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Old 01-31-2004, 05:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Location: Montreal , Quebec
Any firemen in here?

In a wake of depression i have been thinking to myself that i would like to become a fireman. I was wondering if there are any on TFP that could give me some more information on the athletic requirements, basic information and the such on fireman life. Im excited in hearing about this.. maybe this is what i want to do with my life , help other people.
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Old 01-31-2004, 08:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: CA
that's a noble ambition, I'd guess you'd want to try calling the local fire department and ask them what you need to do. I remember the last time my local department had positions to fill there were over 200 applicants waiting, it's not an easy job to get. It might be easier to try volunteering first and build up some experience and get used to the kind of work involved.

there are others here who are better suited to answer your question than I, but I think your first step is to find some stuff out for yourself.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Rich Wannabe Hippie Town
My brother-in-law is one. It's a hard job to break into, but if you get some schooling first (take classes through community college, help with fire reserves or a volunteer department) and are willing to move to where the work is early in your career, you can get in. My BIL had to move a few hundred miles for his first job, but after he got a couple of years' experience he was able to get a job back in our area.

You have to be in pretty good shape to get in, but you don't have to be superman. The joke is, once you're in you can pretty much let yourself go to pot and nobody'll say anything. Like my brother-in-law, who's got such a huge pot-belly now that his back is constantly killing him.

My BIL, and the few other firemen I've met, are basically guys who like action and like getting their adrenaline up. There are fires of course, but depending on your locality there may also be medical emergencies, and a whole lot of stressed-out people to deal with. The BIL was having some health problems, but he wouldn't transfer from the ghetto area stations to the quieter, suburban stations because he liked action too much. They're not all like him, but most people don't become firemen because they like sitting around....

Different fire districts have different rotations. Some do 24 on/24 off for several days, then give you three days off. Some departments do several days on, several days off. It can be kinda hard on family life, but not as hard in some ways as being a cop because cop life can wear a guy down and make him bitter and hard to live with, while most fireman are really _into it_ and like their lives. My brother-in-law, for example, has a whole room devoted to firefighting collectables, equipment, and so on.

One thing I noticed about my BIA is that he could always take time to go off on a trip when he wanted to, because he and his coworkers constantly trade shifts. So if he needs two weeks off at the end of the month, he can work extra shifts for some other guys, and they'll cover him later. Like I say, this kind of arrangement can be hard on the spouse and kiddies unless you all have some kind of special arrangement. The BIL and my sister have no kids, and she's kind of independent anyway, so it works out. Also, she's the one who really likes to travel, so she understands if he works a lot of extra shifts to build up time. And if she really needs to see him, she stops by the station.

And it can be dangerous. My BIL almost died once that I know of -- got out of a burning building about one second before the floor he was on reached flast point after stupidly ignoring the recall signal. And I knew this woman firefighter, a competitive bodybuilder with a really strong build, who had her back (and a few other things) broken when another fireman fell off a roof and landed on her. She had to retire on disability. She had been so muscled up that her spine was fairly well protected, and the break didn't permanent damage her spinal cord. But she never really walked right after that -- kinda painful to watch. Keep in mind, these things can happen.

Last edited by Rodney; 01-31-2004 at 10:50 PM..
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
* * *
 
You might try wildland firefighting in the summers, they always need people for that. It pays very well. I have many friends who have done that and they have a lot of good stories. That doesn't give you an answer into breaking into firefighting as a career, but it might give you a taste of whether you'd like it or not (though wildland firefighting is very different).
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Old 02-01-2004, 10:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Columbus, Ohio
I knew a volunteer firefighter that was a sack of fat. Really nice guy though.
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Old 02-01-2004, 09:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Where the night things are
Not sure what standards Canada adheres to. In the US, the NFPA basically writes the rules that govern the fire service. The 1001 standard speaks of the minimum physical and training qualifications for a firefighter. Beyond that are 1002, vehicle rescue technician, hazardous materials response, EMS, and so forth.

You have to be something of an adrenaline junkie, as posted above. The ability to not have the filth, depravity, and human suffering that you see on the job mess you up internally, or be something that you take home to your SO and family is essential, also.

The friendships formed will last a lifetime, you'll learn stuff about yourself you might not have known, and you'll see things you want to put in a box in a dark corner of your head.

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2004, 03:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: in a golden garden of grey
I give five stars to each and every firefighter.
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Old 02-02-2004, 03:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
Banned
 
Location: central USA
i have a good friend who is a fire fighter...
it's a tough job... lots of down time countered with high energy crazy "jump in an instant" stress time...
lots and lots of medical calls... car accidents, etc...
a noble profession... not easy to be selected for either... at least where we live... physical and psychological testing up the yin-yang...
good luck if you decide to go for it...
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Old 02-04-2004, 09:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: The capital of the free world??
Here in Maryland there a Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, run by the University of Maryland, where firefighters go to get certified and stuff. There's something like that for every US state, and it might be similar in Canada. That might be a good place to start looking for info.
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