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Thread: Advice

  1. #1
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    I'm 18 years old and just graduated High School in May & have aspirations of becoming a career fire fighter.

    My old town did not have an explorer program so I could never get any experience. I just moved to a new town and was hoping to join my local fire departments explorer program. But, they're at full capacity right now & there is a waiting list of 15 people. The guy in charge of the explorer program told me there is pretty much a 0% chance of a spot opening up before I'm 20 and that's the max age limit. So, I'm kinda stuck here. I tried contacting another local fire department and they do not have an explorer program. I just contacted another, but haven't got a reply yet.

    I plan on taking my EMT & Fire Science courses in the fall, but was really hoping I could get on a departments explorer program so I could learn more about the job and get some experience.

    I'm just working now & staying out of trouble.(I have cut out some of my old close friends who party a lot and do some drugs, I just don't want to risk getting in trouble and having to explain my mistakes when applying for jobs down the road.) I'm also considering volunteering at a hospital so I have less time on my hands & less of a chance of getting in trouble.

    Is becoming an explorer a must though? Is there anything I could be doing in the meantime? When I take my Fire Science classes in the fall is it going to be a bad thing if I'm not on an actual fire department getting experience? I'm kinda stuck and confused.

    Thanks for your time.


  2. #2
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    Explorer programs are usually for high school kids up to the age of 18. Most departments that have explorers will have volunteer firefighters or Reserves. These are for those interested in getting hired in the future who are over the age of 18.

    If you cannot get on the explorers where you currently are at it isn't a big deal. Finish high school and start working towards your Associates degree in fire service technology. Get your EMT certification as well (Preferebly right out of high school). Once your an EMT you can get on with an ambulance in your are gaining valuable EMS experience. When you have your degree, and a few years on an ambulance that will be plenty to get hired.

    In the meantime continue to hound the departments so that you can get on the explorers. If there isn't a possibility just wait untill your 18 and can get into there volunteer or reserve firefighter program.

  3. #3
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    While explorer programs are great, they are by no means a requirement. You plan of getting your EMT and fire science courses is a good one.

    I would encourage you to attend the explorer meetings and help out. Let them get to know you. If you earn a good reputation you will be surprised how quickly you move up on the list. Right now they don't know you. Once they get to know you and see your work ethic you will be viewed in a different light. Remember, you are being evaluated every time you are in their presence.
    Good luck,
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Hey whatsup man. Even though you can't get with a department right now, do exactly what that last guy said and keep showin' up. I'm also 18 and just graduated. Only difference is I only have two classes left until I take all my State EMT tests. It's a six month course that isn't that bad at all. That really sucks that there isn't a department for you that has an opening. I got lucky and got with our volunteer department this early spring. They already got my mandatory training done and I have a few weeks left of my FF1+FF2 training to go. I've heard good and bad about those fire science classes so since you can't get on a department that would definitely be your best bet. So just keep on tryin' man and especially with jumpin' into EMT classes they will realize that your not just some punk kid that wants to screw around all the time. Good luck and hopefully this helped you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BKDRAFT View Post
    Explorer programs are usually for high school kids up to the age of 18. Most departments that have explorers will have volunteer firefighters or Reserves. These are for those interested in getting hired in the future who are over the age of 18.
    I just got this as a response:

    "Negative - We don't have a volunteer firefighter group in the traditional sense any more. Although, there are many ways to volunteer in the City, two of which are related to the fire department. We do have an Emergency Management Agency volunteer group, and a Community Emergency Response Team."

    I have no idea what those are :|, but I guess I have some researching to do and I will end up volunteering with one or both of those.

    Quote Originally Posted by proby77
    Hey whatsup man. Even though you can't get with a department right now, do exactly what that last guy said and keep showin' up. I'm also 18 and just graduated. Only difference is I only have two classes left until I take all my State EMT tests. It's a six month course that isn't that bad at all. That really sucks that there isn't a department for you that has an opening. I got lucky and got with our volunteer department this early spring. They already got my mandatory training done and I have a few weeks left of my FF1+FF2 training to go. I've heard good and bad about those fire science classes so since you can't get on a department that would definitely be your best bet. So just keep on tryin' man and especially with jumpin' into EMT classes they will realize that your not just some punk kid that wants to screw around all the time. Good luck and hopefully this helped you.
    Thanks for the reply.. Did you start your EMT classes while you were still in High School? Good luck man.. Hope you kill those state tests.

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    Start with your EMT-B immediately! Figure out which department you want to work for. Find out what their requirements are for the hiring process. Work towards the requirements. You can never go wrong with a fire science degree. Formulate a plan and set goals. If this is the career you want to pursue then nothing should hold you back. I would not sweat the explorer program at all. If you do have a particular department in mind spend time at different stations asking questions related to that departments hiring process. There is a lot of useful information on the forums you just have to spend the time. Dedication and determination with help you reach your goals! Good luck.

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    Extend your feelers out to other fire departments outside of the circle of where you're already looking. There are many agencies that have volunteers who serve by covering scheduled shifts, either by day or by night. Living in or near the district and being able to respond from home is not always a prerequisite.

    While I agree that getting your EMT and 2 year degree are quite valuable, you are also on target in desiring some actual resumť experience by riding big red trucks and dragging hoses.
    You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently
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    When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution
    and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy. - Dave Barry.

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    Ya I started those tests in February. Two nights a week from 6-10. Wasn't bad but from what I'm hearin' the only way to get hired anywhere is to get your emt and medic cert. Works out good cuz were still 18 and can easily get them done by the age of 21 since noone can apply till then anyway. Later

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidgetStalker View Post
    Start with your EMT-B immediately! Figure out which department you want to work for. Find out what their requirements are for the hiring process. Work towards the requirements. You can never go wrong with a fire science degree. Formulate a plan and set goals. If this is the career you want to pursue then nothing should hold you back. I would not sweat the explorer program at all. If you do have a particular department in mind spend time at different stations asking questions related to that departments hiring process. There is a lot of useful information on the forums you just have to spend the time. Dedication and determination with help you reach your goals! Good luck.
    I'm going to start my EMT classes in the fall. I have to get my financial aid and other stuff straightened out.

    I have a meeting set up in 2 weeks with a consoler & I will have my plan set up & my goals ready.

    I don't really have a department that I want to work for. I guess that might be a good thing to figure out. I want to eventually work for a Chicago Fire Department though. And I know I will have to start off somewhere other than in the city, because the jobs are hard to get.

    Quote Originally Posted by proby77
    Ya I started those tests in February. Two nights a week from 6-10. Wasn't bad but from what I'm hearin' the only way to get hired anywhere is to get your emt and medic cert. Works out good cuz were still 18 and can easily get them done by the age of 21 since noone can apply till then anyway. Later
    Yeah, in the town I'm currently living in you must be a paramedic. They do make very good money out here in these suburbs. Although that doesn't matter too much to me. It would be a real boring neighborhood to work in.

    Are you going to get your paramedic? How long does it usually take to get an EMT-P? And I just noticed from looking at your profile you're only 9 days older than me. lol.

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