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  1. #1
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    Default Why can't a career firefighter get hired based on training and experience?

    I have been in the fire service since 1973 in one way or another. I took a break for about 25 years to serve my country in the Marine Corps. In 2000 I decided to go back to the fire service upon retirement from the military. I went to college for two years majoring in fire science. At age 42, I took the CPAT in L.A. County, CA and passed. I moved back east and was hired by a fire department in NC. I have been a career firefighter for six years. I have attended two fire academies and successfully earned an IFSAC FF II Cert, a HazMat Tech Cert, National Registry EMT-B, experienced EMT in three states and currently am a Driver/Operator. I have other training as well that would be useful any where. Why is it that the majority of the fire departments in this country require you to basically start all over again as a condition to be hired. What if there were all fire departments trained to a national standard? How many academies does it take to make a firefighter? Wouldn't it be cost effective for the fire department to send experienced firefighters through a structured curriculum for a period of time to indoctrinate them in that departments SOP? What do you think?
    Last edited by JAXFF7086; 03-05-2006 at 06:09 PM. Reason: Don't matter.


  2. #2
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    I think the problem is senority. How do you join another organization and suddendly bump people who have been there for years? I retired from the federal fire service and one advantage I had was my time in service went with me. Anyone could change locations and maintain their seniority because we were all employed by the same company, but just at a lot of different places. I'm sure the seniority problem stops a lot of fire agencies from doing lateral transfers to pick up experienced people without spending a lot of time and money to retrain or send people back to an academy.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber WaterbryVTfire's Avatar
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    I agree with Jax. Seems that departments scare away potential new hires/transfers.
    You should maybe have to wait like everyone else, take their written & physical exam and interview. But, why go through the school again if you already do the job?
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    But, why go through the school again if you already do the job?
    Does FDNY fight fires with the same strategy and tactics that Miami does? Does Chicago fight fires with the same strategy and tactics that Phoenix does? Does Houston fight fires with the same strategy and tactics that San Francisco does? Transferring from area to area may mean that most of what you know does not apply to their operations and that would be why they would send you to THEIR training. JMO.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    While some FD's may accept one's prior training and certifications, some communities, as Brother Bones stated have their own policies and procedures that are unique to that department and may require new hires to go through the academy.

    Having " all that experience" should make going the the Academy a snap!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Your experience outside of my department doesnt mean sh1t. Until you have been trained to operate to our standards using our methods you are no more usefull than job blow off the streets. Sure, your learning curve is smaller and your probably much more able to operate independantly upon assignment to field forces but the fact of the matter is one department does things one way and another does things another way. Not too many departments out there looking for a "know it all" from BF who wants to transfer in like hes just changing assignments.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    MembersZone Subscriber WaterbryVTfire's Avatar
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    I didn't think of the differences between the depts....so I guess a stint back at probie school is a good idea....makes you appreciate the job more I guess too. Meaning not given special treatment because you are "special".
    "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
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    Forum Member gunnyv's Avatar
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    Around here, it's only the big cities (ie Detroit)that won't let you skip the academy. In my county, no fire dept hires off the street w/o certifications anymore. Minimum requirements are FFII, Hazmat Ops, and Paramedic license. Problem here is, they have to be Michigan certs, and Michigan does not have reciprocity with anyone else.

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    Thanks to bigjim1301, WaterburyVTfire, CaptainGonzo, and gunnyv, I found your comments to be most useful and confirmed my own thoughts. CaptGonzo Im sure you have a better quote other than the one about firehouse democracy. However I found it humorous and, in most cases, true to the situation. I know too well the meaning of your quote. Bones 42, I am well aware of the facts about the way lrger city departments like to train their personnel to operate to the standard of that department. As for PFDTruck18, you need to just shut your pie hole. Talk about a know it all, your department hired you didn't it? I never claimed to be a know it all. Judging from your past threads, you really don't offer much in the way of intelligent conversation, therefore just what the hell do you know? jaxff7086.
    Last edited by MBHitch; 03-03-2006 at 11:38 PM.

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    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Truck18. Even though you may have been a firefighters for 15-20 years, when you get hired on at a new department, your back in the rookie pool. The department I'm with recently hired a guy who spent 15 years and was a LT at another paid department, but he is back to doing laundry and dishes. Do I agree with it? Not fully. But, I go by what I read a long time ago in a new recruit guide: your previous experience does not matter. We (as the department) do not know anything about you so keep your mouth shut and do it our way.

    And thats why many department put you back through the academy. They want you to learn how to do it their way. We did the same thing with our new recruits, although ours was 2 weeks. We did it to update them to our protocols and such. Bascially, you have to prove yourself to the new department.

    Hey, just be happy at getting a job for your old age

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985
    Hey, just be happy at getting a job for your old age
    ROFLMAO

    I've always been taught to show respect to my elders. Even if you have less seniority with my department than I do, I'll still respect you.

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  12. #12
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985
    Even though you may have been a firefighters for 15-20 years, when you get hired on at a new department, your back in the rookie pool.
    That such BS, Everyone recieves basic Firefighting and the only thing that needs to be done for an experianced firefighter is to train him/her on department policys and SOP/SOG's. Im sure that the larger departments put you through the academy because they don't know anything about you and its cost effective to train you all at once.......but for a smaller department its a waste of time, money and effort to send someone thru an academy who is already trained just so you can break them and train them your way.

    That 20 year guy has more knowledge and tricks in his bag than 5 snot nose pups with 3 years of head time......and they laugh when a 2-20 thumps the senoirity chest...give me a break. Maybe if you listen to some of the ways they operated at his old department it might make yours a little more efficient..all right Im off the soap box.....
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  13. #13
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MBHitch
    Thanks to bigjim1301, WaterburyVTfire, CaptainGonzo, and gunnyv, I found your comments to be most useful and confirmed my own thoughts. CaptGonzo Im sure you have a better quote other than the one about firehouse democracy. However I found it humorous and, in most cases, true to the situation. I know too well the meaning of your quote. Bones 42, I am well aware of the facts about the way lrger city departments like to train their personnel to operate to the standard of that department. As for PFDTruck18, you need to just shut your pie hole. Talk about a know it all, your department hired you didn't it? I never claimed to be a know it all. Judging from your past threads, you really don't offer much in the way of intelligent conversation, therefore just what the hell do you know? jaxff7086.
    Hitch- I think an apology is due to PFDTruck18. The way I read his statement, he wasnt implying that YOU were a know-it-all, he was just indicating know-it-alls in general. I dont think it was his intent to indicate YOU were one of them.

    I happen to agree with what he said. For example, in his department, the Philadelphia Fire Department, would you know what the "Packman" is or what his responsibilities are? Do you know what "Backup the piece" means?

    This is why big cities would rather have someone fresh off the streets- it's easier to train you from the start, rather than de-train your older habits.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  14. #14
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    Talking

    JHR1985..... never mind. IF I knew you I might think differently. And I don't owe anybody an apology. I re-read PFDtruck's thread and I still didn't interpret it any diffferent. If the fire service is training to a National Standard, a few weeks of orientation to learn the different terms/names you call things in your department should suffice. I can find out real quick what a Packman is and what back up the piece means. I've probably used it and done it at least once in my short career. I haven't applied to places like FDNY, Philadelphia, and like cities because I have found there is a cut-off age and I'm not really interested in large city populations simply because I don't want to live there. You can have it! Your comment is noted, but was not entirely useful. I just have a hard time about that "old age" statement. Out of the 62 firefighters at my department, I hold the third fastest time in the agility test. I 've only failed one agility test since the L.A. County test. I injured myself prior to taking the CPAT at Las Vegas, but I went anyway. However, my injury pre-cluded me from completing the test. Since then I have recovered and I will take another shot at it in the future. You guys from Philly are some proud bastards. I find that noteworthy... for Philly.
    Last edited by JAXFF7086; 03-04-2006 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Not the point I wanted to make.

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    Talking Lol

    Yeah Jax, they did hire me. And just like everybody else that gets hired, I went thru the academy. Not gonna find any large department that allows lateral transfers from outside the department. When we hire, its not a hand full, its by the multiple dozens. Each hire needs to be approved thru the budget process and as such, hiring 1 FF isnt going to happen.

    From our friend Jax:
    "Why is it that the majority of the fire departments in this country require you to basically start all over again as a condition to be hired. I have taken three written exams and four agility test, only to be placed in a hiring pool and/or told all new hires have to go to the academy. What sense does that make?"

    Because you see the academy only as training while many departments see it as an indoctrination to their department. Oh no!, not a hiring pool. Do you want the job or not. If you cant be bothered by the way a department hires, than I guess you dont really want to work there. It makes alot of sense, you just cant see it.


    Again from our friend Jax:
    "As for PFDTruck18, you need to just shut your pie hole. Talk about a know it all, your department hired you didn't it? I never claimed to be a know it all. Judging from your past threads, you really don't offer much in the way of intelligent conversation, therefore just what the hell do you know?"

    Hate your situation that much! I dont feel bad for you in the least. I try not to speak to intelligently on here, I would hate for readers like you to not understand. What do I know? I know I got a job and youre looking for one. Thats what I know.

    Proud, damn right...
    Last edited by PFDTruck18; 03-04-2006 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Forgot to put that big smiley face to show my true feelings for Jax and his response
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

  16. #16
    Forum Member VinnieB's Avatar
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    Thumbs down BullSh*t Flag on the play.....

    Quote Originally Posted by JAXFF7086
    I haven't applied to places like FDNY......

    Thank You.....we don't want someone with the type of attitude you have displayed.

    In a nut shell, you asked a question, looking for opinions and direction.....as you should know....in the firehouse if you have 30 men....you will get 30 opinions.....and you answer each one with a thank you.....they spent the time to answer it......you own them that much. Much like when a senior man (no, not a guy w/ time....) is giving a piece of advise to a jonnie.....take what you can from it and say thanks brother.

    With your thinking.....let me run this by you......what do you think about an Sgt 0311 coming over to Wpns Company and telling the 0331s how to employ thier weapons? I know it doesn't fly in the Corps......its the same idea here......not happening.

  17. #17
    Forum Member clancyxdogg's Avatar
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    Although the last thing a guy like you is looking for is advice, I gotta tell ya, I've been on both sides of this fence. I've gone from one dept. to another after some time on the job, and I've seen guys come to my dept after military service.

    Some of these guys are so used to being the HMFIC and telling 19 yr olds what to do that it's just impossible for them to adjust. I knew a guy that quit the fire academy after several weeks of telling the instructors that they were doing it all wrong. If they do make it through, the FF's and officers that work with them have to put up with daily "In the (insert service branch here) we did it this way." Is any of this starting to sound familiar? Ask your coworkers, and tell them to be honest.

    What about me, I went to boot camp in 1984 and now I have around 10 or so years of firefighting experience, with the same bunch of certs that most of you have. I should be able to go to the recruiter and slide into an E-6 or 7 billet at an air station, right? Sound like it would happen?

    Every time I was tempted to open my mouth at my new dept., I would think of those guys and keep it shut. If you really know what you're doing, people will know without you saying a word.

    If you can't shut up and be the new guy, then you'd better stay where you are. Just sit in the kitchen and tell those small-town guys about the time you saved that shavetail LT's butt in Grenada.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ltmdepas3280
    That such BS, Everyone recieves basic Firefighting and the only thing that needs to be done for an experianced firefighter is to train him/her on department policys and SOP/SOG's. Im sure that the larger departments put you through the academy because they don't know anything about you and its cost effective to train you all at once.......but for a smaller department its a waste of time, money and effort to send someone thru an academy who is already trained just so you can break them and train them your way.

    That 20 year guy has more knowledge and tricks in his bag than 5 snot nose pups with 3 years of head time......and they laugh when a 2-20 thumps the senoirity chest...give me a break. Maybe if you listen to some of the ways they operated at his old department it might make yours a little more efficient..all right Im off the soap box.....
    Since coming to this site I have learned just how different all departments are. There is no "national standard" that I can see. After many arguments on these boards I realized that not only do most department not do it like us - many are vehemently opposed to many of our "unsafe" practices and procedures. To say that a guy with 10 years on in Raleigh could waltz in here, spend a few days learning our "proceedures" and be fine is wrong, IMO. We had one of our own ff layed up for ten years and even though he was one of us he still went back to the academy for a few weeks. There are vast cultural and attitude differences between department and those have to be pounded in, not just read about in an SOP. Even an FDNY guy would have to go to our academy to learn about real axes! PFDtruck18 is absolutely correct.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    Since coming to this site I have learned just how different all departments are. There is no "national standard" that I can see. After many arguments on these boards I realized that not only do most department not do it like us - many are vehemently opposed to many of our "unsafe" practices and procedures. To say that a guy with 10 years on in Raleigh could waltz in here, spend a few days learning our "proceedures" and be fine is wrong, IMO. We had one of our own ff layed up for ten years and even though he was one of us he still went back to the academy for a few weeks. There are vast cultural and attitude differences between department and those have to be pounded in, not just read about in an SOP. Even an FDNY guy would have to go to our academy to learn about real axes! PFDtruck18 is absolutely correct.
    For the most part Chicago is exactly right...except for the axes because we do know all about them and why they are never used, except as cromed plaques!

    After 6 months or more of being on ML one must take a refresher course at our accademy.

    Just as he said...even if I went to Chicago or he came here...although our operations and attidudes toward operations are very similar both of us would have difficulty

    I gave up a number of years of seniority in another dept to come to my current Dept. And you know what all those previous years meant ZERO. I wouldn't have the damnest idea what to do if I hadn't attended my accademy. In fact I made the arguement in my former dept that guys who came from other Deptartments with previous expereince actually required more training to work that crap from their former depts out of their heads!

    The only reason one wouldn't need to attend a new Depts accademy is the new accademy isn't well taught and doesn't offer any insight or instruction into firefighting tactics and procedures...as in Depts who just read from the IFSTA manual as if that where their Depts procedural manual. If that is the case...you apparently didn't learn much in your first accademy and you probably wouldn't get much out of the second one either.

    Anyone who thinks they wouldn't need to attend a new jobs accademy has never done it. I have twice and I can tell you it should be a requirement for everyone.

    FTM-PTB

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    clancyxdogg, What you described is not me. I have steered away from using the phrase "In the (insert service branch here) we did it this way." because this ain't my branch of the service. I only tell war stories if I'm asked, but for the most part I keep my mouth shut becase, you're right, it don't need to be said. It's another world out here, and I like not being the HMFIC for a change. Because of my long term exposure to diverse culture, I haven't had any problem fitting in. I don't care if they like me or not, but they better like me on the fire ground. I won't leave any man behind, regardless of our differences, he/she is still a firefighter.

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