Thread: Too young ??

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Riverview MI

    Question Too young ??

    I am 18 years old and plan to take Toledo's test in June (Minimum age is 18, and you need a drivers license and high school diploma).

    Although I have been through a Fire Academy at a community college to be Fire I & II certified, and will have my National Registry EMT-B in March, does anyone think that my age will still hurt my chance of getting high enough on the list to get the job?

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area


    As long as you can present your package at the oral board, age should not be an issue. The problem is many younger candidates don't think they have the life experience needed. First you never tell the board your age.

    I gave a presentation at Shasta Fire College. Many students didn't feel they had any experience that would apply to the position. That was until I asked several candidates to tell me about their first and succeeding jobs in life; no matter how menial it seemed. Many had paper routes, mowing lawns and working at Burger King. O.K., what did you learn? Once the answers started flowing, we heard how they learned to work hard, have responsibility, learn customer service and how to work as a team. Did you participate in sports in school? Isn't that working as a team. Do any of these areas apply to the fire service? You bet! So any time you can relate your personal life experience in answering an oral board question, you are telling the oral board that you not only know the answer the question, you have already lived it!

    When the board asks what you have done to prepare for the position, don't forget to rewind the video tape of your life and create an early trail of how you learned how to work hard, have responsibility, and work as a team.

    The biggest part of getting a high enough oral board score that will get you the badge is convincing the oral board you can do the job before you get it. Stories are convincing evidence that you are the match for the badge!

    Our department have an exployers program. They were too young to test. They worked hard like you. At Oakland's badge ceremony I attended one of the fire scouts got a badge on the first test he was old enough to take. You have never seen a happier rookie firefighter.

    As we all know . . .Nothing counts 'til you get the badge . . . Nothing!

    "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"

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    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.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Pleasanton, CA

    Default Young

    You need to build the physical strength to be a firefighter in addition to study and other preparation. Start strength training right now! The biggest mistake people make is to put that on the back burner and try to get into shape "later". The kind of strength you will need takes years to build!

    Start with major muscle group work. Say: MWF: push ups and pull ups, plus abs Tu/Th Sat.: Leg press, leg curls and lag extensions followed by sprint intervals.

    Also, Weight vest work on a step mill is great! Be safe, be careful... try this, and once you get to the end of it, maintain with the last work out twice a week!

    Step Mill Training- by Dr. Jen

    No matter how hard you train for the stair climb, your legs will feel like rubber when you're through. The time it takes to recover from this depends on your fitness level and your V02 Max. VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can process in order to feed your muscles to do work. In tests like the CPAT, if your VO2 Max is not high enough, you simply fail. Your legs may give out, or worse, you may become injured.
    To avoid these pitfalls, you must train properly!
    Gradually pushing up your limits over time can allow your body to compensate a little bit each time. This allows your heart and lungs to get stronger each time, thus preparing you for more, harder work the next time.
    This is an event that is really easy to train for. You simply need a road-map of how much weight to use when, and a plan of how to safely increase resistance and duration. You really do need a weight vest for this. They are sold at
    Remember that training on the step mill is only part of the training process necessary for training for the CPat. Your legs need to be trained with medium to heavy weights. This step mill training plan is only a very small part of the bigger picture. If all you do for your legs is this training plan, you will probably fail the CPat.
    Warning! Many people train with a back pack full of sand, or by carrying a weight plate. Don't do this! It changes the biomechanics, and puts your spine at risk! It causes small amounts of injury each time you do it. This adds up, and will cause you problems in the future. As you age, you are much more likely to hurt your back. These sorts of injury are often career changing, if not career ending! Use a weight vest!
    Another Warning! See your physician before beginning any exercise program! If at any time, you feel dizzy, sick, or sore for more than 48 hours in one particular area, stop doing the offending exercise! Ask your doctor’s opinion! Remember that no everyone’s body is intended for these uses!
    Watch your Achilles tendons!
    Make sure when you step up onto that next step each time, that your feet hit the step in this order: heel-ball-toe, then push-off. Do not do this training on the balls of your feet, or with your heels hanging of the stairs as you step. This will lead to injury of your Achilles tendon(s).
    Special Cases: Big feet or no Step Mill
    Remember, there are cases when some people cannot train on a step mill, but must use something to simulate it. These limitations might be: your feet are too big for the mill’s steps or lack of equipment.
    In either case, I recommend a step used for aerobics or a stair at home. The step should be should be 8-9 inches high. This means you will have to step up, up, then back down off the back: down, down. Get your whole foot on the step (or on the floor) with each up and down. No heels should hang off. Going up, it will go heel-ball-toe and coming down it will go toe-ball-heel. Change your lead leg each 30 seconds of step training to avoid Achilles stress. Remember, you would count an up-up, then down-down, as one step. You must do 60 of those per minute.
    Tall Buildings:
    I do not recommend using a tall building unless it’s tall enough to keep walking steadily up stairs for 6 minutes without stopping. In other words, don’t choose a place where you have to walk up 2 flights, then walk back down again before you can walk back up. This will do 2 things: 1. it will give your heart rate a chance to slow, thus not training you well. 2. Walking down stairs is not good for your knees. Even if they are young and healthy, why do it? Especially training? You should save those knees for coming down the stairs of a burning building once you have a job- with a person in your arms!
    Step Depth and foot size on test day:
    If your feet are too large for the step mill used in the test, that’s a tough one. You should still not train on the step mill. Use the up and back down off the back method mentioned above. Two days a week after your step training, do some calf raises: start off with 2 sets and work up to 5 sets of 8. Stretch the calf, and the Achilles tendon. That is, do a calf stretch with your knee locked for 30 seconds, then with it slightly bent, foot still flat to the floor for 30 more seconds. This should prep your calves for the actual test without hurting you.
    So what’s the Plan?
    Here’s a plan for you to use. It will take you 11 (plus) weeks to get through it. Train a day on the step mill, and lift weights with your upper body on other indicated days. One thing I would avoid, though, is weight training for your traps specifically during this time. So: don’t do shrugs or upright rows. The weight vest is tough enough on them. I say strongly: some people might also like to lift with their legs stepping days, but it’s too much to cover here.
    This workout is longer than you will be required to do for the step mill on test day. This will make test day easier, plus make you more than ready for the additional demands of test day! For more information on what is expected on test day, read here:
    Make sure you warm up 5 minutes easy on the stationary bike, and stretch after wards- especially your calves!

    Weight Vest Pounds Time: minutes Steps/minute
    Day 1 10 2 60
    Day 2 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 3 15 2.5 60
    Day 4 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 5 15 3 60
    Day 6 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 7 15 3.5 60
    Day 8 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 9 20 3.5 60
    Day 10 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 11 Rest Entire Day
    Day 12 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 13 20 4 60
    Day 14 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 15 20 min . other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
    Day 16 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 17 25 4 60
    Day 18 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 19 Rest Entire Day
    Day 20 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 21 30 4 60
    Day 22 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 23 35 4 60
    Day 24 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 25 35 4.5 60
    Day 26 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 27 Rest Entire Day
    Day 28 35 4.5 60
    Day 29 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 30 35 5 60
    Day 31 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 32 40 5 60
    Day 33 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 34 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
    Day 35 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 36 45 5 60
    Day 37 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 38 Rest Entire Day
    Day 39 45 5.5 60
    Self evaluation: How do I feel? Neck? Knees? Back?
    Day 40 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 41 45 6 60
    Day 42 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 43 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
    Day 44 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 45 50 5.5 60
    Day 46 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 47 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
    Day 48 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 49 50 6 60
    Day 50 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 51 55 5.5 60
    Day 52 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 53 Rest Entire Day
    Day 54 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Self Evaluation: How do I feel? Back? Neck? Knees?
    Day 55 55 6 60
    Day 56 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 57 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
    Day 58 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 59 60 5.5 60
    Day 60 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 61 60 6 60
    Day 62 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 63 Rest Entire Day
    Day 64 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 65 65 5.5 60
    Day 66 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 67 Rest Entire Day
    Day 68 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Self Evaluation: How do I feel? Back? Neck? Knees?
    Day 69 65 6 60
    Day 70 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 71 20 min. other Form of cardio Run, swim, bike
    Day 72 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 73 70 5.5 60
    Day 74 Rest Entire Day
    Day 75 70 6 60
    Day 76 Upper Body Upper Body Upper Body
    Day 77 Rest Entire Day
    Day 78 75 5.5 60
    Day 79 Rest Entire Day
    Day 80 75 6 60

    From here forward, you should be able to be step mill ready if you do the last workout twice a week!

    Best of Luck!

    Dr. Jen

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