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Hate to start off on the wrong foot..

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  • Hate to start off on the wrong foot..

    Hi All,

    I'm new to this forum and hate to start of this way. Nevertheless, I want your guys input. I'm 26 years old looking to get hired somewhere in southern california. Clean record never got in trouble with the law. Other than maybe a parking violation etc. I've been bit by the firefighter bug and have been chasing this new passion of mine. I have a bachelors degree in business, recently got my state and nremt certified. I'm Billingual and come from a sports background. All the stars align for me. Except for one thing my previous drug use... I've smoked pot less than 20 times in my entire life - I'm not too worried about the marijuana. In college, 4 years ago to be exact I tried cocaine ONCE. These two instances are the only two drugs I have used in my entire life. I'm concerned about my one time use of cocaine when I was 22 young and dumb in college. It sucks to think that one night and a horrible mistake may block me from chasing my passion. Am I wasting my time? Do I still have a shot? Will my one time use of cocaine 4 years ago fail a polygraph? Hoping to get constructive feedback. Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Bryce192; 10-17-2018, 11:26 AM.

  • #2
    Look at different city web sites,,,

    Some have the disqualifiers listed. See what they are and how they apply to you.


    Another route to go is apply everywhere and anywhere, test, go thru the entire process and see what happens.

    Give yourself a time limit, maybe two years, and if not hired by than go into another field.

    Also, check smaller depts, may be a little more lax on requirements.

    Comment


    • #3
      Most departments, specifically in California, will outright disqualify you for hard drugs, especially if they were within the last 5 years. With that being said, most background checks have a 7 year focus that investigators are legally allowed to poke and prod through; the only exception to that list is misdemeanor or federal offenses beyond that 7 year window. If Fire is truly your passion, I recommend putting in the work now. The Forest Service is currently hiring through usajobs.gov for every wildland position under the sun: hotshot/handcrews, helitack, engines, jump spots. That?ll put some seasons under your belt and make you that much more desirable when the right department comes up. This does two things for you: 1) it?ll allow you to explore fire and decide if this is truly the life for you and 2) you?ll build your resume and be that much more competitive through the process. SoCal is inundated with many qualified candidates for very few positions. It?s incumbent on you to set yourself apart.

      TLDR: apply and see what departments are or aren?t willing to forgive or wait 7 years to apply to a department job while working for the Forest Service or some other federal wildland agency to build your experience in the field.

      Hope this helps

      Comment


      • #4
        Every dept is different. Some say 3 years for hard drugs, some say 5, 7, or even 10 years. I?d start applying now and see what happens. You never know
        In Loving Memory of Paramedic Doug Odgers
        8.18.87-5.8.11
        RIP

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies. Very insightful

          Comment


          • #6
            Anyone that has personal insight on this matter.. Please feel free to PM me!
            Thanks

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by fire5555 View Post
              Look at different city web sites,,,

              Some have the disqualifiers listed. See what they are and how they apply to you.


              Another route to go is apply everywhere and anywhere, test, go thru the entire process and see what happens.

              Give yourself a time limit, maybe two years, and if not hired by than go into another field.

              Also, check smaller depts, may be a little more lax on requirements.
              Depending on where he is looking to get hired, two years may not be enough. Not familiar with SoCal but many large cities use civil service testing systems that only test every two to four years.

              Comment


              • #8
                I just put out at least two years, because of the process, did not want to go with one, and did not want to test till he is to old to test!!!

                Sometimes you just have to move on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm 26.. I'm not young... But not too old.. I really want this so I think I'm going to try till I'm 30. Just work as an EMT and volunteer places. That one mistake is not a reflection of my character. Hopefully a department will be able to see past that

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I?m just going to put this article here (http://www.phoenixmag.com/people/biker-rescue.html). Everyone has something in their background they are worried about, don?t let that discourage you just be honest.

                    I agree with captnjak you could be on a departments register for two years eligible for hire just waiting for the call. I have been told the average time it takes someone to get hired on is 5-7 years, not sure how true this is.

                    Don?t give up man! Keep testing/studying and any opportunities you can find to gain experience in the field take them! In regards to age, I personally know a handful of guys who have been hired well into their 30s.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      “Don’t admit to anything that cannot be proven.” That’s what was told to me on station visits when I informed them that I was moving on to backgrounds. Also, avoid applying to departments that conduct polygraphs. Just saying

                      Comment

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