1. #1
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    Talking Big City Fire Departments?

    Hey, hows it going? I am station in the Marines in South Carolina and also doing volunteer firefighting, I am hoping when I get out in about a year and a half to land a job working for a city department, I am hoping to get on at either Houston,or Chicago... I am from Indiana and the only big city I think we have in Indianapolis? I know Chicago, oh and Houston, TX also might be a stretch, but my dad always said nothing can stop your dreams, hopefully he was right. Actually Houston is my number one pick, I would love to work for the Houston Fire Department. My best friend knows a couple of them, and he is from there so we hope to get on together. Is that too much, or should I not bother trying for a big city department? I know I can make it, but how often do they hire? Also what all can I do to prepare?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Koontzy; 03-12-2004 at 08:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    You may consider visiting the places you hope to be employed. If you can coordinate with your Houston buddies, maybe they can introduce you around, let you check out the places & meet people in high places (ie: white shirts with bugles). How about training you have so far or training that might be available to you? I would say in a year & a half, you might be able to get level 1 & 2 done, depending on SC programs. What do you have for EMS training? Care to be a paramedic? A FF/Paramedic with military history will be great for the prospective employer. EMT Basic is probably your first order of business, though.
    ~Kevin
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  3. #3
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    Try looking up the web sites.

    Here is Houston for you:

    Houston FD

    FTM-PTB

  4. #4
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    Fellow Devildog,

    Get your EMT, minimum. Almost every FD will require it just to apply. Your unit may be able to hook you up, EMT is part of your MOS, and the Base Hospital may put on a class-talk to your training NCO. If you like EMT, get your paramedic-make sure they are National Registry, that way you can go anywhere.

    Keep your driving record clean-no 100mph drives home and back when you're on a 96. The background check will find EVERYTHING.

    All your certs from DoD meet the IFSAC standard. Look up IFSAC and proboard.com to see which states you have reciprocity with. That means there are about 35 states that you can work in without going to their academy-although the big cities usually will send you anyway, so you learn it their way.

    Even though you want to go to a big city, don't limit yourself-there's a budget crunch, and it may be easier to hire into a growing suburban dept to get some experience. You may even stay there. Also consider DoD departments and airports-there is a much smaller field of applicants with ARFF experience.

    Lastly, Marine crash crew and civilian fire depts are worlds apart. Be ready for the culture shock-recliners, more incidents(especially medicals), and a lot less field day!

    Good luck.

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    If you have military experience and a good record you will almost be a shoo in for the City of Houston. You can apply and go through their recruit class which takes about a year or you can attend an IFSAC approved recruit class at any college or area offering one and get into their fast track class which lasts about 6 weeks. They have a lot of people retiring and they can't fill the positions fast enough.

  6. #6
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    Is that too much, or should I not bother trying for a big city department?
    That's the first step in never making it in... Don't let people (or yourself) talk you out of it. Stick to your dads advise. At times it can be hard to get into any Dept, let alone a large one. You just have to keep trying etc. It took me a while to get into the SAFD, and I worked at smaller Dept's until the day came. Find out all you can about the Dept you are interested in. Make sure you know the minimum requirements, and meet them. Good luck.
    http://www.sanantoniofire.org

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  7. #7
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    Default city fire

    don't let it get you down. i thought i'd never make it onto a "big city" fire department, but after a couple of years applying, working in the suburbs, and going to school, even i got the nod.
    remember, a big city has a lot more spots to fill each year than a smaller one. now is a really bad time financially for all big cities in the US, and most small ones two. but they eventually have to hire somebody, and if you work at it and get lucky, it maybe just might be you.
    be advised though, you'll probably have to be patient. i read somewhere it takes and average of 3-5 yrs for most firefighters to get a job. applying and testing usually take 6 months, waiting list last between 1 and 5 yrs. a lot of places.
    also, as has been noted, having a paramedics license narrows the competition significantly. and Houston fire needs paramedic certified firefighters, like everywhere else, so think about it. after I got my medic license, i actually received un-solicited notices from fire departments in my area that they were hiring. think about that for a minute...in one of the absolute most competitive job fields there is, they solicit emt-p's to apply.
    finally, keep your options open. apply everywhere you wouldn't mind working for the next few years, and take the first one you get, then keep applying...

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    OOh-Rah devil pup!!!!

    Just got good news from Dallas TX myself. Just test man, you'll never get hired anywhere until you test. Anywhere you want man. Gunny was right, whenever you're swooping keep the speed down and stay clean. I have some marine buddies on Charlotte, Henrico County, Houston and St. Louis. We all kinda just picked the places where we all lived and when we got closer to our EAS, we started paying a little more attention to what each city had to offer. There is more to a city than just a good time partying. If your going to pick the big boys, you gotta know you want it. I'm currently on a small dept., not bad just not it. Everyone has there A-list, mine was Dallas. Don't be afraid to talk to people wherever you want to test, there pretty receptive....until you're a probie. I look forward to it though, can't be worse than boot...right???? I don't know about the wing, but it was pretty stressful in the grunts.

    Happy hunting and remember....Semper Gumby

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    thanks for all the insights guys, I have been thinking and I might try to get a department close to home, like bloomington or Indianapolis.

  10. #10
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    Thumbs up Expand your Horizons...............

    My organization has:
    96 Engines
    24 Ladders
    13 Heavy Rescues
    60 EMS units
    8 Battalions
    2,500 people (700 Career and 1800 Vol.)
    operating out of 48 stations
    830,000 Population
    304,000 Responses last year
    And.............. We are not a big city.

    Be sure to include "Suburban" Counties in your job search. I am in Prince Georges County, Maryland, which is bigger than Ft. Worth, San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburg, Memphis, and BOTH Kansas Citys put together, as well as a population bigger than 6 States. Montgomery and Baltimore Counties in Md and Fairfax County Va. also fit in this category along with us. Counties are growing, central cities are declining. Go where the future is. Stay Safe....
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  11. #11
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    hey..

    I live in Bloomington and and am just finishing my volunteer basic class with Perry Clear Creek (one of the mixed departments on the fringe of the city.) The rumor is that Bloomington City is going to have a recruit class coming up - a few of the guys in my basic class and I are thinking about signing up, if you want I can pass along what info I have. Indianapolis fire just had a class at the beginning of the year.

    If you ever make it bloomington let me know.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by slyguy
    hey..

    I live in Bloomington and and am just finishing my volunteer basic class with Perry Clear Creek (one of the mixed departments on the fringe of the city.) The rumor is that Bloomington City is going to have a recruit class coming up - a few of the guys in my basic class and I are thinking about signing up, if you want I can pass along what info I have. Indianapolis fire just had a class at the beginning of the year.

    If you ever make it bloomington let me know.
    Hey man send me a line.... I am from Bloomington, I went to Bloomington North High School. heck I might know you or we might know someone ) I know where Perry Creek is.I dont get out of the Marines for a year and 4 months, but hopefully we can meet next time I come to Indiana on leave. send me a email though with the info.
    my email is Koontzy911@excite.com

    thanks

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    Good luck with your dreams but remember just one thing if you would. Don't just look at testing at the FD you want to work for. Until you find out when and were. Test at as mant FD's as possible. This will give you some experience in the testing. You will become more relaxed when the big day comes for the LARGE CITY. Physical test to most are easy, the chiefs interview is were most fall like a tree. The more you do the easier it seems to be.

    Just my thoughts

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