1. #1
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    Default Vollie before Career/Paid?

    Just would like you thoughts. I have heard that a lot of times departments do not like to hire volunteers as full time paid firefighters. Or if you mention that you are a volunteer to get experience to become a career firefighter, you become frowned upon. Do you all think there is any truth to this? I would like to volunteer to get experience, but do not want to get a bad wrap for doing it just for the experience. I also want to do it to help the community.

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    Default I did...

    I would highly recommend getting on with a volunteer department...what can it hurt? It shows the people hiring you that you want to do this job bad enough that you will do it for free!! That shows them that you love the job and have some idea of what you are getting into, just my 2 cents...go for it!!

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    i too would also recomend being a volunteer first if the opportunity arises. here are several reasons why: 1) volunteers are always needed. 2) It gets you some experience and an idea of what to expect. After all you may decide that firefighting is not your thing and an 8-5 is. 3) becuase of that experience you have a small selling point in your interview. case in point here is how i answered the question "why do you think you would be a good fire fighter?" my answer: "i know this is a career for me because i have 2 years of experience on a volunteer department that supported a town of 9000 and ran 500+ calls a year. this experience while miniscule to what i would be involved in with xyz department was enough for me to realize i have the ability, skills and knowledge to serve well in the fire service." That is a somewhat summarized version of my answer but you can see where i am getting at.

    Maybe my advice might be helpful as i have just finished the hiring process and am a VERY new member in the academy class of a large department. i am still a rookie so my experience in the interview is fresh in my mind and it seemed to have worked well for me.

    the only thing i must say is when you do get hired.....leave the volunteer department at the door when you arrive at your career department. career departments usually have their own way of doing things that they have tested and worked on for years.

    TWO ears, TWO eyes, one mouth........use them wisely. best advice i have recieved so far.

    if you need anything then send me an PM, this is the best job in the world and i encourage all who desire to be a firefighter.

    trevor

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    I also agree that you should join up. Many of the volunteer department will becomes tommorrows paid departments. Who do you think will get the job A. you with experience working for the department or B. someone who didn't volunteer for them?

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    The vast majority of career firefighters were once volunteers. This is fact! Most paid depts in my area prefer volunteers but some bigger citys sometimes want a green rookie with no previous influence. This attitude is rare but does exist in my area. The point is being a volunteer will help you more than it will hurt you. If you happen to apply to a dept that feels different then adjust your reference to the volunteer service.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    I was a volunteer and also on a paid-per-call department before I got hired in a career department. I will agree with what the others said, go ahead and join your local department. Experience is most always a plus. You'll get to learn many things that will help you in your career. One piece of advice though, if you do get into a career department after being on a different department, keep what you know in your head for awhile. One thing that will really turn off your new co-workers would be to say things like "on my other department we did this". It's best to see how the new department does things, then see if there are suggestions you can make to try to improve things. Good luck in your career!

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    Although I never volunteered, myself and one other guy were the only two in our academy class that had not been volunteers. So it seems to me that it can't hurt. The last 12 or so guys we hired have also been vollies.

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    Talking

    Get into a volly and dept get your feet wet. Take any class they are willing to pay for.A lot of volunteer departments are very progressive when it comes to education. Take full of advantage of it.

    Stay Well, Stay Safe
    Matt
    PWFD
    Local I-69

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    I don't know where you've heard that, but I'm guessing it's BS. I've never heard of any department frowning upon vollie experience. After all, it is experience. I'm guessing 85-90% of the guys where I work came from the vollie end. 50-60% still vollie.

    Get the experience, it will serve you well.

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    Smile

    Hey Brack let me tell you congradulations on your zeal for wanting to join the the brothers and sisters of the fire service. By all means no matter what you hear experiance trumps all. I volunteered for 5 years before I got hired and loved every minute of it. I also continued to do so for a year or so after. I would recommend it but as you heard.

    Leave your vollie dept at the door step of you paid dept. I've run in to guys from my old vol dept that did not know me before hand and they have let the "well we used to do it this way at xyz dept". Needless to say I have pulled them to the side and advised them on there error.

    But other than that just use commen sense and enjoy the knowledge you will be gettting if you so choose. Good luck brother and continue to research your dissicion.
    Last edited by chattfiremike; 03-31-2007 at 05:10 PM.

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    Thanks to all who have responded, I guess I will start volunteering. I was talking with a chief at a small department during a training session for a physical test and he had mentioned that he perfers to have someone green with no experience. It is so he can train them the way he wants to, but that was just one person's opinion. I like your idea's of volunteering, that is the answer I really wanted to hear.

    thanks,

    Brian

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    Thumbs up

    I myself was also a Reserve Firefighter for a mid sized FD in CA. It was the best decision I had made. It not only gives you the hands on experience you cannot put a price on but more importantly gives you the opportunity to work along career firefighters that you will hopefully work alongside someday. You will learn how a FD operates and all of the "unspoken silent" rules you will not find written down anywhere. These are better to learn as a volunteer than as a career probie. That way when you are hired career you will shine.

    Although I wasn't hired where I was a Reserve Firefighter for three years I was picked up by another fire department. It makes your probationary period so much easier.

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