Thread: Too Old to Apply?
07-27-2006, 02:08 PM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
- Newington, CT
Too Old to Apply?
Is there any chance an old fart like myself has a chnace being hired as FF anymore? I'm an Officer w/ a volunteer dept. having over 12 years experience. FFI, FFII, Fire Instructor, Fire Officer I. Physically fit (But nor CPAT experienced) with no health problems. Any hope out there? or am I destined to volunteer my life away? Thanks for any suggestions.
07-27-2006, 02:59 PM #2
Define "Old Fart".....As one myself I'd look for a smaller Department that is looking for experience rather then a person of a young age.
Jay Dudley, Retired Fire
07-27-2006, 03:02 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
- Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
It really depends on where you are, some career depts have an age limit, others dont, mine does not have an age bar, I was hired at age 55, twelve years later I am still here.
07-27-2006, 07:50 PM #4Originally Posted by Photojoe
07-28-2006, 10:33 AM #5
Let's here it for us "Old Farts". Way to go Proto!!
07-28-2006, 01:58 PM #6
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
I start the academy in 2 weeks and we have a guy who is 44 years old. I know 2-3 years ago, another department here in the Vegas valley hired a 47 year old. IMO it is not about your age at all, it is about your mindset.
07-30-2006, 04:36 PM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Personally I would rather see an older candidate have a chance than a younger one. Having said this I can tell you that hiring older candidates we give up a little in the physical aspects and we take a greater chance that you will get injured in the rigors of the recruit training academy.
I expect that as an older candidate you will be in at least, if not better physical condition than the "young" guys. If, on the other hand, you are an old guy and you look like an old guy you will have some challenges.
Attached is an article I wrote on age.
Everyone has an opinion of age when it comes to hiring new firefighters. Some people feel that a younger candidate has a better chance of getting hired because, after all, the fire departments are looking to hire a candidate for the next 30 years.
If a fire department hires a 21 or 22 year old, the department can train the recruit before he or she has a chance to develop “bad” habits. Furthermore, since the agency wants to get the most money for its training dollars, hiring a firefighter at a young age ensures that it will get at least 30 years of service out of him or her.
Younger candidates generally have fewer personal and financial obligations, and are more likely to have the free time to pursue relevant education and training prior to being hired. This is highly prized by many departments, as they do not have to pay for it.
Younger firefighters are generally in better physical condition. They will do well in high impact areas of the community where the job is very physically demanding. In addition, they will usually work out in the station, which can be contagious to the other firefighters. Ultimately they may be the cause of the entire shift working out together.
Younger firefighters are often very concerned about eating properly and are more educated about nutrition. Quite commonly, older firefighters pay little attention to healthy eating in the fire station. A younger firefighter may educate the crew about eating turkey burgers instead of ground beef, or on the importance of taking vitamins.
Additionally, hiring younger firefighters minimizes the chances of hiring an employee with a pre-existing injury. It is true that a pre-employment medical exam will identify many of these injuries; however, with the implementation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, agencies are not failing nearly as many candidates as in years past. Since many candidates have successfully litigated and won a job, medical disqualifications have become less frequent.
The converse to these potential benefits is the fact that a younger candidate has spent the majority of his or her life at home with minimal responsibilities. Predictably, this will not be well received in a fire station. This is especially true since it is expected that the rookie is the one who makes sure all of the little things are done around the station. These are the same things that mom did at home for him or her.
Another factor when dealing with “younger” candidates is the fact that they are going to be living and working with mature (relatively speaking) adults. It can be difficult for a younger person to fit in with a group of older adults, especially firefighters.
Fitting in is difficult to begin with, especially when you consider that a respected member of the crew may have been moved to another station to make room for the new firefighter. The displaced crewmember probably contributed to the chemistry and cohesiveness of the crew, and now an “outsider” has been assigned.
Maturity is an important quality for a young firefighter. Since he or she has usually led a sheltered life while in college or living at mom and dad’s, it is likely that the rookie simply does not have extensive life experience. Imagine what you were like 5 years ago. How about 10 years ago? How much have your values and work ethic changed? I guarantee you are a different person. You have matured by virtue of your life experiences.
An older applicant, on the other hand, will usually fit in much better than a younger one. He or she has spent years in the work force learning what it takes to get along, and has learned acceptable social behavior through “life experience.”
Many departments prefer “older” candidates to younger ones. Since these departments are looking to hire firefighters with life experience, older candidates fit the bill. An older candidate will do whatever it takes to earn (and keep) the job. A candidate with more work experience may have a greater appreciation of his or her new job on the fire department.
Many older candidates have worked in a variety of difficult jobs. These range from roofing, carpentry, plastering or working behind a desk in corporate America. All of these jobs may include long hours, inadequate pay, little or no medical benefits, minimal flexibility, poor job security and, oftentimes, minimal job satisfaction.
A career in the fire service offers good pay and benefits, job security and retirement as well as job satisfaction. Hiring a more mature firefighter gives you a rookie who feels like he or she got a new lease on his or her employment life.
Older firefighters usually bring a lot to the job. If they have spent their lives working in the trades, they bring knowledge of plumbing, electrical and carpentry, as well as the skills of using various hand and power tools.
Most importantly, older firefighters generally fit in with the crew more easily than younger firefighters. Their life experience gives them a strong platform on which to base their career.
A candidate who is considering leaving an established job has a lot to lose. Add a mortgage payment, a spouse, and a couple of children to the equation, and this candidate has a lot on the line. The candidate is taking a pay cut, losing benefits and most importantly, losing job security. It is not likely that an employer will give an employee back his or her job after leaving it.
People who have a lot at stake make terrific employees. It doesn’t matter how hard things get, he or she is going to have the drive to succeed. There is just too much to lose.
As you can see, there are benefits to hiring both younger and older candidates in the fire service. My personal belief is that most fire departments prefer to hire rookie firefighters who are in their late twenties to early thirties. Being married and owning a home strengthens their profile. Having a couple of children completes the equation.
This is not to say that candidates in their early 20’s or early 40’s will not be considered; they will simply have to demonstrate that they are the exception to the rule. It’s up to the candidates to demonstrate that their personality traits, maturity and experience make them the best choice for the job. A fire department will consider much more than age when making a hiring decision.
07-30-2006, 08:25 PM #8
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
I have been on a very transitional department for the last 4 years. We have an intern program which brings in applicants from the ages of 18 to 35. The idea is to train them to be career firefighters. We have placed over 100 firefighters all accross the country. It has been my experience that the 28+ recruits are more successfull in the firehouse then thier younger counterparts. I have however; seen a few very good 18 year olds. Its all about motivation. I beleve that a good firefighter/recruit can be 18 or 32 as long as they are motivated. Like Chief Lapore said often times older candidates are more motivated because they know and have worked the alternitave. We attract mostly candidates with litle or no experience so your situation is a little different. But, I can tell you many stories of career firefighters who didn't enter the service until after age 30. Good luck and remember you can't win if your not in the game. K.C.
08-03-2006, 04:42 PM #9
- Join Date
- May 2006
We know of someone who got hired for the first time at age 55.
08-04-2006, 06:35 AM #10
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
They just hired a guy in my area fire department that was 58.
08-05-2006, 11:42 PM #11
I did a state fire academy at 37 and am working very hard to get hired at 38.I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.
08-15-2006, 11:08 PM #12
Throw away the walker and put in your application...
Old? What is old? It's not a number, it's a state of mind. I didn't decide I wanted to be a firefighter until I was 37. I quit my career of 15 years, started working as an EMT full time, started medic school, and started looking for a job.
I never once questioned my age, and neither did anyone else. I could physically and mentally do the job and that's all that counts to me and them.
I got hired the month before my 38th birthday and went to the academy three months before my 39th. And I wasn't even close to being the oldest guy in my class. HE was 49, and outworked just about everyone under 30 in the class.
So, if you want to get hired, go for it. Figure out what you need to do to get hired and do it. For me, it was medic school. For you, it might be something else that sets you apart from the herd.
Good luck, and if you want to chat about it, with a fellow Connecticut resident, drop me a note.
08-16-2006, 04:41 PM #13
- Join Date
- May 2005
- Lexington, MA
I am 52 and a member of a couple of auxiliary fire departments. I thought of being a firefighter but never did anything about it. If I had it to do all over again I would have sought a firefighters job at 21. That said the guy who got hired at 55.. You are my hero.
08-19-2006, 03:12 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
We have hired several people in their 40's. We are more concered that you can do the job than your age. At this time we are having trouble getting young people who are commited enough to pass the test. Go for it...
08-20-2006, 12:35 PM #15
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Is Age a Factor in Hiring?
It’s not uncommon to see candidates in their late thirties or forties hired. I encourage candidates to focus on the personal life experience when answering questions in the oral board. No one else can tell your stories where your have been. Over age thirty candidates have life experiences younger candidate can’t match.
When any candidate answers a question and laces it with a story that demonstrates they have lived the experience, they separate themselves from the other "Clone" candidates.
Here is a testimony from one of my over 40 years old energizer bunny candidates that kept going and going and going when others would quit:
Don’t miss the last sentence!!!!!!!
Indiscribable Thanks Captian Bob:
I have arrived at the moment, that before now was only realized in my dreams, that was the day I received “the call” informing me that I had been chosen as one of the fourteen candidates to start the academy for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue!
I am very fit. I work out 5 days a week and have for years. I have my EMT-Intermediate Certification and a burning desire to become a firefighter since I was 10 years old. Some times life seems to get in the way of our dreams and plans, but I have learned only if you let it! Three years ago I decided to go for my dream career, I had done everything I knew I could do to physically be ready for this demanding job, but I was oblivious to the testing and hiring process. That is when I came across your web site. I followed your advise to the letter throughout the process from testing to oral interviews and the psych. Your insight is right on the mark!
Low and behold I am poised to start my dream career! Thank you is not enough to express my heart felt gratitude for your help in getting me to this place in life. I look forward to meeting you in person some day to say “thanks”. Ted R. Las Vegas Nevada
Ted was number 3 on the list, an EMT and FORTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD! He also scored higher than his Son on the same list and got the job. Bravo!_____________________________________________
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
Fire "Captain Bob"
09-15-2006, 09:41 PM #16
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
never too old
I just got hired on at the age of 39 in a dept. it took me 4 years and i can't complain. never never give up. cpat, all i can tell u is train train go to the orientation the state of CT puts on it is very informative, most of the people that fail are the ones that don't go to the orientaion. I also used Capt. Bob's CD and it helped me get the job! 3 months latter I got another offer from a different dept. I am staying with my department here. I went 4 years without anything now with the CD I get 2 offers in less then 6 months and made it to the top 10 on 2 other lists!!!!
Last edited by sparky472; 09-16-2006 at 10:56 PM.
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