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Monocular vision in the fire department

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  • Monocular vision in the fire department

    I am asking for your opinions.I am a 32 yo Volunteer firefighter in Baltimore County MD I currently have many certs and hold the position of Lieutenant. I also drive both a 1992 Spartan/4 guys a 1975 CF mack Engine and 1999 105' Rearmount Ladder truck. It has been life life goal to become a Baltimore City Firefighter but was denied the position due to the vision in my right eye. Even though I am covered under the Americans with Disabilities act. NFPA set a vision standard
    and the city feels that I am a threat to other firefighters. I am going to continue my fight threw legal matter but I wanted to hear from other how they felt. I have been working on firegrounds with Paid/Career firefighters as a volunteer for 16 years but yet when I try to get paid for it I will then become a
    Well what is your feeling on this. All I am asking for is honesty in your reply

    PS My vision is 20/200 and not correctable at this time.

  • #2
    Tim this is tough on you. I joined the Fire Service as a full time City firefighter in 1972 on the understanding that due to my monocular vision that I could never be a Driver and (because our department requires all Officers to be qualified as drivers)never be an Officer. Like you I have monocular vision that is not correctable. Five years later when I had achieved all the Officers qualifications and had a few years experience of driving trailer trucks on my days off I had another go at appealing the origional decison. It wasn't till the third attempt that I found an eye specialist who proved my condition included a full field of normal vision but was monocular, the left eyes vision never developing in the area covered by both eyes. The specialist wrote a report that was accepted by the Fire Service and I was a driver a week later (and an Officer six months after that). The sad fact is that the fire service is a popular career. Departments frequently knowingly turn down good candidates because they only have so many vacancies and any reasonable excuse to thin the list of worthy candidates can seem like a good way to start when so many are going to miss out whatever happens.
    I wish you the very best of luck, give it your very best shot and if you finally just can't get in then it was just not to be. Check department policy in other locations and try and find other firefighters with the same eyesight problem. It an important distinction that monocular vision is different from sight in one eye only. The loss of triangulation is compensated for as an adult with other visual clues and I know my eyesight has never limited me in my firefighting capacity much less put others at risk.

    Once again, good luck!


    • #3
      I would recommend further evaluation by an opthalmologist. Take a copy of the job description and physical requirements with you. Ask questions. A long time ago, I was disqualified because I had "asthma" but my doc called it "allergic bronchitis" and I made it.

      Also, if there are federal DOT isssues, monocular vision will disqualify you starting Nov 6, 2001. I don't know if waivers will be available or not.


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