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  1. #1
    Forum Member
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    May 2006

    Default What did you do before fighting fires?

    I'm just curious as to some of the jobs you all have held before your current career or while working at becoming firefighters?

  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Thumbs up Well.....................

    Interesting Subject for discussion. I came out of High School (Voluntarily ) in 1959. I went to work for the Maryland Forestry Dept as a Tower Operator. Spring and Fall, I'd sit up in a Forest Fire Lookout Tower each day, looking for smoke. Summer and Winter I'd work in the State Parks or the Shop, repairing equipment. Two years later I passed the test for a Firefighters job in Baltimore and did a four year run as a Crash/Rescue Firefighter at the Airport. Left there to do Twenty years as a Firefighter in Prince Georges County. I retired from P.G.County at age 43, when we got 20 year retirement in the contract. I have, since then, done almost everything that I wanted to do as a kid. I've become qualified as a Locomotive Engineer, Driven Large over-the-road Trucks, Owned a Asphalt Paving business, A Demolition business, a whole bunch of other things, and finally, at age 62, went back to fighting Fires again, with the Forest Service. I've also been an active volunteer since Oct 4, 1958 and a Chief Officer since 1977.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.


  3. #3
    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Apr 2004


    Well............ I was a little kid!

    In all seriousness, since I am only 16 years old, I haven't done much. Worked in a local glass and jewelry shop for a few years, cut grass around town, little things like that. Now I am a lifeguard at a local country club and do renovation work with a family friend's business.
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2006
    Way out

    Default Teach

    I use to be an elementary teacher - great time - lots of fun! Now I own my own business which gives me the flexibility for making lots of calls - especially the daytime ones when no one is around... Love it -

  5. #5
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    Dec 2004
    Cleveland, OK


    I worked in grocery stores for 10 years before I started doing this. Belive it or not I also took a pay cut when I did. I was a vollie for about a year before going full time.

  6. #6
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Sep 2002


    Before my fire service career, I was a high school student. During that miserable time of my life- Recreation Center Service Person and before that- Resturant Busboy.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2004


    Everything from working at a movie theatre to driving parts for Napa. Now I'm a full time fire/safety technician for a safety training company, and a volunteer firefighter.

  8. #8
    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Tallahassee, Florida


    I started working at the ripe old age of 8. I was the youngest paper boy for the Patriot Ledger, a paper in my hometown in Mass. My father died when I was 10, and I worked pretty much ever since to help bring in extra money for my mom to help pay the bills.

    I had countless jobs during my teens, including numerous fast food joints, grocery stores and the like. I graduated High School in 1979, and in 1980 I went to tech school for industrial electricity. At that same time worked for a builder supply store.

    In '81 I began a small home repair business that eventually grew into a construction and remodeling business, which I still operate today.

    At 29, I finally decided to follow my childhood dream and went to Fire School. In 1990 I was hired, and the rest is history!

    I also started a professional grounds-keeping business last year . It has proved to have far fewer headaches than my construction work! The money ain't bad either.

    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
    IAFF Local 2339
    K of C 4th Degree
    Member I.A.C.O.J.
    "Fir na tine"

  9. #9
    Forum Member len1582's Avatar
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    Feb 2002


    High school
    United States Marine Corps
    I was a plumber and went from vol. to career at 27.

  10. #10
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    What did Gonz do before the FD...

    I had a paper route for my first job at the age of 12.
    Washed dishes at a restaurant.
    Sold shoes in a department store.
    Played guitar in a rock band
    Went to college for a year.
    Dropped out after 1 year.

    Worked in a factory that made paper tubes..everything from the ones on clothes hangers to Sonotubes.

    Went back to college.
    Worked part time at a pet store.
    Played bass guitar in a rock band
    Worked summers for a pest control company.
    Played bass guitar in a theater company performing "Godspell".
    Graduated college in 1977
    Worked for the pest control company full time and a cable tv studio part time.
    Got married.
    Left the pest control company, worked sales at a radio station.
    Left the radio station, went back to the pest control company.

    Took the entrance exam, scored well, passed the version of CPAT and the medical exam and got hired on "da Job" in 1981.

    My wife and I had a child in 1983.

    He is now a college graduate and will be taking the fire entrance exam on June 10th.
    ‎"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

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Deleted by the forum gremlins


    I went to college for a while, took a year off and worked in construction, and finished school (round 1).

    Worked as Assistant Director of Public Works for several years in a small town which meant I was in charge of streets and traffic signals, water distribution, sewers, sanitation, natural gas, mowing, a maintenance shop, and probably a few things I left out.

    During which time I became a volunteer firefighter on a whim, fell in love with the job, and went full time several years later. Whilst doing that, I went back to college (degrees 2 and 3).

    I'm still fighting fire, but have no plans on growing up.

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  12. #12
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Jan 1999


    I'm still a whippersnapper by the standards of some posters here -- which is, in reality, fine with me. Hopefully, being a whippersnapper today means I'll still be around a few tomorrows from now.

    My first paying job working for someone who wasn't kin came when I was 14. I worked a whole week in a tomato shed and made a whopping $125. I was a bit too short and probably a bit too slow, too, for their liking. Although I was glad to go, that short relationship ended on the farmer's terms.

    Outside of a couple of summers as a lifeguard, my second real paying job came in June 1994. I was hired on as a part-time type-setter at the local weekly newspaper. From there, I became a sports writer, a photographer, a layout & design guru, and the paper's first full-time sports editor. I spent the majority of the next eight years with weekly deadlines.

    When I graduated from college in 2002, I tested for two fire department's and interviewed with the civil service commission for a third. By God's blessings, I was offered jobs with two departments and got to choose my path. I will have been there for four years as of June 24.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    Mar 2003


    Plumber's helper then got the job at 19. Cant complain

  14. #14
    Forum Member Co11FireGal's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Country Roads, Take Me Home...


    At 15 I started working in a veterinary clinic, following my dream of becoming a DVM...started as a junior FF at 17...changed my mind on the Vet thing a couple months before I graduated high school and decided I'd be a Political Science major and go to law school, but still stayed at the clinic until here not too long ago...was a good, challenging, and fun job. After a year in college, I decided I'd take Intro to CJ, because it was a prerequisite to take the fire marshal's arson investigation classes, which I just wanted to take as electives b/c I figured they'd be helpful at the VFD and I needed some elective classes anyway. After that Intro to CJ class, I changed my major to Criminal Justice, kept Poli Sci as a minor, with a goal of going to work for the state fire marshal's office in arson investigation or disaster management, or the dept. of natural resources as a conservation officer or forester.

    Last semester, I decided I'd take an EMT class, again b/c it would be helpful at the VFD. Took some wildland ff classes here not too long ago also...had a blast...not sure if I want to really pursue that or not though. Just finished up my Junior year of college, and with a year left I made the decision to spend an extra year in school and go back to the paramedic program in the fall along with finishing my CJ/PoliSci degree. Not too awful long ago I finally got on at the county 9-1-1 center. LOVING that... So for now I remain....college student/volunteer firefighter/dispatcher....and hopefully EMT...still waiting on national registry results...

    I have WAY too many interests...everytime I get more training in something it just makes choosing one career harder and harder...

    "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap it if we do not lose heart."

  15. #15
    Forum Member
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    Nov 2004


    One spring I worked at a local nursury and wattered more plants than I care to reacll.

    One summer I tought Boy Scouts how to Orienteer.

    The next summer I taught them how to shoot shotguns and rifles.

    The summer after I turned 18 so I took it upon myself to be the Quartermaster (grounds-keeper) for the 1000 acre camp.

    By the next summer I was am EMT so I took care of the medical problems and taught first aid.

    Now I work PT for AMR, PT/Volly at the FD and go to school for a degree in emergency services and my medic class starts in the fall.

    Yup, I'm a pup.
    "Plan for the worst, hope for the best"

    FF/EMT: Nimishillen Township FD
    EMT: AMR
    Fire/EMS/Police Dispatcher: CenCom
    Student: Stark State C.O.T.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Apr 2003


    went to college after high school
    joined the army after 2 qrts 89-93
    worked for my local waterdept as a laborer
    then became a deputy sherriff
    came to my senses a year later and went on the job full time
    vollie since 93

  17. #17
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    Apr 2006
    Somewhere cold in MI


    well i was a service tech at a boat dealer.
    worked at burger king.
    now i am a dishwasher at dennys.
    i am in school for fire science

  18. #18
    Forum Member BCmdepas3280's Avatar
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    Mar 2001


    I was a Police officer...before I was a Firefighter.
    IACOJ Membership 2002

    Mike IAFF

    The beatings will continue until the morale improves

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber CFD Hazards's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    Cranston, RI, USA


    After graduating HS, I went to college for one year. I then went to work as the cable guy, doing installations for the local company. While working there, I went to EMT school at night and got my license. I left the cable company and went to work at a private ambulance company. I then got on the FD and have been a firefighter since 1992. Taking advantage of the fact that the FD would pay for it, I went to night school and got a degree in Fire Science.

  20. #20
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    Officially joined FD at age of 16, but since one of my brothers was Chief and another brother was Captain, I had been around for years before that.

    Was still in high school but worked at Mike's Subs (now franchised as Jersey Mike's). Was great to work at a sub shop near the shore during summer....LOTS of girls stopping by on their way to the beach for the day.
    "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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