time training. In Ohio, vollies are required by law to have 36 hours of "rookie school." The full-timers get 240 hours. Those candidates for a full-time slot who don't make their potential new boss spend a thousand bucks on them right off the bat do have a leg up. But other than that, as others have said, most people underestimate the interview portion of the hiring process, and that's where most of the decision is made. Just about everyone who gets that far has plenty of qualifications and has done well on the written and physical agility tests. If you go into the interview looking or acting like a putz, and the guy right after you looks and acts crisp and sharp, guess who they're going to like better?

    But think positive - they're gonna hire someone - might as well be you!

    Good luck!
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176

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    My station has 6 Vols that were just hired about 4 months ago. They are really great guys, but I had to tell them to leave the constant war stories at home. Seems every time you talk about something there’s that “Oh That’s Just Like” coming from the Vol.

    I like war stories, but at times it’s like their trying to be accepted to quick. My only suggestion is this, when you get hired into a paid department, “Show them” what you know. Don’t constantly try to sell yourself by comparing war stories trying to out due the other.

    One more thing, when you have a suggestion about the way the paid dept does things, like “Why do you pull hose that way”, and you have a better way of doing it, offer it in a constructive way, and not in a way that people might take wrong, like trying to show them up. No department likes people coming in telling them there idiots. I hold the same outlook for paid FF's going to volunteer.

    In the end, we are all the same “Fire Fighters” and the term “Professional” which seems to be laid upon the paid Fire Fighter really is for all Fire fighters either paid or volunteer, it’s just how you represent yourself and your department on calls and out in the public helping out that determines if you’re “Professional” about it.

    I wish you the best of luck and the greatest success.

    Be Safe and Be Proud
    Last edited by captjab; 02-10-2004 at 05:20 PM.

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    I have seen similar experiences captjab. I came from a volunteer dept and had no trouble adapting to the career field as did many others, however, several of my peers did. Why? because they came into the job with the attitude that they already knew everything. This is a great profession and you learn something new every day. I have been a firefighter for 20 years and I still find that to be true. As a friend once said " I am a student of life, and I never plan to graduate"
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    Very good point there Smoke. I like the last part very much.

    Well said

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    In my department, being a volunteer first is a plus when it comes to a paid job. Five of our last eight hires came from the volunteer ranks. The fact that you have fire service experience should only work in your favor.

    Dave

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    We have a very good relation with the Vols in the county. They rely on us as much as we rely on them.

    It does my heart good to see a volunteer come into the department so excited being called a “Paid Firefighter”.

    I like to see the noobs come into the biz with desire, a willingness to learn, and a commitment to the profession. I believe if you give anyone a since of belonging, they will never leave.

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