1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Firefighter classifications?

    Hello all, well i've been doing alot of reading on what you guys do for a living, and hopefully i too will become a firefighter. I have a few questions i hope you don't mind answering....it may sound stupid but you'll have to excuse me as i am new to this stuff, although i've always wanted to become a firefighter. My question is, what is the difference between Industrial FF, Wildland FF, and Regualar Firefighter??? Is because one pays more than the other? more jobs available? Wildland FF doesnt have to deal with accident scences for those who have weak stomache? etc..? Can someone just go from one to the other or are they completely different and have different training for each specific field? I'm looking to get into the fire academy offered through my local community college let me know if this will be a good for someone starting from scratch. here is the link http://www.fresnocitycollege.edu/fireacademy/

    I know it will be a long and tough journey ahead of me and know it won't be easy, so if any of you can give me some advise and point me in the right direction that would be great, and of course i will be doing alot more reading from this great site here. Approximately how long did it take you guys to become professional firefighters from the very first day of class/training to the day you were hired? please let me know so that i will know what to expect as far as the timeline goes. BTW i'm from California....is there a big demand for firefighters? Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    A wildland FF fights brush and forest fires and works for an agency such as the U.S. forest service. I believe what you call a "regular" FF is a structural FF. Structural FFs are the ones that show up when you call 911. They work for municipalities and many do rescue services also. An Industrial FF generally works for a private company. For example, some large refineries have there own fire depts/brigades to handle incidents that might occur there. They are usually specialized with the type of facilities in their response area. As far as training, Wildland guys are usually trained just for fighting fire involving vegetation. A structural FF generally has a wide range of training including structural firefighting, vehicle extrication, EMT, water rescue, ect..., Industrial guys usually have there training centered around the specific hazards in their area. Pay and run volume depends on the dept and area.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007


    For the most part, everyone in california, whether they are "wildland firefighters" (aka CDF, USFS, BLM, etc) or "regular" firefighters (this would be your city, county, municipal districts) are going to participate in wildland firefighting because of the mutual aid system throughout the state.

    If you're just starting out, look into fire science programs at the local community college, as well as getting your EMT because you will need it to apply for most jobs. CDF and the Forest Service can be great starting opportunities in the fire service, many people even make a career out of it. You should be aware that there will be many more job opportunities in the state if you decide to become a paramedic, but thats not something you should just jump into right away. Most importantly, once you have the certifications that allow you to test for departments, take every test you can to get used to the testing process, because many processes are very similar. Good Luck!

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