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  • Is it to late to become a firefighter?

    I am 26 yrs old and am wondering if it's to late for me to try to get into a career as a firefighter? I have no experience & no education as a firefighter. I have spent the last few years as a computer technician, but am finally at a place in my life where I want to chase that dream of being a firefighter. Any help would be great appreciated!!
    Big AT
    Libertyville, Illinois

  • #2
    BIGAT,

    If you being 26 is the only thing then no, its not too late. I know plenty of guys who have gotten on in their thirties. Dont give up keep with it.
    Go raibh maith agat Go gcuire Dia an t-ádh ort! Dyfal donc a dyrr y garreg!!!!!

    IN MEMORY OF THE "MOOSE" 1974-2002<br />Ni bheidh mo leitheid ar'ris ann.

    Brothers till the end. "If they don't have GUINNESS in heaven we aint goin!"

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    • #3
      No, the age thing isn't the only thing stopping me. My main concern is the education. I am trying to get enrolled in some classes at a local community college but nothing is offered until next semester. My concern is how long will I have to wait to get onto a Dept.? A local dept is hiring for part-time FFers, but I'm not sure what a "part-time" FFers hours are or what is expected of them. Is this something I should persue?

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      • #4
        BIGAT most large Urban FD's require a long process for being hired, some like NYC rediculous. While 26 isn't old......most FD's already have a 'current' list going, so you need to wait for the next. My impression is that your better off with a small Dept, though the larger one's offer better Tours to pursue education!
        "All gave some...Some gave all!"
        9/11/01 Lest we forget!
        FDNYRR

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        • #5
          BIGAT,

          Brother if its something you want than its something you should go after. If there is a Vollie department you can join then join. They will give you the training. In the bigger cities they often times will require very little as far as experience. I had none and started full time the week after my 19th birthday. There are other places to get the training you just have to look for them. Walk into your neighborhood fire house and ask them. I promise they will answer alot of you questions.
          Go raibh maith agat Go gcuire Dia an t-ádh ort! Dyfal donc a dyrr y garreg!!!!!

          IN MEMORY OF THE "MOOSE" 1974-2002<br />Ni bheidh mo leitheid ar'ris ann.

          Brothers till the end. "If they don't have GUINNESS in heaven we aint goin!"

          Comment


          • #6
            I'd definately check to see what the FD you want to work for requires. Many departments actually prefer to take non-certified people so that they can teach them from scratch - their way. They hold their own rookie schools and develop their people in-house. You may not be as behind as you think...

            Volunteering is a good idea also if you can. We take non-certified people and allow them to see what goes on before they have gone through all that training only to find out it may not be for them. They can't actually go into a burning building or anything until they are certified - but you'd get a good enough idea of what it involves.

            Good Luck!
            Susan Lounsbury
            Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
            Griffith Volunteer FD

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            • #7
              26 is not too late at all....I'm in the fire academy in Milwaukee right now, and I got on at 36...Couple of things to think about though...

              1) Large Departments - Many large departments have fire academies, so you dont necessarily have to have your associate degree or certification, but unfortunately many have age limits (MKE does not), and many have "bonus points" that are added on to the final score, and these often make it impossible to score high up on the list unless you have these points. For example, MKE has 10 points for military service, 5 for an associates degree, and 5 for City of Milwaukee residence. The last test had I think 1500+ applicants, and most likely only the top 150 will get on. Most of these folks had military points. I tried to get on the last list without points and without luck, so I moved to the city specifically for the points. Even with a final score of 104 (out of 100) I was 115 or so---and it took me 7 years total.....

              2) Smaller departments often require you to have your FF1 and 2 before applying....this can be obtained through your FF associates degree. It may also not be as exciting as you would want.. I have a buddy who has been on the job for a year in a community of 26,000, and he has yet to see a house fire on his shift.....He does however like the community feel of his department, and has made several great friends because of it.

              3) Volunteer FD's - My brother is a volunteer in the backwoods of northern WI, and makes 30 bucks a month for meetings. They did, however, pay for his FF1, 2 and EMT certification. He really likes it, and it gives him the excitment he needs once or twice a week.

              4) Money - I was also in the computer field, and took a considerable pay cut to get in. Starting pay in MKE is 25, with it hitting the 50's after 5 years. Be prepared.

              My advice is keep the day job, start your FF classes when you can - there should be a tech college that offers them at night, get on what lists you can now (it'll be a while...also your local tech college will probably keep you informed on what depts are testing....and ask the instructors!!!! These guys are the very best sources of information), and volunteer if you want.

              Good Luck!

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              • #8
                I started when I was 29 and wish I had done it sooner. Pay a visit to the department offering the part time positions, and talk to the ffs and ask everything you can think about and see if they have any extra copies of firefighting magazines they could loan or give to you. The key is to be as informed as possible so you can make the right decision. Take care and be safe.
                Phil Clinard
                Laurel VFD
                Prince George's Co Sta 10
                Laurel, MD
                www.laurelvfd.org

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                • #9
                  My good friend John would tell you that 26 is not too old. In fact he was more than twice that (56) when he got an appointment to Fairfax County FD.
                  Stephen J Bourassa
                  Latham FD (NY)
                  member since 1969
                  challenge competitor since 1993

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