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Posted: 6/2/2003 10:14:31 AM EDT
What sort of training is required? What is the work like? Is it all just being a normal person until you get called in for a fire, or are there times when you have to be at the station waiting for something to happen? There are 4-5 departments in a 6 mile radius of my town, how do I choose a good one to look in to? Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 10:54:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 7:20:38 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/3/2003 8:27:46 PM EDT
Here in Kalifornia we require that you first apply as prospective volunteer(we are all part time paid shift firefighters, but are called a volunteer dept.), pass an oral board examination, physical agility test, and detailed background investigation. Upon passing the background you are offered conditional position as probationary firefighter. You then take a physical exam, cardio screening, tb test, hearing and vision. Results are sent to Occumed and they notify the dept. if you are suitable for the job. You then serve one year as probationary FF no matter what experience and background you have. During that time you need to become first responder in medical training and on to EMT if possible. We have 3 hour drills every week and additional training at other times. You are expected to attain your FF 1 certificate or graduate from basic volunteer academy as well. We all carry pagers on a central dispatch channel as well as digital display units. We are on duty 24 x 7 if you are in town and are expected to respond to all calls. We also bid for shifts and work the station for hourly pay. In addition I get paid $20.00 per call when I respond to the station and for attending training drill. We do require you live in town to be a member. Cheers and good luck, I have been doing it for 16 years and love every minute of it.
Link Posted: 6/4/2003 4:42:12 PM EDT
In Ohio, you generally have to live or work in the district you join. There is a 36 hour class for volunteer firefighters, and the professionals require a longer class, around 100 I think. The work is the hardest job you never got paid to do, but it is fulfilling to some degree. I don't get as much charge as some, but I firmly believe that a man owes it to the community to do something for his neighbors. Sometimes you see bad things, but when you can make a difference it is worth it. Try for EMS also; it's a blast as well.
Link Posted: 6/14/2003 8:38:18 PM EDT
Requirements are really state specific. IL no longer has a FFI - it was nicknamed the "this is a hose, spelled H-O-S-E" class. It was around 80 hours, IIRC, including how to put on your gear, etc. The next step was FFII (national FFI)(240 hours, class and practicals), and the third was FFIII, (Nat'l FFII) which involves a lot more exams, practicals, and theory. IL also has a statute that allows the [b]A[/b]uthority [b]H[/b]aving [b]J[/b]urisdiction (AKA the Fire Chief) a lot of leeway in determining who is "at an acceptably trained level" for interior FF ops. We have some guys on my VFD who have no paper, but have attended regular, documented training for 15 or 20 years. They're fine inside, but would be insufficiently credentialed in the full-time world. The work? Fire don't care if you're makin' a million an hour, or doin' it for love, baby. The only difference is (typically) places go to full-time because the call volume overwhelms the part-time nature of a volunteer/call service. It's hot, dirty, wet, choking, gross, sad, funny, whup-yer-ass-when-yer-down-already, and, if you're the type who can handle it, quite possibly one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Not everybody can disregard thousands of years of evolution and learned muscle memory and go [b]into[/b] a burning building. Firefighters do it anyway. Depends on the department SOP's. Some have "standby" or "duty" times, usually during typically busy periods (i.e. Fri & Sat nights). Interview the departments. Ask the Chief for permission to talk to the members (if you can't find the watering holes for the specifice depts., or don't personally know any members). Aks them what they like about their dept. and job, and what they hate. If they option is open, choose the place where people are the happiest, or, more precisely, where you think you'd be the happiest. And don't worry - FD's have a high turnover rate - people who decide to do the job eleswhere, or get out of the biz completely. We had a mass exodus to a neighboring FD when a long-time engineer who returned after a hiatus got snubbed on the LT exam. And remember [soapbox] there are folks who join the FD for social reasons, those who koin for political reasons, and those who join to fight fires. Find the "pumpheads". Pick their brains. Listen. Learn your vehicles and equipment. Knowledge is power, but knowing the ins and outs of this job is a lot more essential than knowing about Mitzi Cunningham's BBQ. It could just save your life (or your rep).
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