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  • Where do older firefighters go from here?

    I have been a Firefighter/EMT for all of my adult life and I have known no other life. While until this time it has been volunteer (which I enjoy immensly) I always held on to the "dream" of getting paid to do it. Lately though I have been thinking that maybe realisticly I should consider thinking about a new career field while holding on to the volunteer aspect for as long as I can physically do it. The problems I can forsee?

    1). About 3 years ago, I had blood clots in my left leg, and to this day, it bothers me at times. I mean, what fire department would possibly want an older firefighter that has a history like that?

    2). I have failed miserably in quitting the nasty habit of smoking. I know, I know. It is something I don't even do because I enjoy it, or it makes me relax, (you know, all the typical reasonings), I HATE the smell of them, and hate the taste of them. I do it, because my cousin introduced me to it when I was nine. I have tried the patches and cold turkey and NOTHING seems to help. It is not because of lack of desire, I guess it is a lack of willpower.

    3). I am 30 next month, and the younger "stallions" out there are going to most generally going to have the upper hand when it comes to agility test(s).

    4). My right knee is in pain after kneeling for an extended period of time. That is a certain disadvantage for firefighters.

    Like I said, I have been doing this all my adult life. I have no other ideas as to where I would go or what I would do. The fact is, I don't WANT to do anything else, with the exception of Law Enforcement. It is a VERY frustrating and depressing set of facts that are facing me right now.

    Any ideas on rehabilitating my body to make it so that it is a competetive force out there?

    I'll listen to whatever is said. (I am sure that will include all posts yelling at me for the stupid habit of smoking. I'll accept those too. (maybe it will give me the added PUSH to get it out of my life.

    Thanks for your help.

    ------------------
    Your Brother In The Service,
    Rob Herpel
    FF/EMT
    Vice-Pres./Asst. EMS Coordinator
    Fremont Rural Fire Department

  • #2
    Hang in there Brother....1st and Foremost, you are 30 y/o...come on now that is far from old, most depts let you test up to the ripe old age of 35...exercise, exercise...get ona tread mill and start running daily..see a hypnotist, get the patch, chew the gum, do it for your family, yourself, quit smoking Brother, a good cardio workout daily and some strength conditioning 2-3 times a week, maybe see your DR. 1ST...Get your knee checked, alot of wonderful advancements in the field of knee scopes...good luck to you and stick with it, I have been trying for 8 years now...

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree Hang in there brother. The treadmill is a good idea although I would try walking first. You may even want to try going to the local gym or YMCA they usually have fairly decent equipment. Definitely talk to a doctor and work on quitting smoking or at the very least cut way back. Even go for a walk outside on nice day.
      I turned 30 back in February and I still feel as good or better than when I was 18 or 19. I give the young pups a run for there money quit literally.
      Just because there younger than you doesn't mean there better. Remember with age comes experience and knowledge.
      Best of Luck to you

      Comment


      • #4
        Hang in there Bro. Talk to your Dr. about Zyban or Welbutrin SR. My dad is currently taking Wellbutrin SR for depression, but it has also made him quit smoking. Use the treadmil and get back into shape. The knees and other pains are natural and everyone has them. Good Luck....

        P.S. Please don't tell me that 30 is old....I still believe that 40 is old...

        Comment


        • #5
          You aren't old! We hire up to 35. We even have a Captain that will be 60 next year, that's twice as old as you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Rob,

            I gotta say it even though it's been said.
            Hang in there !!
            You are not alone in your situation. I am 28 (turning 29 in Sept.) and I have been involved with volunteer EMS & Fire since I was 17. It has always been my dream to become a career FireMedic.

            Right now I am in a situation where I cannot afford to change careers (litteraly), but I still hold on to my dream (and I always will). One day things will change for me and I'll have my "Dream Job".

            Stick with it Brother and one day things will change for you too.

            I wish you the best of luck.

            Take Care - Stay Safe
            Stephen
            FF/Paramedic

            BTW - I may be a little "Round in the Middle" after years behind a desk - but I can still give My Dept's "young bucks" a run for their money.

            Comment


            • #7
              You guys ar the best.
              I feel so incredibly honored to be associated with people from everywhere that are TRUELY my brothers and sisters.

              I thought about ZYBAN, but I had not thought of Wel-Butrin. I know the history behind ZYBAN is it an anti-depressant, and then they noticed that depressed smokers suddenly has less of an urge to smoke. I will DEFINITELY do that.

              Thanks for the encouragement, and feel free to yell at me if I don't quit soon. Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt. In fact I'd prefer a kick in the butt than a pat on the back sometimes.

              You are all dear to me, and thanks for the encouragement.

              Let me ask one other thing. Regarding re-habing, I heard mention of treadmill and walking, what do you think about bike riding? I mean it is something that would be saved for later whenI rehab it enough? Would it put more stress on the knee than needed right now?

              Thanks again.
              I look forward to hearing from you soon. If you need anything I can help with, ask and I will be there bros.



              ------------------
              Your Brother In The Service,
              Rob Herpel
              FF/EMT
              Vice-Pres./Asst. EMS Coordinator
              Fremont Rural Fire Department

              Comment


              • #8
                Hey Rob! it's not all that bad...my department hired a 48 year old rookie a couple of years ago, and he's doing just fine. The fair Labor Standards act ensures you will be able to take the test, all you have to do is pass it. Work on getting in shape for that agility test, and good luck!

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                • #9
                  1st thing is get your knee looked at...make sure everything is cool before you start any type of work out regime....bike riding is great, what ever keeps you the most interested...keep chuggin away Bro'....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately, I have to disagree with my brothers and sisters. My response is located in "Looking for answers" post.

                    Of course, it's only an opinion!
                    Capt. Bill

                    [This message has been edited by Icerader (edited 04-06-2001).]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It might help to remember that suppression isn't the only route to a fire service career. Training and fire prevention are two areas that come to mind.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'd reccomend one of those health club eliptical thingies. They seem to be good for knee injuries aggravated by pressure & impact. My oldest brother quit smoking ten years ago, cold turkey. But he is kinda...how should I say this?...psyco? Try to replace it with something else, like M&Ms or something. Oh,and if you're thirty and think you are old, triathlete Mike Pigg is nearly forty.

                        Althea "I don't have a caffine problem" Forhan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Don't give up on your dream. I came on the job with a 42 y/o 12 years ago, and he's not had any problems. There have been that old and older come on with the same results.

                          As for your smoking and knee, seek professional help (ie. a doctor). If you are serious about getting hired, you can't let these handicaps continue. The hiring process is incredibly competitive. Test anywhere and everywhere you can, even if you don't think anything will come of it. My first paid job was with a tiny department (one man per shift) that hadn't hired in fifteen years. Do not give up! The fire service needs more people who want this job more than any other. Far too many people get hired just because they took a test on a lark.

                          Good Luck

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I got hired at my first full time job as a FF at 31, moved on to a bigger FD at 39. We just hired a guy who is 42.

                            If you think you are old at 30.....well, then you are. But only by your standards. If you want the job bad enough you WILL do the things you need to do to give yourself a better chance. Get a physical, check out your ailments, quit smoking, get in shape and as the Nike ads say "Just Do It".

                            Good luck,

                            FyredUp

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone.

                              Capt. Bill
                              A couple/few points of clarification.

                              1). Re: Volunteer Firefighting fulfilling my need for being a "hero"
                              If you ever read any of my posts regarding that detestable word, you would find that I absolutely do not dot his o be a hero. In fact, I pray that I am never considered as such. I do what I do because I love what I do. Does it give me a sense of accomplishment? Absolutely. Do I do it for recognition? Well, if I was foolish enough for that I would be a very disappointed person. I do not in anyway believe that wee as a group are heros. I believe this because it is what we CHOOSE to do, and to think of any of us as heros is wrong because it takes something away from what we do. (In my opinion)

                              2). Maybe I should consider a different career.
                              Yes, maybe I should and remain a volunteer. That is not a bad thing, so I appreciate the realistic view on the matter.

                              3). Re: Wanting something more from my wife.
                              Once again, I must totally disagree. I tried to be the type of person that shared my "work" with my wife. It did nothing but cause problems. So, I NEVER mention it anymore, SHE always mentions it and then she wants to fight about things. No, I don't want ANYTHING more from her. Only an understanding of what I am and what I do.

                              4). Why would I ask firefighters about complicated problems?
                              Simple. These are the ones that UNDERSTAND what I do, and often share the same problems.


                              Did I take the post the wrong way? No. Am I offended? No. I ASKED, and I always believe that a peson should not ask the question that they may not want to hear.

                              I just wanted to clarify some points that I felt I was being mis-understood on.

                              Again, thanks for all the posts everyone.

                              ------------------
                              Your Brother In The Service,
                              Rob Herpel
                              FF/EMT
                              Vice-Pres./Asst. EMS Coordinator
                              Fremont Rural Fire Department

                              Comment

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