1. #1
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    Question Probie thinking about changing dept.

    I'm a probie about half way thru my first year. First of all let me just say I love my job and I have no major issues with my FD. The problem I'm having is my dept is a kind of old school dept that doesn't train very much. We don't run a lot of calls, and I'm starting to go stir crazy. We have a lot of older guys that aren't very interested in training or working out. The real problem is I don't forsee much of change in the future. A neighboring dept is a little more active in training and run some more calls. (EMS, not fire ) I pretty sure I could get a job with the "other" dept if I tried. I'm not sure if this is normal to start seeing the greener grass on the other side, or if I really should consider trying to get hired with another department.
    So any things I should think about and consider before I go and do anything rash?
    I'm really kinda lost.
    Last edited by imprezive; 07-04-2005 at 10:59 AM.

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    a couple of questions:
    1) is this a paid or volunteer department?
    2) if volunteer, does your physical location have any weight on what department you can belong to? ie, do you need to be within 7 minutes of the firehouse?
    3) if paid, can you afford not to get hired?

    assuming you are talking about a volunteer department, and you don't need to be within a certain distance to the firehouse, I would leave immediately. You are probably going to have to start from scratch at the new department. the same probationary period. you will have to learn their procedures. you will need to learn how they do things.

    if you think the grass is greener on the other side, then go for it. quit your current dept, join the new one. if you think this situation isn't going to get better, then quit now and start over.

    I know I started over when I moved into the next town over, and I've never been happier.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    a couple of questions:
    1) is this a paid or volunteer department?
    2) if volunteer, does your physical location have any weight on what department you can belong to? ie, do you need to be within 7 minutes of the firehouse?
    3) if paid, can you afford not to get hired?
    1)Paid
    2)Location is irrelevant
    3)No, but I could apply without getting fired or quiting, I may tick a few people off, but that is about it.

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    I completed 11 months of my probabtionary year at my first career department.

    I was absolutely miserable there, for a a few reasons and saw a better opportunity. I went from a department that ran 7,000 calls a year in a city of 45,000 and did 1 fire training evolution (yes one single, lonely training evolution in an entire year) but monthly EMS education that was p!ss poor to say the least.

    I went to a department that ran 1,400 calls year in a town of 16,000. We trained at least monthly but could basically train with equipment and supplies whenever we wanted to, but it wasn't a scheduled training period. I went a bit stir crazy some days, but I was infinitely happier.

    Much different attitude towards the job. I made $8,000 less per year but was infinitely happier.

    Just be very careful about how you go about doing things.
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    I am currently with my second department. I spent 4 years with my first and have spent about 5 month with my new department so far and could not be happier. My old department was kind of like the one you are with now. If I were you I would finish out your first year and move on. No matter what you do even for your benefit you will **** some people off when you leave. Those people will get over it, they most likely are just jelouse anyways. Do what benifits you, not them its your career.

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    Finish out the year! I would document the reasons you need to leave from your department.
    As an officer who routinely evaulates candidates for hire, I want to know why a person may have seperated from their former department. The reason you cited is valid but be careful some hiring boards will be leary of hiring a firefighter that has moved from department to department often.

    Make sure that your references from the prior department can confirm that you will make a great addition to the department you are making application. In other words make sure that your back is covered.

    We have had 7 firefighters leave our new small combination department to full time career departments. The reason is call volume, benefits and pay. We hold no ill will toward them. We realize that this department will be a stepping stone for the near future. We also are proud to launch the careers of seven of our volunteers. It's called passing on the craft!
    Stay Safe and Keep Low, jack.

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    Finishing out the year might be tricky.......
    Cuase most depts around here hire around october, and I started in January, I'm gonna talk with a few FFs from that "other" dept and get their input.

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    Must be nice to be able to choose which department you will work for. Around here there are those pesky tests and eligibility lists to deal with.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    I would apply and go throught the process, but realize that your current department might not be too happy about this decision but you have to do what is right for you and no one else! I hope your current department has the smarts to realize that something is wrong if the junior member new hires want to leave not long after being hired.

    Of course after 23 years I know that the training I received from my career department (UFA Unified Fire Authority),(www.saltlakefiredistrict.org) has kept me alive long enough to make 23 years plus. I would rather practice something, pull hose, throw ladders, RIT training than sit in a lazy boy getting fat! The benefit is on the fireground we act as we have trained, aggressive interior firefighting that knows the difference of property conservation versus rescue!

    In this other department (EMFD) (www.emfire.org) I am the training officer and it scares me to death to think when I am at my full time career department my firefighters are here to protect this community. I pray that the training (FF-1-2 Wildland FF-1 Red Card - monthly 4 hour trainings) will keep them safe. I have confidence in their ability, but alway worry about their safety! No one ever wants to fill out the LODD paperwork!

    Good luck in finding the right place for your career, I would say that if you were hired once you are a great candidate! Stay Safe and Keep Low, jack.

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    Originally posted by MIKEYLIKESIT
    Must be nice to be able to choose which department you will work for. Around here there are those pesky tests and eligibility lists to deal with.
    Trust me, I've passed plenty of tests and been on lists, but now that I'm a paramedic things are a little easier.


    I think I might tick off the chief (he is on his way out anyways), but I pretty sure everyone else will understand. It also might be possible to keep into under wraps untill it is a done deal. In my area most of the young guys that really want to work and train either end up in Orlando or end up @ the "other" dept. They are the highest paid in the county, and while it is up to debate as to who is the "best". they are definetly the most disciplined in the county.
    Last edited by imprezive; 07-04-2005 at 08:15 PM.

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    On one hand, I think you kind of owe your first fire department some time since they spent the money getting you equipped and sending you through the fire academy. On the other hand, why go through a full year of proabation just to transfer afterwards and another year of probation at another fire department. You'd be better off transfering now. But that's a decision only you can make. Another important issue is the pay and benefits. You need to look at the other fire department's contract and see how it compares.

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    Originally posted by ironmint
    On one hand, I think you kind of owe your first fire department some time since they spent the money getting you equipped and sending you through the fire academy. On the other hand, why go through a full year of proabation just to transfer afterwards and another year of probation at another fire department. You'd be better off transfering now. But that's a decision only you can make. Another important issue is the pay and benefits. You need to look at the other fire department's contract and see how it compares.
    The "other" dept has superior pay and benefits, but that is not a major factor for me.
    BTW I put myself through minimum standards, EMT, and Paramedic, and they still haven't even given me a freaking badge yet.

    One issue I just thought of is, if my current dept finds out while I'm still on probation they could fire me.

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    Just make sure there aren't any hidden gotchas before you apply and potentially start the bridge to burning.

    Just as an example, here in Alabama if you're hired as a rookie Police Officer or Firefighter and sent through the appropriate academy you've got what amounts to a two year commitment to the agency that sent you through training. You can leave at any time, but if another agency hires you as a firefighter or officer, they have to reimburse the first agency for the cost of your training. That can get quite expensive.

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    Hey pal. I would do what you need to do for you when you need to do it for you. I wouldn't worry about the people that are going to be ****ed. Truth be told, they are probably just jealous.

    I worked for a small, single station department for 3 1/2 years. We basically played fireman - no in house training, not many runs, very little money for paid daytime coverage only. I left there to go to a city with 3 stations with 24 hour shifts and better pay. I only stayed there for 8 months before going to Memphis. After 10 years here, I am a company officer on one of the busiest companies in the city. Much better pay.

    In every step, people were ****ed that I was leaving. Not because it was me, but because "we hired you" or "we trained you" or "you won't be happy there". Come to find out, most of the people that were upset had applied in the same places, some of them many times and never got hired. Haters!!

    Make a list of what a department has to have or offer to make you happy. Then go on a quest to find the one that meets the most of your wants.

    You get paid for work you have already done, not work you will do in the future.
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    Thanks guys and keep em' coming.
    I definetly going to talk to a few of the guys from the "other" dept, and our union president to see if I would have any protection at all as a probie. He will understand my position and his brother and father work for the "other" dept, so he will probably have some good insights.

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    I'm gonna try to talk w/ the assitant cheif of the "other" dept on friday.

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    Imprezive,
    I agree whole heartedly with Memphis34. I am also in a similar situation as you are. I have been with my career department for a little over a year. I love my job don't get my wrong, it's the greatest job in the world and I am so greatful to have it. But, at the same type I don't know if I exactly "fit" with the other guys. I want to be apart of a department that takes training seriously, I want to be apart of a place that allows for career and educational development. I guess I have always dreamed of working for a larger department. It looks like I might get that chance since I am one of a few left on the hiring list. I guess my point is you have to do what is best for you. I know this sounds selfish, but in reality it is probably best for the whole department. Just think, what benefit are you going to be to the department if your heart and mind are not truely into the job. I am sure there will be some hurt feelings, that is just human nature. I just hope you department can see beyond the immediate actions of you going some place else. You sound like a young guy with a long future of the fire service ahead of you, god willing. We have a job that you never know what is going to happen so we truely have to live each day to the fullest. I would at least go through the application process with the other department, who knows what will pan out. The last I heard you couldn't get in trouble for applying someplace else. I don't know what your policies are, but that would seem a bit extreme. Anyways, just thought I would give you my insight since it seems like we are in similar situations. Good luck, and stay safe.

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    If it isn't what you want, get out before you get "sucked in". You're definetly surrounded by good options and I believe there will be a few depts starting the process soon. Good Luck

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