1. #1
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    Default How old is too old to start out??

    I'm 38 years old, have a large family (4 kids under the age of 6), in good shape, and have always been in jobs that required physical and mental performance (food and retail). I LOVE working hard and interacting with the public in a team atmosphere.

    Recently I've tied my butt to a desk job full time (advertising/marketing) for a "career change". HATE IT! BORED! I've thought long and hard about who I am, what I want to do with the rest of my life, what I want for my family. I've decided to become a Firefighter and make it the last and BEST career I'll ever have.

    I've started the recruit process in a big county in VA (over 1,000 FF on force), took the written last month (scored well) and am training hard for the CPAT (physical exam) in 5 weeks. I also have a ride-a-long with an EMS Captain next week.

    From the looks of it, 99% of the people I'm up against are younger than me. Heck, most of the recruits and probationary firefighters that may be reading this are probably much younger than me. For the career firefighters that may read this I ask...

    How old is too old to start out?

    What is your advice on how to get hired at my age?

    Am I wasting my time? Do they indeed discriminate and favor younger recruits?

    What would you think of a 39 year old probie coming to your house?

    Am I crazy or what (lol)?

    THANKS in advance for your kind replies

    Tucker9 in Virginia

  2. #2
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    The first guy hired out of my recruit class was 36. Departments in my area have been known to hire guys in their late 30's, early 40's on a semi-regular basis.

    My advice is keep working hard and at every opportunity let them see that while you may be old, you have no problem getting into the 'yes sir, please kick me I'm a young, dumb probie' mindset.

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    Thumbs up

    common sense and good judgement will beat out a young buck anyday in my book. Nothing beats real world experiance. Don't worry about it try your best, had a friend in Phx.FD took him like 3/4 times to get in, be persistant.

    Good Luck
    1st LT PFD

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    My relatively small full time department has only hired about 25 firefighters in the last six years so I'm speaking from limited experience, but it has been my observation that probies in their thirties consistently outperform probies in their early twenties.

    A little maturity seems to go a long way.

    What would I think about having a 38-40 y.o. probie in my house? That would depend entirely on the individual. Everyone gets a fair shot at a first impression on my crew.
    ullrichk
    a.k.a.
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    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

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    Thanks all for your advice and words of encouragement! And Ben...about your "young dumb probie mindset" comment...I say no problem, Yes Sir! I know when I don't know jack and that I'll have ALOT to learn from everyone I encounter on the force. Good advice for an old dumb probie hopeful! And hopefully my years will help in the common sense dept. as stated. Thanks!

    What about the physical requirements. I'd like to stay in the job for as long as possible. When I'm like 55 will I be able to handle the physical demands if I keep in shape. What do the 50+ firefighters in your dept. look like?

    THANKS

    Tucker9

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    The average age of our classes coming out now is 36. The last test was 11 years ago so the candidates are getting older. I had a guy in my class who was 49. He did fine.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Sorta surprised that you can take the test as both of the all-career departments in this area (Shreveport and Bossier City) require that you can not be older than 35 at the time of testing. Maybe it's just a Louisiana thing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    Sorta surprised that you can take the test as both of the all-career departments in this area (Shreveport and Bossier City) require that you can not be older than 35 at the time of testing. Maybe it's just a Louisiana thing.

    Some departments in Texas have an age limit while others do not. I think that it is normal for most civil service jobs to have an age limit of about 35. I am well above that age so I guess I will keep volunteering!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    Cool

    Nope - the only "age" statement they made in the application requirements was a minimum age of 18 - nothing about max age.

    Perhaps they are afraid of opening up the "discrimination" can of worms and having to go to court to defend an age cap under a BFOQ (occup. requirement) argument? Tis the sign of the times...and thank goodness for me at the age of 38!

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    Smile

    I'm brand new on my first job I just finnished my second tour on a 3/4 rotation. Started EMT school 4/05 on to the training academy 8/05 hired 12/05. I'm right next to 50 years old had been retired for 4 years prior to the start of my EMT. I needed something to do and I think I got real lucky. I just worked hard and had a little luck and met some great people. I never thought it would happen for me. I almost quit the academy several times it was really tough keeping up with the younger guys but they were helpful and encouraged me the whole way.

    Good luck to you and keep after it and it will happen. I would sit at night and read all the stories and tips> I wound up using a lot of them and I think it was the small difference in my interviews.

  11. #11
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    Red face

    I guess too old to join would be when you're dead.

    we have older ff's in our dept, of course alot of them have been there YEARS, (one was chief when I was in the 2nd grade!) but age is just a number, hell, the way that those guys were dancing at the banquet to the music -- Old people are COOL!!!!!!!!!

    Don't worry about it. In terms of the fire service, old age doesn't mean spit.

  12. #12
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    Default Not too old

    Get on a volunteer department - I did and I am almost 40.

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    tucker9, let me echo some of the comments and add my support.

    I wasn't looking for a career change, but I began volunteering with my MD combination dept. as an EMT at 37 then as an FF at 39. It's been great. The key, as you know, is working hard and being professional whether you want to get hired or go the volunteer route like I have done. (Like you, I have no ego problem getting orders from younger guys who've been doing it for 10 or 15 years.) Your attitude and work ethic is what it's all about, and as others have mentioned, your maturity and life experience are real assets too.

    You Can Do It.

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    I was 37 going on 38 when I got on my old volunteer department just under 3 years ago.I've been off due to family requirements the last 4 months and want badly to return to my "part-time job".
    If you keep yourself in shape,it's easier than trying to catch up.
    My advice is to learn as much as you can,and keep taking courses to learn more.Never miss an opportunity to ask a question.If you think it might be a stupid question,ask it anyway.Not all of them are as dumb as they sound when you form it in your head and it could turn out to be crucial info.For example,make a point to go around the rig you're assigned to and look over what is in the various compartments.After a few times,you'll start knowing without opening a door what is inside but remember,you still gotta check it out to be sure it's there and operable before you need it on a run.
    Good luck with it and keep in mind,this is one of the jobs that requires continuing education.

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by sts060
    tucker9, let me echo some of the comments and add my support.

    I wasn't looking for a career change, but I began volunteering with my MD combination dept. as an EMT at 37 then as an FF at 39. It's been great. Your attitude and work ethic is what it's all about, and as others have mentioned, your maturity and life experience are real assets too.

    You Can Do It.
    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

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    Thumbs up

    I am 35 right now and just now working on getting my EMT-P. Hopefully I will get hired somewhere before the age of 37-38. I have never worked in the fire services before but I was a police officer in Miami for 7 years and I can tell you that some of the best cops I worked with started in there 30's. I am pretty sure you'll do fine.

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    Default How old?

    I'm 44 and I just got hired by Chesterfield County VA. I moved here from Arkansas in August because there was a statewide age limit of 32. I worked 22years as an investment broker so I can relate to the office situation.
    If you truly want to be a ff you can do it. Make sure your wife is cool with the idea and knows that it's not an easy road and may take awhile. Get in incredible shape so age isn't brought up. Use your life experience as an asset. Go to paramedic school! 1 year of hell is better than several years of taking fire tests.
    Order something from Capt. Bob,it was the best money I ever spent.
    Good luck!

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    i was 41 when i joined our dept. we are a vol. dept. just had a 2 mile pack test 35lb. it was tough but i did it, and wish i had started fighting fires when i was twenty i just love it .if you have your mind set that this is what you want you can do it no matter what your age .

  19. #19
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    Exclamation 32 is the magic number in Arkansas

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    Sorta surprised that you can take the test as both of the all-career departments in this area (Shreveport and Bossier City) require that you can not be older than 35 at the time of testing. Maybe it's just a Louisiana thing.
    State law for civil service cities (mine is one) set a maximum age of 32 to be appointed to a line firefighting position. Older persons can be hired if they have previous firefighting experience and their age minus the number of years experience equals less than 32. Interestingly enough, there is no maximum age for police officers. To be honest, I'm not sure how that came to pass.

  20. #20
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    There is a guy who just graduated from our academy who is 58 years old! Rumor has it, he out worked alot of the younger guys.

  21. #21
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    Default Age is all in the mind, except for Civ.Service

    Good luck to you. I joined my VFD when I was 40, I'm in good physical shape, (not great) but my hard work and respect for senior members has gone a long way towards making up for any problems with my age. I take orders from officers or senior members that are half my age, and sometimes even give them some good advice on how to deal with people. Life experience counts. You can learn to be a firefighter at any age, but you need to be capable of extreme physical exertion. Moving a charged 2-1/2 line through a structure is the hardest thing I have ever done, more exerting over short duration than running a marathon. If you are comfortable with tools, working with your hands, a "handyman" type who has done some carpentry, plumbing and/or electrical work you will pick up FF quickly. I only wish FDNY did not have a 35 yr. age limit or I'd be in your shoes. You can do it, and if you're lucky enough to live where age restrictions do not apply then go for it. I could not imagine a better career.

  22. #22
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    I didn't get involved with the Fire service until I was 38. Being physically fit is key, humping hose is a work out.

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    As my niece's boyfriend said before I twisted his head around so his hat was on straight,"True dat."
    I recently took a local FD's PAT and failed two running exercises by 3 seconds and passed everything else by three seconds so it must have evened out somewhere.
    Since then,I have been doing more roadwork as like I said in a previous post,keeping in shape is far easier than getting into shape when you haven't exercised in a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fire1023
    I didn't get involved with the Fire service until I was 38. Being physically fit is key, humping hose is a work out.

  24. #24
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    In Oklahoma 45 is the cut off age for Firefighters and Police Officers. If you go to the Sheriff's Office there is no age limit.

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    I am 39 and I just got on. I think if us older guys can work just as hard as the young ones, we should be given the same chance.

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