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Posted: 12/28/2005 5:06:40 PM EDT
Im 19 and in college, and looking at getting a Business/Econ degree. In the past year I have really started to realise that Fire or LEO is the line of work that I would really enjoy doing. I have thought long and hard about the military(USMC-PLC) but I am leaning hard toward Fire/LEO. Mainly because I want to be able to stay in one area and not worry about getting moved all over the world.

I love anything active, im a workout junkie. I also really do enjoy helping people. I am very patient and have a very slow temper. I think personality wise I would fit in well with either. I am not concerned about pay, I am more concerned with lifestyle. I know that either is tough on marrage but I felt that .mil might have been a little overboard in that aspect.

I have started to explore the Fire/EMS side a bit, and am leaning in that direction. Im a certified FR and voluteer to go asses the really wasted kids that security finds on campus. I like it but I want to get on with one of the local fire depts as a volunteer. I am trying to get on a ride along with the local PD.

To sum it up. I like fire because everybody loves you, 24/48 rocks, and you usually dont get shot at. I dont like it cause I dont get to shoot back, I also dont get to chase down badguys. The bad thing I see about LEO is that everyone basically hates you.

But basically I want to know how well you like your job, and if you could do it over again what you would do differently. I seem to find a good amount of LEOs that are a bit burned out, but every fire guy I talk to loves it. Thanks for any imput!
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:19:43 PM EDT
Love the Fire EMS side. I've known and been friends with many LEOs over the years and it is definitely a different type of individual. Not bad, not better, nor worse, just different. I don't have the temperament to be an LEO. I have the intelligence and skills--both of which are a MUST on both sides, but my personality leans toward Fire. I love our schedule 48/96--yes, two on and FOUR off. I have a lot of friends in Fire who have signed on as reserve officers/deputies in various locations and often serve as their tactical medics on the SWAT team--some like it, some love it, some never go back to fire, and some can't believe they thought they could do both.

My advice: Get some exposure to each side--it's not all roses in either arena. Do some ride alongs with the PD, do some ride alongs with a career FD--it is a different lifestyle than being a volunteer. You sound like you are looking for a career--both have decent pay and great retirements as well as the experience of doing things most people could not even fathom attempting.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 4:15:49 PM EDT
come over to the fire-side. We not only have a great work schedule, we have fun people too. Also keep in mind that every cop secretly wishes he were a firefighter. I love my local PD, they are always welcome to stop by our station for a, ah, potty break, but their job I can do without. I don't want to be shot at, I don't want to wrestle w/ drunks, I don't want to babysit (deal w/ domestics), I don't want to be so closely scrutinized by every dirtbag in the public, i don't want to be stuck alone in a car for hours on end. I appreciate them, i just don't want to be them.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 4:46:41 PM EDT
Everybody loves a fireman and everybody hates a cop.

nuff said.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 5:25:10 PM EDT
I've done both. There are good and bad in each. If I had to do again, I'd would've stayed at the FD.

Ultimately you have to make your own decision
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 5:38:12 PM EDT
You can control yer emergencies a lot more in the fire service then when shitheals are shooting at you! Other than that they both entail a whole lotta BS but have a lot of rewards too. Loook at www.firefighterclosecalls.com to study LODDs and then watch the news for a few days. The idea is to pick a career you can survive
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 9:15:15 PM EDT
As said above get spme expirence in both fields. You could go and work at the local Vol. Fire Dept. If there is an Explorer/Cadet (LEO stuff) program in your area also look into that. Im in an Explorer program right know and it's great.
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 11:11:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sigarkar:
Also keep in mind that every cop secretly wishes he were a firefighter.



Sadly enough, this is a running joke at most departments. I try to get my revenge by waking up the local FD as much as possible at 3am. This always makes me feel better. There are so many varibles to this question, though. Ride-a-longs and getting to know some people on both sides that will tell you the job as they see it, and not just a whitewashed version, but all the other problems. If you're interested, I'm in Central Ohio, IM me and you can come ride at least part of a shift. ( maybe the whole shift if you're not annoying me!)

dp
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 12:57:29 AM EDT
Go with FF if you can.

FF = better schedule, less dangerous (how many die each yr versus LE?), more relaxed work environment, harder to get on full-time.

LE = A little easier to get on than FF, more stress, worse schedule, always watching your back

Cops are like lawyers in one respect = everyone hates us until they need us, then as soon as the situation is over, it's back to normal.

People are always happy to see/deal with FF, not so with LE.

SF
6 yrs LE

Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:16:44 PM EDT
EMT-P for 9 years, hated dealing with crime victims and not get to "do" anything to the perp. Went LE and fixed that, if I gotta be covered in blood it's notgoing to be from the vic.

EMS tries to save the victims, LE takes out the TRASH.

Both have their rewards and equally noble professions.
Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:35:00 PM EDT
Be a fireman, what other job requires you to bring your pajamma's to work?


Link Posted: 1/10/2006 4:42:40 PM EDT
Had that same decision 30 years ago. Go FF, you are the guy that saves people. Even the assholes need someone. Anyway you wear the white hat and everyone loves you. The hours are excellent, the pay is kickbutt, and not but not least FF's get more pie than a LEO.
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 7:59:26 AM EDT
We have several newer members in our Fire Dept. that have jumped ship from the LEO side.....They got "smart" and traded in their guns for pillows!
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 8:25:48 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/11/2006 1:23:59 PM EDT


I was gonna ask which one got more pie but I think NorCal_LEO answered it!
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 3:59:29 PM EDT
I decided to go with EMS as an RN. They make good money, job security is unbelievable, you can work anywhere in the world at a moment's notice, don't need to be tied in to a department, blah blah blah.

I've thought about volunteering with the local PD once I get out of LA but I don't really want to do it here.
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:01:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 9:06:32 PM EDT by tac45]
Well, I'm a fully certified LEO and Firefighter/EMT so I hope I can help a little. 1st I suggest you do plenty of ride time with both to really grasp what you want to do and what suites you.

How I ended up doing both is I entered the LE academy at 19. Graduated top of my class but still found it rather difficult to find a full time job due to being just 19 yrs old( one thing you might wanna consider). Finally I got onto a small agency as a reserve officer. I have all the same powers as a full-time guy and get to attend the same training (actually more than the fulltimers since I dont have to work around a schedule), I just don't get a steady income like they do, however I do get to make my own schedule.

Being LE exposed me to alot of fire department calls, I seen how good they had it with the 24/48 work schedule, the work load,their paperwork. I ended up going to Fire standards and EMT school and have been with the local department for a little over three months as a paid per call FF and love it! I'm just waiting to go fulltime (which by the way is easier to do for a 19 year old in the FD than it is in LE). I should have doe it sooner.

Don't get me wrong, I still love law enforcement and will always serve in some capacity wether it be reserve or what but right now I don't see myself doing it fulltime. For me it's more of a hobbie now and that's how it stays fun for me. If I was to go fulltime it wouldnt be a hobbie anymore, it would become work and I think it would burn me out.

But it really depends on what type of person you are. I know a guy who is triple certified like me and did the reverse. He LOVES LE and can't see doing anything else, but he still volunteers for the FD.

PS. But in true arfcom fashion; Do/get both!
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:10:42 PM EDT
I have been a cop for 20 years and within that time have served in major metropolitan arena as a patrol officer, training officer, Narcotics Detective, and warrants fugitive detective. The job is pretty awesome and the carrer has been good to me even though I tend to stress out some administrators with my pro-active dyanmic approach to cop work.

If I had to do it over again, I would be a firefighter. Chicks dig firefighters!
Link Posted: 1/12/2006 9:43:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/12/2006 9:56:11 PM EDT by sta1treeman]
I am a firefighter, and would have to tell you in the long run that is the better choice. Much better schedule, and everyone loves you, for sure the women, they will take turnouts and an axe, over a blue suit and gun any day. Remember, guys dig guns more than girls do! And when you get a few years on, you got it made, the first few years will be cleaning toilets and all the shit work at the station, but then, before you know it, you will get a few guys under you, and its feet up, and relaxing, until the shit hits the fan. Either way, I can't stress education enough! At first you will just be happy to be hired, and think you could do this ( be the low man) for the rest of your life, but you need to continue your education, and work your way up through the ranks, it will take time, but it will fly by. I will have 15 years, on the 14th of this month and rookie school seems like it ended last week. I am currently a driver, and as far as I'm concerned that is the best job in the dept. I drive to the scene, stay on the truck, and drive back to the station when everything is over. I don't have to get my hands in blood or eat smoke, as often, and as you get older, that means alot. It sounds like you have a good start with your education. With the schedule you will have time to play, or work, you will find that you have to work, because trying to entertain yourself will get very expensive. I also own a convienence store, it does really well, and will give me somthing to retire too. Always plan for your future, as it will be your present before you know it. Just remember both are noble jobs, and it takes a special person to do either, never disgrace yourself, or your dept. Always give 100% to your co-workers, and have a good attitude, be the guy, that everyone misses when your off, Then when it is your time to go, you can hold your head high, and be proud of your career. Plus your buds will through you one hell of a party!
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 10:55:49 AM EDT
Buckeye, have you made a decision yet?
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:12:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 1:17:01 PM EDT by BuckeyeRifleman]

Originally Posted By sta1treeman:
Buckeye, have you made a decision yet?



Yeah, im pretty shure im going fire if I stay a civilain, you guys are pretty convincing. I honestly think it fits my personality better, dad thought I was way to trusting to be a cop. Although marine PLC still has a slight chance, especially if things get ugly in Iran or we get hit with another attack. Im planning on getting my EMT-B cert(already got a FR cert) and maybe trying to get on with one of the local volunteer departments near school.

Thanks everyone for all the advice, I know I've asked a few questions on this board any you guys have always had great responses!
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:28:00 PM EDT
OK, I'll be the dissenter.

I've been a local LEO for eight years, of that six in patrol, and one each in vice/narcs and investigations (burglary and pervert/sex crimes squad). I'm also on the arson investigation callout team which exposes me enough to the firefighting side.

Good bunch of people, but I have absolutely zero desire to be a full-time firefighter. I like the autonomy of working my own investigations by myself, I don't care to see any more burned crap than I have to, and above all, I really like putting people in jail.

To those of you full-time members of our nation's Crime Scene Obliteration Units, thank you for your service and be safe out there.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 4:25:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 11:42:29 PM EDT by sta1treeman]
We do what we can, some times while attempting to save a life, evidence may get compromised. Many detectives hate it when you move a live body from a crime scene, or cut the victims clothing to expose a gunshot wound, even when you cut around the bullet hole. It makes their lives harder. If everyone involved in a crime scene were just dead, they would have a much easier investigation. LEOs, you all have my respect, most of you enjoy interacting with other people, socializing with your co-workers and the public alike. BUT some enjoy Working in total autonomy, and their only social interaction is with criminals, they tend to get cynical. Most people like that, end up moving to the woods, living in a cabin, with no outside communication, and writing crazy letters to news papers about the evils of humanity. Don't spend your life that way. Be able to enjoy helping others, and making a positive influence on their lives, it makes life very rewarding. If you choose law enforcement as a career, don't let the evils of the world warp your mind, and for goodness sakes, when responding with the fire dept. park your patrol car out of the way, so the heros can get their firetrucks up to the scene, and leave the firefighting, and life saving to us. It's hard to fight fire, and save lives when a LEO's car is parked in the middle of the street a block away from the fire, blocking the responding hero truck, Usually when this happens, we end up treating the officer for smoke inhalation, only takes up more man power. In either profession the #1 rule is not to become a victim yourself, you get hurt, and you tie up more rescources. STAY ON THE CURB, unless you are blocking cars from running over our hose. I am just poking at a very few LEOs, you know who you are.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 4:39:08 PM EDT
LEOs' have a thankless job. If you go the police route, keep in mind that you will not really make that much difference in the crime rate. The criminal justice system is a joke for the most part. Instead of stiff sentences, probation & light sentences are usually the norm, due to prison overcrowding and prisoner rights. You will deal with the same scumbags, make good cases on them, and they are back on the street in no time.

Also be prepared to deal with my baby's daddy/mommy drama repeatedly too. And be prepared to be called either a racist or uncle tom, depending on your race. I'm half asian and have been called a confederate motherf**ker and KKK Klansman. Last I heard, they don't take those of Asian descent.

I would recommend the firefighter route.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 5:15:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/19/2006 3:47:29 PM EDT by sta1treeman]
You guys do have a thankless job, as a fireman, I respect you guys to the upmost. The above post was meant in jest toward officers parking in the middle of the street. I believe Police and Fire should co-train more often. One example, our new radio system is for all city depts, but we are not allowed to speak to the police via radio, and vice versa, all communications are relayed through, fire dispatch to police dispatch, and then back police to fire dispatcher, then to units on scene. alot gets lost in the translation. Both of our jobs would be easier, if we could talk directly to other agencies on scene. We had an officer injured, fortunatly not life threatning, last Fri. night, the location given was wrong, it took approx. 10 minuates to find the officer, one block away. Had we been able to speak directly to on scene units, we would have saved valuable time. sorry for the rant. just somthing I was thinking about and wanted to get it of my chest. Would make a good post question
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 2:24:52 PM EDT
Comparison chart for you.

Food
Fire: from a stove while watching the game
Police: From a microwave while watching a DV start up while at the stop n rob

Womenz
Fire: Lots of days off and time to spend with the ladies. Usually nice decent women.
Police: The toothless crackhead in the back of your car who'll offer you anything to not go to jail. No time for the ladies because you get called for court on your day off(see toothless crackhead above)

Physical fitness
Fire: Usually get to work out regularly and sleep when needed and eat right.
Police: Cardio when you get out of the car and chase. Weights= Drunk who just fought you and now forgot how to use feet for support.

Pay
Fire: Decent, most have second jobs due to the days off they have.
Police: Decent, however part time work only happens when you miss sleep.

Being out in public on day off.
Fire: You can wear fire T-Shirt to the mall. Stranger, Chicks will invite you to Victoria's Secret to give them your opinion whether they should buy this thong.
Police: You run into toothless crackhead who either (a) mean mugs you (b) threatens you or (c) asks you for a $20 to buy "lunch". (read rock)

Dogs
Fire: Dogs piss on hydrant, Fire calls PD to shoot vicious dog. Fire no prob. Police=Dog killers
Police: K-9 bites you and the bad guys, pisses on your boots and the ones that bite you don't bark.

Tools
Fire: Generally gets good gear unless the city manager is a "tool".
Police: You don't need it because someone is worried it might possibly be missuesd. You only get good gear after someone either dies or is severly injured.

Danger factor
Fire: It's there
Police: Nothing a couple of .40 gold dots can't fix (Joke)

Interesting work
Fire: I guess
Police: No Doubt

Fun
Fire: If you say so
Police: With a capital F
Link Posted: 1/19/2006 8:50:40 PM EDT
In May of 2005, I retired from my local fire department after 25 years of service. I was a Deputy Chief in charge of training. Along the way, I was involved in all aspects of the service, including obtaining certification as an emergency paramedic and hazardous materials technician.

If I had to do it all over again? I would opt for law enforcement-Hands Down!

When I was younger, my passion for the fire service was...well, extreme, to say the least. Later on though, I was very much interested in law enforcement, specifically after I joined our Sheriff's Department SWAT team as a "Tactical Medic."

No regrets, however. I do miss the fellas though.

Link Posted: 1/20/2006 7:48:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bachelor_of_Science:
In May of 2005, I retired from my local fire department after 25 years of service. I was a Deputy Chief in charge of training. Along the way, I was involved in all aspects of the service, including obtaining certification as an emergency paramedic and hazardous materials technician.

If I had to do it all over again? I would opt for law enforcement-Hands Down!

When I was younger, my passion for the fire service was...well, extreme, to say the least. Later on though, I was very much interested in law enforcement, specifically after I joined our Sheriff's Department SWAT team as a "Tactical Medic."

No regrets, however. I do miss the fellas though.




I would love to be able to do something like that along with being apart of the fire service(best of both worlds), is prior military experience usually required?
Link Posted: 1/22/2006 12:50:57 PM EDT
Military helps. being a former FMF Corpsman(Navy Corpsman assigned to Marine Corps) has helped and hurt me at times. I would rather be busting heads, than patching holes.

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 3:38:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/23/2006 3:39:32 PM EDT by Elbow27k]
Im active Duty Military . My job is a Crash Fire Rescue (USAF Term for a Firefighter hinking

my father was a 20 Yr LEO , SWAT sniper , and Team leader and Shift Sgt. He told me to go FD or Fed LEO
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