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Tips on Getting Started

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  • Tips on Getting Started

    Hi, I've been following these forums for a good amount of time now and am interested in becoming a firefighter. I currently am a Junior in High School, and have been wanting to do something in the public service career ever since I was a small child. Originally it was a Police Officer, but as I grew older I feel more interested in firefighting.

    I have been reading up as much as possible and talking to my neighbor who is a firefighter. At the moment I do have some questions on how to best work on building up my resume for a firefighting career.

    At the moment I have not done much in terms of preparing, I am a member of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) by my local fire department. I finished all 20 hours, but it was just general information about various first responder topics with very little hands-on experience. I am planning on going to a Type III academy for my county's Search and Rescue team this January which will consist of passing several physical tests, an oral interview, background checks, etc. It is put on by the Sheriff's department, but I am still very interested in it as they are a very active group, and they actually have requirements (hiking a certain amount of miles through hilly terrain with a dummy and ruck) unlike CERT where you just basically had to sign in every week and have a pulse.

    I was going to do Junior Firefighting and ride-alongs at my local fire department, but because some ride-along/jr. firefighter decided that it would be a smart idea to stop water pressure during a structure fire the department no longer supports either programs. I plan on going with my neighbor though to his fire department and doing a ride-along with him and his department.

    I've considered taking fire science courses at my local community college, but I am unsure if they will transfer to a different state. If I receive certifications in California are they universal for all states, only California, or some states?

    I also plan on going into the military directly after High School, but am unsure which MOS I should go into. I originally planned to go in as a 19D Calvary Scout in the Army as my uncle did, but after reading some posts about AF Firefighters, I am now thinking I might go into that because I would receive certifications. My question is how many certifications would I receive in the Air Force? My understanding is Firefighter 2 and HAZMAT, but what about paramedic?

    Also in terms of physical fitness what would be the best way for me to prepare? What type of training should I do now, to be prepared later on down the road?

    Thanks for any information I get and I hope this is the write place to post this.

  • #2
    You sound like you have your head on straight. Keep pointed in the right direction. A couple of things you want to be careful of:
    Choose your friends wisely
    Do NOT do drugs
    Maintain a high level of fitness
    Pay attention in school - we look at your grades
    Once you enroll in the military take online classes toward your associates degree. This will make you more marketable when your commitment is finished.

    For your military career make sure you get a specialty that is desireable to the fire service. Firefighter is good, Medic comes to mind and so does diesel mechanic.
    Good luck and keep up the good work!
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief


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