1. #1
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    Default Intrested in becoming a FF

    My name is Paul and as you can tell this is my first post here. Currently I am a student in college and am also enrolled to begin fire school. I have wanted to become a firefighter for a while now but I am a little worried about the stress.
    What if I cant handle the stress of a highly traumatic call. I know that you never get cold to seeing what you see but I am wondering if you can get used to it.
    I really want to do this job but I am scared that it might freak me out. Where any of you scared at the start?

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    Hi paul,
    I joined my local volunteer fire dept 8 years ago.I had a friend who joined at the same time.We were given gear and pagers and were considered firefighters in training.The chief told us to start coming to calls and so 3 days later the pager went off and my buddy and I responded. Now this is not the type call you get every day thank god. We had 2 young teenagers in a pontiac grandam that had lost control and hit a concrete pillar under a highrise.We helped as much as we could with the little knowledge that we had.But I watched as the fire dept worked to cut them out as hard and as fast as they could.I saw great team work and great focus on trying to save a life as I have ever seen.I knew right then that this was something I wanted to do.My buddy quit after only a few weeks.He knew that it was not for him.I have seen calls where sometimes emergency workers have to step back because of what has happened but they continue to serve when they are able to deal with the crisis whatever that may be. I can get in there on a really bad call and focus on what we have to do to save life or property. Do somethings bother me? Yes, but it usually does after everything is over and I get back home with my family.I can close my eyes right now and see that first call as if it were right in front of me.You never forget somethings. But they make you a better firefighter and you learn to deal with things and you have to realize that you are there to do all you can but you did not cause the misfortune and sometimes even the best that a department can give is not enough. We do not deal the cards, we just play the hand we are delt to the best of our ability. Some advice , trian hard , train yourself to stay focused and think under extreme circumstances and always work as a team with your fellow firefighters ,a well organized team can deal with anything that comes at them. Good luck and welcome to the world of firefighting.
    tbanks1401
    SMVFD NC

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    Hi Paul,

    I my self had the same though that you are having now. The only advice I can give you echos what tbanks14 said "train yourself to be focused." I can remember the very first car fire that I went on. It was toned as car fire westbound on the highway with person on fire. I arrived on the first engine and the patient was still on fire. I exited on the opposite side of the truck and was told to but the car fire out, since we were running an ALS engine that day and I was the only basic on the truck. I figured that by getting out on the opposite side I wouldn't be able to smell he but I could and it was horrible. Eventually the fire went out and the patient went via medflight (our helicopter service) to a burn hospital for treatment. Now everyone came up to me and asked if I was ok and I though I was. But months later I was working for a private ambulance company and went into a apartment for a call and the smell reminded me of that day. I ended up walking back outside for a minute and then we back inside to continue the call. Since then nothing has ever reminded me of that smell.

    The only thing you can do is train to try and deal with it before it happens and then when it does you will be better prepared. Now something like this may nevey happen to you just can't tell. I just depend on the department you are on if you get call like that.
    Last edited by CorreeyW; 06-20-2005 at 12:09 PM.
    -Corey
    Moron A.B.
    Spain


    -------------------------------------------------------------
    "I think it takes a particular coward to criticize procedures that you don't understand particularly when they apply to places that you don't have the bravery to go." FDNY Battalion Chief John Sullivan at the Black Sunday Fire trial

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    Hi Paul-

    What state do you live in? I ask this because the standards to
    join or test are different everywhere.

    Also, I would recommend going down to your local FD and talk
    to some professionals and ask them about their careers path
    and recommendations.

    A lot of yout FAQs could be answered here-

    www.firecareers.com
    www.eatstress.com
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 06-20-2005 at 09:17 PM.

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    Just my 2 cents: If it is really bothering you that you may not be able to handle seeing that stuff, maybe you should reconsider. Is there somewhere you can volunteer to kind of give you the idea of the type of stuff seen by FFs and the grieving families, etc??

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    Thanks for all your help. Its not really that bothering to me to think about it because I speak with my aunt who is a firefighter about stuff like that and I believe that I will get professional about it and be able to put it in the back of my mind. I was mainly just curious of what your thoughts were when you saw something bad for the first time.
    But I know that I will be able to get through anything that comes at me with the help of my family (especially my aunt) and fellow workers as well as my faith.

    CALFFBOU I live in Houston, TX and am planning to work there as well(this is where my aunt works). I looked at those links that you provided in fact I bookmarked both of them because I know that they will both come in handy in the future. I was wondering about the oral interview. I played baskeball for a year and a half in college should I bring this up or would it not really matter?

    Thanks to all for your help.

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    Paul-

    I really cannot remember the first time I saw something really bad, but I was always being told that if something bothers you, you should talk to someone about it and not hold it in. There should always a critical incident stress management team available or a senior firefighter.

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    Originally posted by paulokasey


    CALFFBOU I live in Houston, TX and am planning to work there as well(this is where my aunt works). I looked at those links that you provided in fact I bookmarked both of them because I know that they will both come in handy in the future. I was wondering about the oral interview. I played baskeball for a year and a half in college should I bring this up or would it not really matter?
    Definately! Capt. Bob says- "Signature storys are the key."
    Use what ever life experiences you may have into future oral
    boards.

    I have been interviewed alot of times, but do not claim to be
    an expert. If you vitis Capt. Bob's website, www.eatstrees.com
    you will find loads of oral board stuff.

    Plus, these forums has a section dedicated to testing and the
    hiring process. Just go to the list and scroll down in the
    forums seciton. Here it is-
    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/for...s=&forumid=366

    Hope that helps.

    -Bou
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 06-21-2005 at 03:07 AM.

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    Paul,

    I work as a fire fighter in Austin.


    I'm not aware of anyone leaving the job because they couldn't cope with trauma calls after they hit the street.

    Everyone has bad calls that stick with them to some degree. Odds are you'll do OK with this.

    Do some ride outs at your local fire house. Get to know some of the Houston Guys. They can fill you in on the hiring process that is area specific to Houston.

    It you're preparing to get your EMT training, you can do some time in the ER. That will get you close to some trauma. You can get a feel for how you'll do with it.

    Good Luck

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    Yeah I am getting my EMT-B starting next month. With that we are required to go view the ER at the busiest hospital in Houston for 10 hours at the end of our training. That should give me a big taste of whats to come.Thanks again to everyone.

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    Just a side note, I too have some old EMS calls that over
    ten years old and still bother me sometimes. Just something
    I know I have to deal with.

    I know I choose this profession and that just the way it is.
    I surround myself with good friends and travel when I can.

    Plus there is always some form of counciling if you might
    need it. Having a spouce is good too.

    Its all good, please dont let the small stuff stray you
    from a great career.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 06-21-2005 at 01:47 PM.

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    Just remember Paulokasey that you don't have to go through anything alone. Every guy that stands shoulder to shoulder with you has or is going through what you have.

    as an example,

    I remember my first fatal MVA, sicne it was only in March. I have been on the FD for 9 months and through academy and had my first structure. But hadn't seen death yet. This guy managed to flip his car into a tree off the ground when we got there. He was pronounced when we got there and had to wait for about 2 hours for the medical examiner and state police to wrap up before extricating him. One of the veteran guys caught me 'staring' at the pt in the car. He put his arm around me and asked me if I was ok. I said, "yeah, I'm just kinda glad he died fast rather than suffer". That comforted me a lot and I'm glad he did that for me, it made me feel like hey, as tough as we all seem they care.
    But only 3 weeks ago we had another double fatal MVA, an older couple. This time, it was a lot easier to handle even though this wreck was worse. Experience and time is the only thing that helps you get through these times, that and your brothers/sisters.

    ~Jeff
    Piscataway Fire Dist #2
    Possumtown V.F.C.

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    Originally posted by FFTide
    Just remember Paulokasey that you don't have to go through anything alone. Every guy that stands shoulder to shoulder with you has or is going through what you have.


    ~Jeff
    Wow, a great statement. Wish I wrote that.

    -Bou

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    Originally posted by CALFFBOU


    Wow, a great statement. Wish I wrote that.

    -Bou
    Thanks Bou
    Piscataway Fire Dist #2
    Possumtown V.F.C.

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    FFTide and CALFFBOU thank you both for your thoughts. I think they both will help. Im just ready to get rolling.

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