1. #1
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    Default Join with asthma?

    Anyone know if you can become a fire fighter with asthma? I became a marine with asthma, so why not right?

    Anyone have any experience?

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    NFPA states that you cannot pass the medical exam for a firefighter position if you has asthma. It is a critical failure in their eyes.

    so it all depends on how closely they follow the NFPA guidelines.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    If you passed MEPS, and USMC Basic Training with asthma, then you should have no problem.

    It all depends on was it childhood asthma, when was your last attack, etc
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    Both my parents have asthma and they were both firefighters. I also have asthma but I am not letting that get in my way. Like BLSboy said it probably all depends on when your last attack was and maybe some of your triggers. Go for it!
    ~But with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26~

    ~The very worst fire plan is no plan. The next worse is two plans. ~

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    If you can pass an annual spirometer test then maybe.

    Where many potential employers (including mine) get a little skittish is when your asthma may lead to a disability retirement. Many states have presumptive illness laws for firefighters and would have to to pay the pension (at least in our system)for a person no longer on the line due to a pulmonary/respiratory issue that was made worst by a pre-existing condition (asthma.)

    It is no different than not hiring someone due to a crummy driving record (speeding tickets, suspended license, DUI, etc...) The potential risk to the employer is not worth it.

    Still good luck in your job hunting.

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    it certainly never stopped me, working as a former structural firefighter, and now a forestry firefighter, i have to pass a yearly pulmonary function test and an annual physical, as well as the fed standard Moderate physical exam (2 miles, 25 lbs, 30 minutes)

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    Heres another question with the same emphasis.

    I got out of the military with honorary discharge but I got a month before hitting my two year mark because I made the mistake of going to the Navy Doc and asking if I could have an inhaler JUST IN CASE I ever get asthma again...


    Will the Fire department be able to see inside my military and medical records?

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    You'll have to fill out an employment history as part of the application process, and when they see that you separated under 2 years they may ask about it. At that point you'll have to tell them why.

    Take tests and try and get hired anyway. If they know about your asthma and still hire you, good for you.

    Good luck.

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    SFD hit your question right on the mark.

    Your asthma isn't something that can have a blanket answer. Each department hires their own people, and each department sets up their own requirements to work, including medical.

    Here, there are some automatic outs, such as being diabetic, being on blood thinners, or having epilepsy.
    If you find a place you would like to work, see if they will provide you with an answer about asthma-anonymously.

    The reason it probably could be an issue is with how it relates to the heart/lung bills many cities and states are a part of.

    Good luck.

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    I have to pass a basic spirometer test (lung capacity) yearly before taking the work capacity test (2/3mile 30/45 lb pack test) as a wildland Firefighter for the state, and that is really the only requirement. In addition, i was a POC firefighter for 8 years, with no problems having asthma. if in doubt, find a pnuemologist and have a lung function exam done, so long as you meet minimum standards (it's in the NFPA health and saftey guidelines) then they really can't say much

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    Well they wont hire you here in IL asthma will get you a job disability. So a city would be taking a huge risk hiring someone who already has asthma. all the person would have to say later is that the asthma is worse and it is because of the job that made it worse.

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    YES YOU CAN. I DID.

    I have allergy induced asthma, and I am a firefighter on a large career department and it has not once held me back. It's all in how you take care of yourself. I stay in shape and try to ensure that when allergies bother me I address it immediately. that contributes greatly to my success. I pass my yearly physical (including spirometer) and stress test easily. I'm 24 and the last time I had an bad asthma episode was 14 years ago. I occasionally get a very, very small feeling of restriction and that has only been during bad allergy seasons. Again if I feel even the hint of restriction I address it immediately.

    So yes it can be done, but I would say if you have chronic asthma that bothers you often, then you might want to investigate further.

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    I am a paid volly ff/emt. When I was 3 years into my fire service I was out on a rescue call involving a snowmobliler in the middle of winter (below zero temps) and I started having troubles breathing. I had never had problems before that so I didnt know what was going on. After lots of tests and different meds I was diagnosed with asthma. I was so afraid I was done in the fire and rescue service but I have managed to control my asthma and I am able to do everything I did before. For me its no different than the 2 knee and 1 shoulder surgeries that I have had, as long as I can still pass all tests and perform my duties then I am pushing on.
    Just a vollies point of view on the topic.
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    A guy in our department got medically discharged from the Air Force because he had mild asthma and did not want to get re-trained into another career field, he wanted to stay in the AF fire service. Guess the AF is a little bit more stringent than civilian departments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianUSMC View Post
    I got out of the military with honorary discharge but I got a month before hitting my two year mark because I made the mistake of going to the Navy Doc and asking if I could have an inhaler JUST IN CASE I ever get asthma again...

    Will the Fire department be able to see inside my military and medical records?
    Yes. You will have to give them written authorization to look into all of your records, medical or otherwise.

    A buddy of mine just got DQ'd because he currently has a prescription for asthma medication and uses a preventative asthma medication daily. He's appealing, but to do so he has to jump through numerous hoops, including getting written clearance from a specialist and retest after being off of medication for four weeks. The HR person at the department says people have successfully appealed asthma DQ's in the past after going through this process.

    On the other hand, I just passed my medical exam with the same dept. and I had asthma all throughout my childhood and adolescence. It's been about 13-15 years since I've had a prescription for any kind of asthma meds and I haven't needed them during that time. I'm 30.

    Good luck, and don't give up.

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    I definately won't give up trying but my fear is that when I check the "do you or have you ever had asthma" box, I"ll automatically be disqualified....

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