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  1. #1
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Default NJ Career Firefightering

    OK, in a previous thread, it was stated that NJ was and is one of the hardest states to become a Career FF.....my question is WHY?
    I have patience to wait to get hired on the Dept I want to, and living in that city aint no thang( ).

    Is it because I am white, and male? ....no offence intended, but it lookslike that the "man" wants minorities and women......am I on the right track, or just confused....
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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  2. #2
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    I'll try and phrase it the way it was explained to me by a NUMBER of career and aspiring firefighter in the state.

    New Jersey is extremely biased towards their hiring protocols. Yes, you're right, and its nothing bad to say because its true. If you are a white, male with no military experience and you don't know someone wayyyy up in the system, the odds of you being hired of the State DOP list is amazingly low. I lived in Trenton for a year and a half because before that I was told I'd have to live there and have all of my information in trenton. Bills, magazines, bank accouts. Everything. So I unplanted myself from my happy little suburb to go chase the dream of being a city Firefighter in Jersey. Then, the test/list was supposed to come out in April of LAST YEAR. It just came out in May of this year. After talking with a number of people, including Heads of the DOP and Chief at HQ in Trenton, they are going to be looking to hire possibly 12-15 firefighters in August that that will meet their hiring quotas for the next 3-4 years...... But the kicker is the test doesn't come out until Oct-Nov so the new list that replaces the old list will basically be put on a shelf to get dusty, as far as I understand it.

    Basically, from what I've heard, the testing process is a dog-and-pony show. I'm not against the strict residency requirements because I believe that if you want to be a Firefighter somewhere you've got to be willing to follow their guidelines. But when they make it so difficult and seemingly impossible, its time to start looking at other possibilities... or atleast thats how I felt about it. I'm no longer living in the city now. I refuse to stay there, in an unsafe environment, paying an astronomical amount of rent just so I'm not living in the area where the rival Bloods gangs are shooting at each other, I'm no longer having my truck dinged into by people trying to parallel park in a 4' long spot, nor am I having to lock every door, button, window, and toolbox on my truck any longer because of the people that just sit on a porch waiting for you to go inside.

    Just venting I guess. Sorry. You are on the right track because you want to be a Career FF. As far as where you've chosen to do it, thats debatable. I'm sure other areas are hiring. I just can't see being given the run around for years and then be told "nope, sorry, not happening". I know some areas you actually have to live in the limits of the city/area 2-3 years before even applying. Craziness. For what? Its like you've done your time and now you can pass on? Don't get it.

    But if you've got the patience for it and you're really committed to getting on in where ever you are, god bless and good luck bro.

  3. #3
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    I sure as hell aint gonna give up on it, just not lookign foward to going through the painful process.
    Ever since I was knee high to a grass hopper, I watched the trucks respond from right across the street, so nothing can stop me now.
    Any other NJ FFs care to comment? I would like as much info as I can!

    Edited to say:
    I plan on going into the USCGR or USNR, will that help my chances at all?
    btw, I WANT to serve my country, not just to get higher up on a list
    Last edited by BLSboy; 06-13-2006 at 07:32 PM.
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  4. #4
    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Try the Carolinas ! Fire and Police in NJ is a pain in the bum to get a job in. Trenton pretty much summed it all up !
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  5. #5
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    The hardest part I have a problem with Jersey IS the wait (I think.) At age 22, I can move to the city of my choice, example... Jersey City.... live there for a year BEFORE i am even eligable to apply. Unfortunatly the test would have already come and gone before this time next year.... So i have to wait for three more years before I can apply again. so now I am 25. The test comes out when I am 26, The list is finalized and active when I am 27. Then I have to hope I am in the top 15 or else I have to wait another year or 2. So basically, eight years later, I MAY have a shot by then. I only have untill 35. I recommend looking at other states. Maryland, Virginia... and such. Go somewhere where the pay is better and cost of living is cheaper. Why pay rent for 6 years when you can rent for 2 in another state and then buy a house and start being a homeowner early.

  6. #6
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Dont even try to discourage me!
    lol
    This is what I am set on, and it will take an act of God to move me
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  7. #7
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    I don't think anyone is trying to discourage you (atleast I'd hope they wouldn't)

    If you've decided on where you want to be a firefighter, thats awesome. I had thought I knew I would stay in Trenton until I was riding Rescue 1 out the bay door like I stood there and watched happen many-a-time. It was a little while before I realized want/desire/dedication only can take you so far in a situation where someone higher up has control. Trust me, I spoke to everyone who was anyone from the firehouse and the DOP. The Department of Personnel is more influential in you possibly getting hired than someone in the firehouse. It just wasn't going to happen in my time frame that I've planned out for myself. So I took a swift kick in the Johnson, sucked it up, and turned my plans towards other things. I've moved from sitting and waiting in an area until I'm called to going out and attacking every possibility with 110 percent effort until I'm hired.

    I really hope my words haven't discouraged you. I'm young too (21) and would hate to feel like someone was telling me what I'm doing is wrong. Whatever you feel is right, you've absolutely GOT to do it, otherwise you'll never know and always second guess. Follow your instinct. If it tells you to stay there, stay there. And like I said before, best of luck. I wish nothing more than for someone else's dream to be realized because I know what that day will feel like for me, I can only hope it also happens to others, including yourself.

  8. #8
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Well, its dragging me almost 1500 miles away, so not much is gonna move me. What "extras" can be tacked on to help me in the process?
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

  9. #9
    Forum Member FDNY101TRUCK's Avatar
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    Well, its dragging me almost 1500 miles away, so not much is gonna move me. What "extras" can be tacked on to help me in the process?
    A big wad of cash to ''donate''.....just kidding...hopefully no one is trying to discouraging you but merely showing you that maybe there are bigger and better things out there....
    NEVER FORGET!
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  10. #10
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    I really don't know what extra you can do. If you have served in the armed forces, you will receive points for that. Also being a volunteer for 2+ years will award you extra points. Unfortunately as I've heard and many others have said, it doesn't matter what you know, its who you know, so to speak. Its no joke that there is corruption among the upper echelons. You could score a 98 overall and be high on the list. Does that mean you're going to get the job over someone else that has a 75 and is in the middle of the list? In most places that operate properly, yes. But here, you'll never know, and they'll never have to explain it.

    There are a certain number of things I don't quite understand. Just for instance, the maximum hiring age in New Jersey is 35. But there is a loophole. For every year you've served in the military, you actually get to subtract a year from your "Age". Say I'm 21 and you're 41. Say we tested and got the same score. Say you served 7 years in various "occupations" by our country, a list of which can be found on the NJDOP webpage. Now, theoretically, you're over the age requirement, but because of your service, you're now technically 34 and not only that, would probably get the job over me since you've served in the military, no matter what. I said before and I stand by it. I play by the rules. I'm not complaining, I just don't understand the bias. I'm heavily behind soldiers and our troops. I think they do an amazingly difficult job and barely ever get the credit they deserve. But in this regard, I think everyone deserves the same opportunity. Anyway, again, rant off.

  11. #11
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    1: Yes it is very hard but possible.

    2: I did it at 22.

    3:"there is a loophole. For every year you've served in the military, you actually get to subtract a year from your "Age"

    This means you can buy back time. Basically you can buy service time to shorten your years of service. In NJ you HAVE to retire at 65 years old. You also have to total up all time to reach 25 years of service to get the full benefit. (Not the max, this is at 30.) I know what you are saying, "But at 40 years old 25 years would be 65 years old." I was told it was a buffer.

    4: You can't forget the ever so popular Bio Data disaster from the last test. ( the class action law suit fixed that.) Now you get to watch a video!

    5. Don't for get the rule of three!!!
    This space for rent

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    Go west young man.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    If you are considering USNR, try looking into Lakehurst. A naval base nowhere near water. They are one of the last bastions of expansion (as opposed to getting closed) in NJ. I know a few guys that work there, and for a couple of them...if they can get the job, it can't be that hard.
    "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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    Trust me, no one here will try to discourage you from being a career FF.

    But I will be the first to discourage you from doing it in NJ.

    Go see this country. There are a boatload of places that are cleaner, nicer, safer and cheaper to live. Traffic? We damn near have the market cornered. And you want to know what? NJ people SUCK! They have horrible attitudes and are mean, nasty and rotten. Get around, especially down in VA, NC and SC, and meet real people. Hear people still call each other sir and ma'am. Watch people respect each other. Live with people who love God and their country as a culture, not a subculture.

    You will not regret it.

    BTW, I will be bugging out when my last child graduates.

  15. #15
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    Lightbulb Federal Service

    Hey BLS,

    Coast Guard or Navy is good. There is other options as well. Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps. The best out of the five (in my opinion) - the Air Force. Yeah, I'm a former Marine. My heart belongs there, but it's not holding me back from telling you how it is.

    I mainly believe the Air Force is the way to go is that, the schooling is top notch. Yeah, other military go to the same schools, or should I say basic schools that is. Anything after that is hit and miss, outside the AF. Not saying that other branches aren't any good or don't send their people to advanced schools. Some do, some don't.

    The other aspect of the military; Are you willing to go fight a fire under combat conditions with a 1 3/4 in one arm, and an M-16 in the other? Something to look at. Not saying that you will definately go over to the sand, but the possibility is great. I myself have done some time there in the first one.

    Not saying that its a bad thing by not trying to go there. It has it's advantages. For one, by going there, you get 5 points preference on any civil service job whether city, county, state, federal. It's federal law, and it does help alot. God forbid, if you get a Purple Heart, or other higher combat type medal, you get 10 points. Don't try to get the 10 points.

    My lean toward the AF also goes into what they do as firefighting. They not only do ARFF, but structural, HAZMAT, rescue, and wildland - as military. the Marines - only crash, some wildland, some structural overseas. The civilians stateside at USMC installations only do structural. Can't speak much for the ARMY, but I wuz in the NAVY too, and in there it's shipboard firefighting to the max! ARFF on a carrier? Be the lucky selection from the Aviation Boatswain Mate rating and your in. Key word - lucky.

    Additionally, the AF has their own college. It's only two year, but a stepping stone to a 4 yr or even a masters. And, if your looking to follow in Dr. Harry Carter, you could even seek your Doctorates. LOL, Dr. Carter, LOL. I went to a few of his Symposiums, wore the same colored tie, suit as in the magazine.
    Anyway, whatever branch you go into, take advantage of the education benefits. They'll pay 75% of the tuition. You can't beat it! I attended the University of Hawaii, and Uncle Sam paid for 3/4 of it, including books, and labs. My professor was a former Dept of Land Management head honcho. No matter what we talking about in class, whether structure fires or aircraft fires, he'd always go off on a tangent on wildland fires.

    One last thing about the military, whatever branch you go in. If you don't like it, try federal civilian service. Do your military time, and use your veterans preference to get in. Now the feds don't biasedly only hire veterans preference guys, vice regular non-military service civilians. It's just that there are so many 5 point veterans that apply, they simply can't exhaust the list to where they get to non-military service civilians. The feds have good medical benefits as well, for you, and your family, if you have wife and kids. Dental benefits are on the way as we speak. They should be in full force by Dec 2006, as per federal law enacted by congress.

    Now some bases are not as active as others. You may watch TV all day/night, then get a call at odd hours. But then again, you could be at an active base where you getting some good ARFF calls in, even structural, HAZMAT, and EMS.

    Even if you don't go in the service, at least go to some college. Read up on IFSTA manuals, especially the Essentials, and any other pertinent books of IFSTA - Ropes, Rescue, ARFF, Driver Operator, etc. Read as many as you can. get some magazines like Firehouse. They also have awesome articles in there, that really isn't gospel, but helps you open your mind to the aspect of the firefighting world.

    Here's a cool link to a fire educational site: www.firedawgs.com

    If that link doesn't work, go to my site: http://nfabfirerescue.pbwiki.com

    and go to the links area, it's there, and I know it works.

    Hope this helps!

    Be safe!

    Crash

  16. #16
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    I was seeing if I could get back to Air Crew, since that was supposed to my my Rate in the USN, before my jaw was fractured in an assult. Doing Air Rescue for the USN or USCG would be BITCHIN!
    But what I REALLY want is to be a career FF for Ocean City FD.........some day
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

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