1. #1

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    Question Does anyone know of a firefighter that has a stutter?

    Ive always wanted to be a firefighter and this past month I have finally started to get the ball rolling and was able to set up a gameplan last night with a local fire chief that was so incredibly helpful and nice. He mentioned he didnt know if they would let me in because I have a severe stutter, he told me to look into "NFPA 1001" and check with the ADA. The only thing I can find from ADA is that a potential firefighter once sued the state of Ohio after he failed his oral interview due to his stutter. Supposedly he won the case but was not able to use that to be a firefighter as there was no proof that was the reason he failed his oral interview. I desperatley would love to be a firefighter, but from what I understand there is little to no chance I could become one due to my stutter which is worse in interviews because Im nervous. However in the most stressful of situations it seems to get better. Sorry for such a long post, Ive been browsing the forums for the past few weeks and its all been so helpful, but I was just hoping if any of you had met a firefighter who had a stutter or even knew if it was allowable. Basically every job I would love I cant do because of my stutter so I was hoping this wouldnt be another one, but if it was I would fully understand as persons lives would depend on me. thank you for the time to read this and respond.

    tyler

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    I guess I have to take it as a no. Thank you to all who took the time to read my topic, even the idea of people making an attempt to help is very appreciated.

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    I know a firefighter and a sheriff deputy who both have a pretty severe stutter. It doesn't prevent them from performing their duties in any way.

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    Tyler,

    Dont ever let anyone tell you you cant do something because of a stutter. Just give it your all and try. Take tests all over and if you pass the written you will get a shot in the oral. Practice the oral and pre-emp the board by using the stutter to your advatage. Tell them you have a stutter and you what you have been though because of it and the man it has made you today.
    Try thats all you can do!! If you dont try you will regret it for the rest of your life.

    And Yes I know a few firefighters with a stutter and they get by.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with the poor timid spirits, who know neither victory nor defeat." FDR

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    There was a guy in our department who, I've been told, had a pretty difficult stutter. He retired before I came on, and I've never met him, but from what I've heard he was a fine firefighter. Not only did he get on, but was promoted to either lieutenant or captain, which of course means a lot of radio time. There are a fair share of funny stories, and he had a lot of fun with them as well, but everyone who I've heard talk about him did so with a lot of respect.

    One of the stories involved the officer in question responding to a call with his engine company and discovering that the "customer" had a stutter. The "customer" got angry and took a swing at the officer because he thought that he was being made fun of.
    The opinions expressed in this post are well-reasoned and insightful. Needless to say, they are not the opinions of the government that I work for.

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    You can be like Mel Tillis and sing your way through.

    No, on a serious note, just get back with that chief if that is in your town and see if he will do a practice interview with you. That way you will be more comfortable and know what to expect. As was said earlier all you can do is try. That way you will know for sure. Good luck.

    T.J.

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    One of the most respected and knowledgeable officers in my career department has a stutter. I wouldn't call it severe, but it does happen often. He doesn't let it stop him from instructing classes for both the recruits and the incumbent members of the department. In fact, once you've heard him stutter a couple of times, you don't really even notice it anymore.

    Move on with your dreams and wishes, and let us know what we can do to help...
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 03-29-2007 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Grammar

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    Lt. Ba Ba Booker has a hard time calling for the boo- boo-boooooster. Especially when it was his truck on fire at the parking lot of fire station 10.
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    A very close friend of mine whom started about the time same as I did, has a pretty productive studder. It comes and goes, I've never heard him studder over the radio though. No one has ever mention it in relation to qualification.
    "You choose to go voluntarily into the fire. The blaze might well destroy you. But if you survive, every blow of the hammer will serve to shape your being. Every drop of water wrung from you will temper and strengthen your soul." Margaret Weis


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    I know more than a few guys that stutter. Some of the finest firemen you could ask for.

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    Jimmy, register on this site so you can get a PM (private mail) box and I'll send you some info on our department. We will be picking up around 100 employees in the next year or so. And don't be nervous at your interviews. Just keep it in the back of your mind that you already have a job and this one would be nice but not necessary. Another thing to key in on is the fact that most of the people you are sitting in front of come from different departments and are unfamiliar with the department you are applying for. So from that standpoint you are all equals. No sweat bro!
    IAFF

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    Tyler,

    I know a wildland firefighter that has a severe stutter. He is a type 3 incident commander and a division supervisor. He was a training officer until he was bumped up the ladder to a FMO. He is one of the best instructors I have had the opportunity to learn from. He is a great asset to firefighting and to his community.

    Please do not let people stop you from being what ever you want because you stutter. I grew up around several people that stuttered. I worked with a guy that stuttered when I was in college. I cannot remember a time when anyone's stuttering was an issue or caused a problem. Good luck.

    Brad

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    tyler, I dont know any firefighters that have a stuttering problem but i do know you can cut down on how bad your stutter is or even get rid of it altogether. Check locally for speech lessons. When i was very young i had a bad speech impairment. I talked like people talk when they are underwater. throughout elementary school i went to speech classes and i was fixed of my impairment.

    It does not matter your age, you can get it taken care of and never make something like that stop you from getting your career.

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    I have a friend who has a stuttering problem. In 1986, he was hired by the Syracuse Fire Department. He went through the academy and graduated at the top of his class of 16 recruits. Shortly after graduating, he was fired because it was said that his stuttering could put other firefighters in jeopardy if they couldn't understand him verbally during dangerous situations.

    After a long 7 year battle, he was reinstated as a Syracuse firefighter. Under the settlement, both the County and the City paid him $5,000, and the city agreed to rehire him at a salary higher than the normal entry level firefighter salary.

    Although he was brought back on, he is a firefighter assigned to the training division. To my knowledge, he has never been assigned to any fire apparatus during his career, and he still works out of the training division.
    Chris Shields
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    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

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    Dont know any firefighters with a stutter, but I worked with a Warrant Officer (armoured) who had one. As bad as it sounds, there was always a lot of humour to be had when he tried to make radio calls.

    He worked in Reconnaisance Squadron, and his call sign was 44A. C/S 4 is the Squadron Commander.

    "Fffffff ffffff Four... Tttthhhhiiii.... thiiiisssss is.....Ffffff FFfffour Ffff.... Awe %uick it! You know who I am." That came out during a Division level exercise, through the main command channel.
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    Tyler, No one is perfect in the fire service. Practically every firefighter has something quirky about themselves. I have co-workers who not only stammer, but speak with a lisp, talk in their sleep, sleep walk,snore,and grind their teeth. We do however draw the line at bedwetters. If stressful situations help allieviate your stutter, then try putting a black widow down your pants, just before your interview. Good luck friend, you have no worries. P.S. One would never guess you stutter,after reading your articulate post.

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    How your stuttering affects your chances of getting on the job really depends on how severe it is and where you are applying.

    As someone mentioned a few messages back, a department with non-emergency jobs in a training division might be able to bring you on there as a "reasonable accomodation" under ADA. However, a smaller department where everyone is expected to perform emergency duties may not be required to take you on if your stuttering is severe.

    FWIW, I worked for a while with a POC firefighter with a moderate to severe stutter. He was a nice kid but, in his particular case, I never did feel that he belonged on the fireground. His stuttering frequently rendered him unable to communicate effectively and it tended to get worse the more urgent the communication. That's just not acceptable.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 03-30-2007 at 03:29 PM.
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    I am a stutterer and though I wouldn't classify my stuttering as severe, it nonetheless is very real. I have found that with few exceptions my stuttering has not hindered me. The only time that it comes into play is if I have to speak off the cuff. I have found that I can control the stuttering by preparing myself. Targetted selection interviews I must admit have been a particular trouble area but you live with it.

    One thing that has worked for me is that I took up competitive public speaking. Check out your local Toastmaster or similar organizations, they will be a great help to you if you wish to improve your speaking skills. They may not turn you into a Silver Tongued Devil, but you will learn tricks which will help overcome your disability.

    By the way, I am now in my 27th year as a career firefighter, so take it from me. Don't let your stuttering hold you back!

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    Quote Originally Posted by manofire2 View Post
    I am a stutterer and though I wouldn't classify my stuttering as severe, it nonetheless is very real. I have found that with few exceptions my stuttering has not hindered me. The only time that it comes into play is if I have to speak off the cuff. I have found that I can control the stuttering by preparing myself. Targetted selection interviews I must admit have been a particular trouble area but you live with it.

    One thing that has worked for me is that I took up competitive public speaking. Check out your local Toastmaster or similar organizations, they will be a great help to you if you wish to improve your speaking skills. They may not turn you into a Silver Tongued Devil, but you will learn tricks which will help overcome your disability.

    By the way, I am now in my 27th year as a career firefighter, so take it from me. Don't let your stuttering hold you back!

    Bro, I'm sure you just made the young lads day. Hearing from a veteran firefighter who also stutters (studders?), will boost his confidence immensley. The handful of guys who stuttered on my job are now retired, but as active members they all instructed one discipline or another.The only down side was a 4 week first responder recert. took 4 months. BCNU man! p.s. Does this mean that you're eligible for those 'other' olympics?

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    Cool Studders......

    I occasionally studder at work....... not really sure why. My current Captain studders, honestly the only real time it disrupts the job is when he is giving his on scene reports, other than that it doesn't interrupt our operations. He is one of the better Captains that I have had the priviledge of working for. I also know a FF/PM that studders..... no problem there either, unless he's talking on the radio or giving a call in to the hospital. I've learned that by saying things or reading items in a rythmic way, it cures my studdering.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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    The code enforcement official for our county from the State of Ohio Fire Marshals office has a severe stutter. He is very knowledgable and a stand up kind of guy. Whenever I need an interpretation, I give him a call and he doesn't mind. Always very friendly. My point is your speach impedement should never get in the way and hold you back. Just my thoughts.

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    i got hired just over a year ago and i have a stutter. i think i was able to control it during the interview so it wasn't too noticable. however, in daily station life it comes and goes, especially like somebody else mentioned when they have to speak "on the cuff" or without really thinking through what you want to say. there are plenty of times when we are joking around the station that i want to throw something in the conversation but i don't, b/c i know that i'm going to stutter. when talking on the radio, i always think about what i'm going to say before keying up the mic, so i think that helps alot. if you want to know anymore, feel free to send me a private message.

    most importantly, don't let this get in your way of your dream. reach for the stars!

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    A firefighter from a neighboring town is a part time ff who has a stutter. Very good firefighter and EMT. Another guy I know is the former Fire Chief of Wisconsin Rapids, WI Fire Department. Was Chief for several years and recently retired. Very good guy and did public speaking even. He knew it and even made jokes about it.

    Both of them have never let it affect their job performance.
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    I just wanted to post again to thank you all so much for all of your kind responses. They really do mean a lot to me. I am overwhelmed that so many of you would take a small, albeit considerable portion of your day to write something to build me up. I truly value all the information you all have passed on to me. After reading through all this and spending many hours of studying what I have, I do fear my speech problem may be too severe to help int he way that I would like to. I went to speech classes from as early on as possible (I believe pre-school, but I am unsure of the specific dates) and I continued the classes through high school. Unfortuanetley the classes werent able to help me in my situation just as the in-ear speech trainer wasnt able to help me. I wont let my speech keep me down, and those of you who had such kind, inspirational things to say to me, can know that in a way they helped with that. I do fear that my speech can be so severe that it could heighten a form of emergency in one way or another, and I could never live knowing that my disability to speak caused in part an injury, or worse, to someone. I hope someday to maybe be a volunteer firefighter, or just help emergency services in some way.
    If someday, I am able to get past my impedement, I hope to gain employment as a firefighter, but after all my research I feel that it could potentially be a disservice to someone to have me on staff. Currently I have a pretty annoying job (Retail Store Manager) that requires me to answer phones for a long portion of the day, and as I always stutter on my name and if I can help them, I do get a lot of negative comments. A lot of these comments for years have brought me down, or made me into a tough, more aggresive person, but I believe, if nothing else, I have taken away something from this forum, as it as helped me see how others can view the situation. I don't think I am saying what I want to as clearly as I would like to right now. But just to re-iterate, I jsut want to say thank you. Wether out in the field, or in your spare time, you all have helped people out of the kindness of your hearts, and for that I hope you all take something positive and can be proud. I hope someday to raise a good firefighter as nice as most of you have been.

    Thank you,
    Tyler C.

  25. #25
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    Yep. Me.

    I was also in classes since pre-school. It turns out I also had a 25% hearing loss in both ears.

    Some days it's BAD, just call me porky pig. Other days you can't even notice.

    I don't think it affects my job performance much.

    While sometimes difficult, I still managed to accomplish somthing.

    I completed the academy, got my associates degree and now working on my BS. I am now a part time firefighter where I started as an explorer in 1999 and was even hired as a public safety officer where I go to school. On my FD, I also became an explorer advisor.

    I just taught a class on portable extinguishers to campus housing and public safety staff today. I also became a teaching assistant for the academy class.

    You can probally do it too.

    Let me know if you need anything else.

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