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  • Is it ever too late?

    Hi all, I'm sure you have had a thousand people come on here inquiring the same question I have, but I will ask anyway....is 27 (a young 27 at that) too old to begin to switch careers to a firefighter?

    A little back story, it's something I've always wanted to do...be out in the community helping out, when I first had this desire I was told (living in LA county at the time) that I had two things working against me...."I was male and I was white" words which were very discouraging to a 20 year old still trying to find his way in the world...well now I have found it and can sign up for EMT training classes that start next week....I am so excited thinking about this I can barely sleep....any help and advice on how to go about this (especially California FF's) would be greatly appreciated

  • #2
    Originally posted by JRodd79 View Post
    Hi all, I'm sure you have had a thousand people come on here inquiring the same question I have, but I will ask anyway....is 27 (a young 27 at that) too old to begin to switch careers to a firefighter?

    A little back story, it's something I've always wanted to do...be out in the community helping out, when I first had this desire I was told (living in LA county at the time) that I had two things working against me...."I was male and I was white" words which were very discouraging to a 20 year old still trying to find his way in the world...well now I have found it and can sign up for EMT training classes that start next week....I am so excited thinking about this I can barely sleep....any help and advice on how to go about this (especially California FF's) would be greatly appreciated
    I was 31 when I started.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    • #3
      Nope...Go for it. Just dont wait too much longer. Depending on where you are I would think once you hit 34-35 it would be tough. I know it would be around here.
      Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

      IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

      "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
      RUSH-Tom Sawyer

      Success is when skill meets opportunity
      Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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      • #4
        Go for it. I started when I was 19 volunteering and got hired at age 21 at a paid dept. I'm 26 now and I'm trying to get back to a paid dept. Long story as to what happened. I'll explain if needed. Good luck to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          JRodd...It's not too late to try to become a FF. Accually, you are at a great age to get picked up. A friend of mine who is white and around 29 or 30 yrs old was picked up by LACoFd this past year. He said there was a 51 yr old guy in his academy class. Me, I was hired full time when I was 32 yrs old. I have another friend who is also white and 24 yrs old who was picked up by Los Angeles (City) FD this past year. Don't worry...you still have plenty of time to be hired, and now that you are 27 yrs old you now have life experience that comes with your age. It's not a bad thing at all.

          I grew up in LA County (Santa Clarita Valley, LACoFD 73's area) and I tested in 5 different states. What I found to be the difficult part in being picked up in So Cal was that I am not a Paramedic. 90%-95% of the departments in that area all want Paramedics. Although I am a male Hispanic, there wasn't any "affirmitive action love" being thrown my way.

          First I went to a community college and got my EMT-B and went to work for one of the larger private ambulance companies serving the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley areas. I worked there for almost 4 yrs. During the time I was working for the ambo co I put myself through a private firefighter-I academy ($3000). After that, I became a Volunteer FF with a small dept and was able to obtain my California State Fire Marshal Firefighter-I certification. It's alot of HARD work and alot of SACRIFICE to become a career FF, but in the end it's all worth it my friend. If YOU are willing to put in the blood, sweat, tears, hard work, and sacrifice you will be able to accomplish anything YOU put your mind to.

          Best of luck to you,
          AZFF
          __________________
          "Too many freaks and not enough circuses!"

          Comment


          • #6
            I started career when I was 28. One guy on our department started at 42 and many others in their thirties. At 27 you shouldn't have a problem.

            Comment


            • #7
              J- There are so many people getting pick up in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. Dont sweat the age thing. Focus on the oral boards and education part.

              The best bet now is trying to get a plan together to seriously advance on some hiring lists.

              If you want to call me and chat about it, it would be a lot easier than me typing most of the night here. PM me a # and we'll chat. Also look into the oral boards at www.firecareers.com

              Also, someone please tell AZFF to come back to California where he belongs.


              Thank you.
              Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-03-2007, 12:29 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Go for it!

                I was 27 when I got on "da job" back in 1981. I am in my 26th year with my FD and still look forward to coming to work everyday*!

                * well, most days..
                ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most 27yr. old candidates that get hired , have been taking courses and applying with numerous depts for at least 6 years. You better have a good answer at your fire chiefs interview why you waited 6 years to try out. It doesn't sound like firefighting was your first choice, let alone a life long dream? good luck dude!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Nope I started taking classes and got picked up as a volunteer at 24, started working as an EMT the following year. Hired as a temp at 27, career at 29.

                    If you really get on things you could have your EMT and a FF1 academy done within 1-2 years which is a big plus.

                    You might look at seasonal employment with the California Department of Forestry, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service or US Fish and Wildlife Service. Several SoCal departments also hire seasonal employees I know Kern County, Ventura County and LA County have seasonal handcrews, there are others but not sure which. Seasonal work is great experience.

                    I wouldn't worry about the age thing too much, lots of people "discover" firefighting later in life, we all didn't decide to be firefighters when we were 6.

                    About the white male thing, it is an issue but if you look around there are alot of us on the job. Try not to go down that path, it won't be helpful to your efforts and tend to result in self pity.

                    I'd recommend you find a local college that offers fire technology classes and talk to the coordinator to help get you started.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was 24, but we had a guy who was 34 or 35 in our class. The rookie at our station (until recently) was 37 and he does just fine since we wrapped his walker in PBI.
                      Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CALFFBOU View Post
                        Also, someone please tell AZFF to come back to California where he belongs. Thank you.


                        Aww Bou....come on now. You know I'm not missing California, just the people that I care about most. Clean air and less traffic here in Arizona! Better gun laws too!

                        AZFF
                        __________________
                        "Too many freaks and not enough circuses!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Too Late?

                          It's never too late. I got hired when I was 35, and went through the academy with a guy that was 48. If you want it, go get it. Study your A## off, train physically, and go after it. It wasn't easy, but I hung in there with the 20 year olds. I left a career job after 15 years, 10 as a boss making double what a starting FF makes because I wanted a job I loved. It was the best decision I have ever made. No Regrets!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the great advice everyone, it looks like I can get going on my EMT 1 next week....and as for the self-pity thing, I will admit that was what brought me down 7 years ago, luckily we mature and change (hopefully for the better) alot in those years from 20-25...sure looking back I wish I would have had the F-him I'll show him whats up attitude, which was maybe what he was looking for at the time, but we can't look back at what was....only forward to what can be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChicagoFF View Post
                              I was 31 when I started.
                              You OLD FART, you!




                              I was 29 when I went to the fire academy, 30 when I was hired. That was 16+ years ago...Man, I'm startin' to feel old!

                              There were a couple of guys even older than me (35 and 38) in my class. We were all hired on together.

                              By no means is it too late for you. Go for it, and good luck!




                              Kevin
                              Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
                              IAFF Local 2339
                              K of C 4th Degree
                              "LEATHER FOREVER"
                              Member I.A.C.O.J.
                              http://www.tfdfire.com/
                              "Fir na tine"

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