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  • Guidance

    I don't see any forums dedicated to people who want to be, or "may" want to be firefighters, so hopefully I'm in the right forum.

    I joined the Marine Corps. infantry when I was 21 years old and I did 4 years and some change. I'm about to be 26 in a couple weeks.

    I am currently in my 5th semester in the pre-dental program at my university and I maintain a 4.0 G.P.A. The reason for mentioning that is that as far as being a dentist I know that I have the ability to be a dentist if I want to...but I always find myself coming back to firefighter forums and reading what everyone has to say....

    I hope that what I'm about to say is something that a lot of people think; otherwise maybe I'm just shallow..

    but I know exactly how I want my life to be. I want to live in a small town in a decent house where everyone knows me, I want to own a nice truck and a boat so I can fish, a few guns so I can hunt, a couple jet-skis so me and my son's can go on the lake, and a mediocre cabin or lake-house where I can get away for a couple days. Throw in a quad and snowmobile and you've described heaven.

    Here is my issue. I want all of those things above but I'm not sure that I will ever be able to do those things on the salary of a firefighter. The problem is, I don't think that I will ever escape the fact that I am patriotic to the core and there is nothing that gives me more satisfaction than making a difference and helping people; along with the fact that I LOVE the excitement and diversity of a job like firefighting.

    I know that no-one can give me the exact answer because ultimately I have to decide what my priorities are....

    but I guess the real reason I'm posting on this forum is that maybe I can hear some people say "I am a firefighter, and I have all of those things; if I can do it you can do it," or maybe even someone will say "you make more money than you think you do." I don't know what kind of answers I will get, but I'm just hoping that I can get some sort of guidance.

    No matter what, I want to say thank you for your service and the things you do. Take care and stay safe.

  • #2
    Try in the Careers and Training section of the forum, there is a hiring and employment area there as well.

    As for the toys that is up to you and how much debt you have, how much you are willing to go in or if you want to pay cash or if you work a second job in your days off from firefighting or how long it takes you to get a firefighting job. It is possible to work as something else while working every third day as a firefighting assuming you can find a job that accomodates that schedule and the fact that sometimes you may be called in to work overtime for a disaster or an all call or something. It also depends on the area you live and the department you get on and what they pay. There are a lot of factors, I would suggest going to a station that you want to work and talk to some of the firefighters there and see what they think. With the high demand to be a firefighter the competition is very fierce. It takes some people years to get hired and some never at all. You sound like an intelligent person so that might be a good thing going for you, next you will want to look at what is required where you want to work, EMT, FF1 and so on. Check out the section of the forums I was talking about and you might find more answers there from previous posts. Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      No worries, I think you will be able to have all of those models you listed. Not the actual items, but models of them. I think all of the things you mentioned have versions made by Matell.
      RK
      cell #901-494-9437

      Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

      "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


      Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MemphisE34a View Post
        No worries, I think you will be able to have all of those models you listed. Not the actual items, but models of them. I think all of the things you mentioned have versions made by Matell.
        You can also build one hell of a nice cabin with Lincoln Logs too.
        Train to fight the fires you fight.

        Comment


        • #5
          Seriously though .....

          Does your community have a volunteer fire department, or maybe a nearby community that you could relocate too.

          There are thousands of VFDs in this country that could use somebody like you that seems to have a passion for the job, while you still help folks and make fairly descent money as a dentist. There is certainly nothing wrong with pursueing both "careers".
          Train to fight the fires you fight.

          Comment


          • #6
            You are going to dental school and if you graduate you will be a dentist.

            You will make far more working in someones mouth than you ever will dragging hose into a burning structure and getting burned and hurt during your career.
            Stay Safe and Well Out There....

            Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

            Comment


            • #7
              Welcome to the forum, Devildog,

              I love the job-or should I say, I love the job that it was when I started it. There are many guys I work with who live like you want to. Sure, it takes a side job, but it is doable, but it probably won't be for the next generation.

              I hate to say it, but I don't have much hope for the future of the career fire service in anything but the largest metropolitan areas. Out here in the land of 3 man engine companies, the economy is destroying our service. Hard fought gains in manpower, equipment, training, and compensation are being destroyed by the same politicians and taxpayers that stood beside us a few years ago. Fire prevention, safety education, and the increased safety of consumer products have reduced the frequency of the true emergencies we were meant to respond to. But our workload has increased, as we take on more duties and people expect us to transport them to the hospital for free because they have a toothache. We have gone from a fire dept, to an all hazards full service fire/rescue/hazmat/emergency service, to an overworked boo-boo taxi service that sees an occasional fire.

              Now is not a good time for a prospective firefighter. Our wages, pensions, and safety are under attack, and I fear that it is only going to get worse. There are layoffs happening all around, and you'll be competing against the guys with experience. The fire academies and EMT schools are still taking as many students as can pay, and there are hundreds of qualified applicants for every job left. The few places with a future in actual firefighting are the big cities that don't pay a salary sufficient for the things you want in life.

              Sorry for the dreary outlook. Yesterday, my 17 y/o son finally told me he had decided he knew what career he wanted to pursue-firefighter. 5 years ago I would have been thrilled. It broke my heart to tell him that I didn't think that it would be a viable option for him.

              My recommendation-continue on to your DDS, set up a practice in that small town, and look into their volunteer/paid on call department. You'll make a good living and get that public service your looking for, without putting your financial future in the hands of two-faced local politicians.

              S/F

              Comment


              • #8
                As much as it pains me to say it... I have to agree with what gunnyv has stated.

                Being in the front line trying to defend positions and staff levels, it is a tough road. In our city, recently elected officials are talking about firing the entire fire department and either contracting the service out or turn it over to volunteers.

                I have only been here a short time with the responsibility to fix some of the issues. Past practices by all parties involved caused today's problems. Yes, the firefighters must share the responsibility here, and they know it. Budget cuts have been brutal, and it is no longer about how many guys is a safe level, or how many stations can we man... it is how do we pay for it and where is the money coming from.

                The citizens here do not have any sympathy for firefighters that make more money than they do, especially when many have lost jobs or homes. Unemployment is about 18% here and will get worse before it improves. The recent election was a very clear message that voters want a change. The two new councilman and new mayor campaigned on eliminating city employees who have grown fat off the city. They won with 70% of the vote. The elected officials that remain have now changed their positions, so there is no doubt, come January, the situation will change drastically.

                The outlook in a meeting Monday was not positive. All city depts are to cut yet another 8% before the end of December, and come up with recommendations toward cuts of an additional 15% in 2011. The fire dept has already cut nearly 15% since I arrived mid year. So we are now talking about closing stations, cutting positions and reducing service. We are activley discussing turning all EMS over to a private company. Up to this point, we have eliminated civilian staff and reduced staffing through retirement.

                So anyone that is wanting to find a career at this time in firefighting, it will be very tough. There are no less than 10 people for every job. And many academies today are looking for replacements for people who will retired out in the next couple of years. The theory here is retire them and retire those big pay checks. But in big metros, competition will be strong, with only the very best candidates having any chance. I expect the pay scales to move down as the economy continues to chew up all aspects of the labor force.

                If this dept restructures or closes is yet to be decided. We can say people get what they pay for... that was the past. What has become pretty evident is they don't like what they think they paid too much for. Threats by the firefighters probably made the situation much worse than if they stayed silent. Talking about what is dangerous to us and our ability to do the job safely, was ignored. And this seems to be common across the country.

                I wish you luck, but I think there will be a greater demand for a good dentist than paid firefighters.
                HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's not all gloom and doom, as in our area many departments are actually hiring, but the outlook nationwide isn't great, which has been stated before.

                  I understand your desire to do this as a job, but again, doing the job as a volunteer can be just as rewarding as a career gig, while at the same time, you can provide a much more consistant level of financial stability for your family. There are departments that need people with fire and passion such as you seem to possess.

                  In the long term, continueing as dentist and volunteering is most likely the best decsion you can make.
                  Train to fight the fires you fight.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I did not attempt to go career for the exact same reason, unsure of the pay. I would have taken a very large pay cut to do so.

                    That may sound sad but, that is my truth. You need to ask yourself;

                    "Do I want a secure financial future (if your a good dentist) or do I want a possible decent financial future?"

                    Sure there are FDs that pay well but like others have said there are thousands of people applying for those positions.

                    Another reason for my decision is I believe I have an excellent VFD. Our county has an excellent VFD organization overall. You can get that satisfaction from a VFD as well as a career FD.

                    You being unsure of what you want to do would lead me to suggest you continue on with your schooling and be a dentist. Don't take a possible spot away from the guys and gals who are 100% sure they want to be a FF.

                    Comment

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