1. #1
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    Default Broken Record Question, SORRY!

    Hello. I have a few questions reguarding becoming a Firefighter. Please let me know all you can.

    First a little info:
    I am 19 years of age. Turn 20 in May.
    I am in my second year of college. I am a General Studies major right now. Math, English, History...etc.
    I am a road cyclist competing in lots of long distance races.

    I have been wanting to be a Firefighter for sometime now. I just thought you go to the city and they give you training and a job. I was planning on joining the military around my 19th birthday. To my suprise they DQ'd me because I had Asthma as a child. I have never had any syptoms of Asthma past the age of 7. But when they asked me if I have ever had asthma before I said 'Yes', they said no.

    So after a while of just working and going to school, I met up with a person who was a Dallas Firefighter. He told me stories and Hands down - I want to be a firefighter. But to my knowledge there is some major steps to be taken to get my badge.

    Ok here is the main reason for this post. I will be transferring to KU around March of 05 and will be studying anything dealing w/ fire or along those lines.

    1. What are the actual steps to be taken to become a FF? (Do you go to school and apply to the city and they put you through training or what?)
    2. Can you go to a Firefighter program and then eventually become a FF?
    3. What are the regular requirements to be a FF? Age? Fitness? School? Certification?
    4. What is the exact definition of a Volunteer Firefighter?

    In general what steps and things must I do to become a certified FF and be on a dept?

    Please let me know all you can! Thanks!

    And sorry for it being so long!

  2. #2
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    Default

    Welcome FFpyro (1st off I'd ditch that screen name )

    Congratulations on your career choice. Here are some answers for you.

    1) Most large career FD's (FDNY, Boston, Chicago, San Antonio etc..) will provide all of your training at their drill school once you get hired. Getting hired in most cases requires you to take a civil service written test and get put on a hiring list. If selected off this list you will then complete physical fitness, medical and psychological tests and a background check. This is a very competitive process so bring a positive attitude and a lot of patience.
    2) Some departments (usually smaller ones) will want you to be firefighter/EMT certified before you are eligible to be hired. Look for a fire academy and EMT-Basic class near you, start with a local college. In this case you are responsible for paying for your own education in order to get hired, which is a small price to pay in the long run.
    3) Most places require you to be at least 18, sometimes 21 as a minimum hiring age. A clean criminal background/ driving record is a must. You had better be physically fit too. If you don't currently have a good strength training and cardio program, get one going ASAP.
    4) Volunteers perform as firefighters for free or pay-by-call. Standards/Requirements vary widely. This is worth checking into to get experience and learn about the job if your interested.

    Hope this helps. Good Luck! -46

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks 46 for your anwsers. I have a few more that I thought of.

    Is ther some sort of site that tells you the requirements of the dept. you are looking at?

    Is it better to apply for a couple of cities or just stick to one and see what happens?

    How does one go about signing up to be a vol FF?

    And to become a FF you go to the city take a exam and you are put on the list. When/if you are called you take the oral and physical exam and if you pass you get put through the academy and become a probational FF? - Is that correct?

    Again, sorry for all the 'Q's. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Lightbulb

    -Try looking up any FD's you are interested in on the internet. Many have websites that include hiring information. If not you should be able to find contact phone numbers to get whatever info you need.

    -I would apply to any/all FD's you are interested in. Like I said this is a very competitive job market so don't limit yourself. You don't have to stay forever with the first FD that happens to hire you, but it gets your foot in the door.

    -Look for a VFD near where you live or go to school. Check your phonebook or the internet. Call or email them and find out when they hold training, tell them you are interested...they will probably be thrilled to have you.

    -most of the time...Yes.

    Glad to help, feel free to ask any other questions you come up with. That's what we're all here for. -46

  5. #5
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    I have a friend that also is interested in becoming a FF. He said something about NTTA Basic Fire Certification course that is 18 weeks long. 7-5 M-Fri. After you are done you have your basic fire cert and you are at the top of the list to become on a fire dept. Is this true or is he BSing me? Are there actual academys you can go to to be a certified FF and just take the departments test or is it easier to go through the department for everything?

  6. #6
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    Like I said, some departments will require you to already be certified before they can hire you....others will train you after they hire you. I would do some investigating into the FD's you are interested in and see which way they do it. Either way, just having your basic FF cert. does not usually send you to the "top of the list". Some things that may help you get higher on "the list" include being a military Veteran and/or being a Paramedic. -46

  7. #7
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    46-

    Ok I have been looking on the websites of some of the cities surrounding where I will be moving to. There are a good dozen I have looked at.

    So is there a specific time to apply to be a firefighter? Some sites said that they are not hiring or they plan on hiring. Should I just go to the depts and just apply at any time or if/when they post something saying they are planning a recruitment?

    Any other words of advice?

    I think once I move I will put in as many apps as i can to every dept. I meet the age, school and residency for most.

    But until then I bought a book on ff test and training. I am going to work my butt off for this to get any edge I can.

    Let me know!
    Thanks.

  8. #8
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    Glad to see you are doing your homework .
    -You should contact the FD's that interest you and ask them when they will be accepting applications.
    -Be persisant and keep an open mind while you strive to get hired. Find out what exactly your "dream FD" wants from it's candidates(ie..highest test scores, prior experience, specific certifications) and then do everything you can to fit that description.
    -Again...I am glad to see you are doing your homework. -46

  9. #9
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    pyro,

    i went to ku (assuming you mean the university of kansas, in lawrence) and i live and work in kansas city, now. so, if you have any questions specific to this region (i.e., where can you volunteer, what departments require what for hiring, where and where not to work/live, etc) i'd be happy to share my OPINIONS/advice.
    -chingon

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by chingon
    pyro,

    i went to ku (assuming you mean the university of kansas, in lawrence) and i live and work in kansas city, now. so, if you have any questions specific to this region (i.e., where can you volunteer, what departments require what for hiring, where and where not to work/live, etc) i'd be happy to share my OPINIONS/advice.
    -chingon
    Yeah Chingon. I will be located somewhere around Overland park. anything you can give me about requirements for cities, which are hiring and plan to hire and anything else you can give me would be great at this time. Thanks

  11. #11
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    Default kc/lawrence

    pyro,

    there are probably something like 20-30 fire departments in the kc metro, and one in lawrence. of those, only kansas city, mo fire has its own academy. all of the other fire departments require AT LEAST Fire Fighter 1 and EMT-B. A few require more (like a paramedics lisence). Both Fire 1 and 2 and EMT-B course are offered at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. These are semester long course. Many volunteer FD's also offer the fire courses.
    In Johnson county, 4 departments accept volunteers - Shawnee Fire, South Johnson County Consolidated Fire District # 2 (Rural), Johnson Co. Fire Dist. 1, and Johnson County Fire Dist. 3. Of these, I would recomend only Shawnee Fire Department. However, I know very little about the others.
    In Lawrence, the fire department takes applications annually. There is also a small Volly department called Wakarusa Township Fire Department in Lawrence.
    On the Missouri side, I the only volunteer/combination departments I know of are South Platte Fire Protection District and Central Jackson County Fire Department. Other than that, you would need Fire 1 & 2, and EMT-B to apply.
    Those are your options for volunteering. If you have a KC,MO address come April/May of '05 you can apply also apply KCFD and go through our academy. But residency is required to apply.
    I would check out those junior college courses (especially EMT) if you plan to be a firefighter. Competition is silly for spots in urban departments, and few surburban departments have the resources to run basic training programs every time they hire 2-3 new firefighters.
    And if you want to seal the deal, and have a year or two to blow on academics, get your paramedics lisence. You can walk on to just about any suburban FD you want nation-wide.
    any more ?s, feel free to email me at <coolhandstevie@hotmail.com>

  12. #12
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    Default Re: kc/lawrence

    Originally posted by chingon
    pyro,

    there are probably something like 20-30 fire departments in the kc metro, and one in lawrence. of those, only kansas city, mo fire has its own academy. all of the other fire departments require AT LEAST Fire Fighter 1 and EMT-B. A few require more (like a paramedics lisence). Both Fire 1 and 2 and EMT-B course are offered at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. These are semester long course. Many volunteer FD's also offer the fire courses.
    In Johnson county, 4 departments accept volunteers - Shawnee Fire, South Johnson County Consolidated Fire District # 2 (Rural), Johnson Co. Fire Dist. 1, and Johnson County Fire Dist. 3. Of these, I would recomend only Shawnee Fire Department. However, I know very little about the others.
    In Lawrence, the fire department takes applications annually. There is also a small Volly department called Wakarusa Township Fire Department in Lawrence.
    On the Missouri side, I the only volunteer/combination departments I know of are South Platte Fire Protection District and Central Jackson County Fire Department. Other than that, you would need Fire 1 & 2, and EMT-B to apply.
    Those are your options for volunteering. If you have a KC,MO address come April/May of '05 you can apply also apply KCFD and go through our academy. But residency is required to apply.
    I would check out those junior college courses (especially EMT) if you plan to be a firefighter. Competition is silly for spots in urban departments, and few surburban departments have the resources to run basic training programs every time they hire 2-3 new firefighters.
    And if you want to seal the deal, and have a year or two to blow on academics, get your paramedics lisence. You can walk on to just about any suburban FD you want nation-wide.
    any more ?s, feel free to email me at <coolhandstevie@hotmail.com>
    Hey man that is some good info! I sent you an email about some of it. Give me a shout. -FFPyro

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