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  • How exciting/dangerous is firefighting?

    I'm 22, trying to get money to finish college (half way through)... I want to get a degree first before I do anything.

    But after... I really don't know what I want to do. I know what I don't want to do, have a desk job, be a banker, be a lawyer, any of that sort of thing.

    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot. The fact that I get to help save people's lives is also extremely appealing. The deep bonds that I presumably would develop with my crewmates would also be awesome.

    Now the reason I started thinking about this career path (before I really didn't have any in mind at all)... was after I started watching the show "Rescue Me". You guys have probably heard of it at least. But anyways it's about a group of firefighters in NYC. It's not really just a "drama" because it's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. But it's also filled with sadness, and the scenes of them rushing through burning buildings just caught my attention. I can't think of another job that allows you to experience extreme danger and help people so much at the same time.

    But of course, it's a TV SHOW, so what I want to know from you guys is...... how much of that is dramatized? How much is it "just hollywood"? Keep in mind if I took this career path I would DEFINITELY want to do it in a huge city like NYC or SF or LA... I'm not planning on being a firefighter (if I choose that route) in a small town.

    thanks!
    Last edited by NoxNoctum; 09-12-2010, 07:11 AM.

  • #2
    Do you like waffles? Then you'll like firefighting. It is just about as awesome as eating waffles.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

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    • #3
      REAL firefighting is JUST LIKE that show rescue me....To the "T" actually...We go to HUGE fires EVERYDAY, all the time actually...

      Comment


      • #4
        A more accurate TV show would probably be Golden Girls or perhaps The Young and the Restless.
        I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

        "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

        "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

        Comment


        • #5
          Rescue Me is a drama/comedy? Huh, and all this time, I thought it was a History-channel-based documentary.

          To be honest, what you'll love more than going to fires and rescuing people every day is what you're able to get into on the many days off you'll have. For example, me and the guys from my shift ride around in a black mid-1980's GM van in the Los Angeles underground, practicing vigilante justice and helping those who have no where else to turn.
          Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 09-12-2010, 01:39 PM.
          Career Fire Captain
          Volunteer Chief Officer


          Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, assuming this is a serious post and not a drunk middle of the night thing, I'll toss in my two cents. Assuming you are going to restrict yourself to large depts only, you are going to have a tough road ahead. Those departments often have thousands of applicants applying for each opening (i.e. if they're hiring 10 people, expect over 10,000 applicants). Honestly, with comments like yours about experiencing danger and being an adrenaline junkie, I'd be really concerned about you freelancing or doing something to jeopardize your crew.

            If you are serious, I would suggest you doing a ride along with a local mid-sized suburban dept and if you can get a ride-along with a large metro, try that also. Remember that the calls you see on TV are "once-in-a-career" calls for 99% of the real firefighters out there. Yes, the minor auto accidents, stove fires and 3 am nursing home EMS runs are not sexy and glamorous, but that's the bread and butter of most fire depts. Even FDNY has seen a drastic reduction in fire in the last 20-30 years as building construction and fire prevention improve.

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            • #7
              On a more serious note, to add onto what zzyyzx said, you're going to be one of thousands of applicants for a position, and a lot of large departments only hire every few years. However, even if you made it on one of these department the likelihood of catching fire has a lot to do with your response district, socio-economic development of the area, things of that nature.

              For most departments, EMS is going to be 50%-75% of what you do every day. If you're not into EMS, you're not going to enjoy a lot of what you do at work.

              Rescue Me is, eh, 25% realistic. The parts showing them going to and returning from calls is pretty realistic (ie: we really do ride around in the big red truck). So are the parts with people getting married and divorced. Maybe 5% of the firehouse drama. The rest is a soap opera that happens to be centered around a group of firemen, and not school teachers or taxi drivers.
              Career Fire Captain
              Volunteer Chief Officer


              Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by zzyyzx View Post
                Well, assuming this is a serious post and not a drunk middle of the night thing, I'll toss in my two cents. Assuming you are going to restrict yourself to large depts only, you are going to have a tough road ahead. Those departments often have thousands of applicants applying for each opening (i.e. if they're hiring 10 people, expect over 10,000 applicants). Honestly, with comments like yours about experiencing danger and being an adrenaline junkie, I'd be really concerned about you freelancing or doing something to jeopardize your crew.

                If you are serious, I would suggest you doing a ride along with a local mid-sized suburban dept and if you can get a ride-along with a large metro, try that also. Remember that the calls you see on TV are "once-in-a-career" calls for 99% of the real firefighters out there. Yes, the minor auto accidents, stove fires and 3 am nursing home EMS runs are not sexy and glamorous, but that's the bread and butter of most fire depts. Even FDNY has seen a drastic reduction in fire in the last 20-30 years as building construction and fire prevention improve.
                Well thanks for the words of realism regarding large departments.

                I still wanna finish my degree first so I've got a while to think about this stuff. And what's an EMS run?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by VESmedic View Post
                  REAL firefighting is JUST LIKE that show rescue me....To the "T" actually...We go to HUGE fires EVERYDAY, all the time actually...
                  Cmon now, don't mess with me, I'm just asking for advice and wisdom.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NoxNoctum View Post
                    I
                    I really don't know what I want to do. I know what I don't want to do, have a desk job, be a banker, be a lawyer, any of that sort of thing.

                    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot. The fact that I get to help save people's lives is also extremely appealing. The deep bonds that I presumably would develop with my crewmates would also be awesome.

                    thanks!
                    If you want some thrills, join the Army or Marines, I here tell there a war going on and if you want to get your rocks off I'm sure they will be more than happy to find a place for you.
                    Stay Safe
                    Bull


                    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
                    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

                    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
                    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NoxNoctum View Post
                      And what's an EMS run?
                      EMS = Emergency Medical Services.
                      Career Fire Captain
                      Volunteer Chief Officer


                      Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Best job in the world, period.

                        Put it this way. When I wake up in the morning to go onto shift I never say to myself "man I don't want to go into work today". In fact, I don't even call it work when talking about it to family members and such.

                        Yes the 2am EMS calls for bs can become monotonous, but it's still better then being stuck in a office for 40 hours a week.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NoxNoctum View Post

                          I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot.

                          Now the reason I started thinking about this career path (before I really didn't have any in mind at all)... was after I started watching the show "Rescue Me". You guys have probably heard of it at least. But anyways it's about a group of firefighters in NYC. It's not really just a "drama" because it's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. But it's also filled with sadness, and the scenes of them rushing through burning buildings just caught my attention. I can't think of another job that allows you to experience extreme danger and help people so much at the same time.
                          To be honest, those two parts of your post I quoted leads me to believe that being a Firefighter is not the right job for you. We have an "adrenaline junkie" on our dept and he's a freakin knot head. Ask him what a higbee indicator is and he thinks I'm talking about sports. His hearts not in the job, which only makes him a burden on those who are in it for true reasons.

                          And the real Fire Service is nothing like Rescue Me, yeah its good for a laugh now and again but other than that not a true representation of what we do on a day to day basis.

                          I would seriously look into the fire service, visit your local firehouse, go on ride alongs. Get the real story before you make a decision, and try and keep your Adrenaline under control.
                          Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NoxNoctum View Post
                            I'm 22, trying to get money to finish college (half way through)... I want to get a degree first before I do anything.

                            But after... I really don't know what I want to do. I know what I don't want to do, have a desk job, be a banker, be a lawyer, any of that sort of thing.

                            I'm not gonna lie, I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and the idea of rushing into burning buildings every day appeals to me a lot. The fact that I get to help save people's lives is also extremely appealing. The deep bonds that I presumably would develop with my crewmates would also be awesome.

                            Now the reason I started thinking about this career path (before I really didn't have any in mind at all)... was after I started watching the show "Rescue Me". You guys have probably heard of it at least. But anyways it's about a group of firefighters in NYC. It's not really just a "drama" because it's one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. But it's also filled with sadness, and the scenes of them rushing through burning buildings just caught my attention. I can't think of another job that allows you to experience extreme danger and help people so much at the same time.

                            But of course, it's a TV SHOW, so what I want to know from you guys is...... how much of that is dramatized? How much is it "just hollywood"? Keep in mind if I took this career path I would DEFINITELY want to do it in a huge city like NYC or SF or LA... I'm not planning on being a firefighter (if I choose that route) in a small town.

                            thanks!
                            Lol is this a joke?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BULL321 View Post
                              If you want some thrills, join the Army or Marines, I here tell there a war going on and if you want to get your rocks off I'm sure they will be more than happy to find a place for you.
                              HAHA, sorry brother, had to laugh. I left a good dept and joined the Marines, and now I'm more bored than I have ever been. I can't wait to get out and run a few EMS calls and false alarms again.

                              As for the OP, it's worth it when you get to help folks. As for me, it might have 5% to do with adrenaline, the rest is pure wanting to help folks. It's a good job, but if you're doing it to get an adrenaline fix, well, get a rich boy job and start sky diving , racing, or something.

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