Welcome to FireFighterNow! I’m Josiah Raiford, and this site is where I share helpful parts of my journey on becoming a firefighter. I took over this site from Mike Pertz, the former owner, because I care a lot about helping firefighters. I’ll tell you why.

After wrapping up my college degree, I quickly realized I wasn’t cut out for a 9-5 office job. Deep down I just felt like there was something more (maybe you feel the same way, and that’s why you’re here).

I began looking into firefighting and made it my goal to break into a firefighting career.

When I first got started at the NWA Metro Chiefs Academy, I couldn’t handle it. Putting on the gear and trying to handle it made me claustrophobic. Each time I was on the verge of a mental breakdown.

But I wasn’t about to give up.

I knew, as a firefighter, these are the types of situations you have to push through.

That’s when I bought some gear online and started practicing: on my own and at the station. During that time, I was getting more and more comfortable, so I joined a nearby volunteer department for 2 years until I felt confident enough to give it another shot.

This time, though, I was prepared. I made it through the Academy, eventually getting hired at the local department I wanted.

Now I’m a professional firefighter and have a number of certifications (one I’m still working on):

  • Firefighter I and II (June 2022)
  • Woodland Fire Suppression (March 2022)
  • AR EMT (December 2022)
  • Hazmat Operations (April 2022)
  • Core Rescue (August 2023)
  • Paramedic (In Progress)

Hopefully here you’ll find helpful information and be inspired to get your own career started. And if you need to reach me, get in touch here or email me at josiah @ firefighternow.com. I’m happy to help answer any questions.