Going through the process of joining the fire service can be long, stressful and a roller coaster of emotions. There are several questions to ask yourself before jumping into this career. Here’s 5 important tips to remember when working your way through the process.
Am I willing to be patient?
No one seems to tell you this when you’re in fire school. Going through the process takes time. It can take anywhere from 2-8 months depending on the city/district you are applying for.
The good news is that this gives you ample time to prepare. You need to be in peak physical condition as a fireman. Use this time wisely to begin a rigorous training regimen.
Also, the long process gives you plenty of time to prepare for the interview. The interview is without a doubt the toughest, and most important part. If you’re smart you’ll spend months preparing for it.
Am I making good decisions?
Sounds simple, and rather obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people screw this up.
During the long process of becoming a firefighter, you will undoubtedly be subjected to all sorts of background checks, reference checks, criminal record checks and the list goes on.
Anything you do (especially if there is a paper trail) can and will be found out by the prospective department you are seeking employment with. Don’t do anything to jeopardize your ability to get hired.
What have I posted on social media?
It is amazing, and scary, how much you can find out about people by doing a quick search on facebook/twitter/instagram etc. The last thing you want any department seeing is a picture of you passed out drunk at a party or an angry rant from when you were dumped.
First, no one cares you got dumped and second it’s embarrassing; so get rid of it.
You don’t want your future department seeing you in that way. Remember, if you do get hired you will be a representative of the city/district and that department. A good question to ask yourself is ‘If I saw my social media profiles, would I hire me?’
What are my expectations?
If you listen to Hollywood, or any television show about firefighting, they would lead you to believe that everyday is action packed; full of explosions, fires and non stop drama and action.
Well, let me be the first to tell you that it is not. Some days are slow and boring while others are extremely busy. You will be witness to some of the most incredible selfless acts you’ve ever seen, and will will also experience some of the most heartbreaking events you can imagine.
That being said, one thing is for sure; you never know what that day is going to hold..
Who have I been taking advice from?
Everyone has an opinion, but be careful who you listen to. I truly cannot stress this enough.
During your journey to become a fireman you will have all sorts of people give you their “two cents” as to what you should do, how you should do it, what to say (or not say) and the ever so infamous ‘oh, I know _________ at the fire department, I’ll put in a good word for you.’
The best advice I can give you, as a soon to be firefighter, is to look very carefully at the people you take advice from. If they’re not in a place where you want to be, you probably shouldn’t listen to what they have to say.
Put another way, don’t listen to the guy (or gal) who will tell you things like ‘you have to know someone to get hired’ or ‘the system is rigged.’ They’ll tell you how they tried, but they just got screwed.
Chances are they didn’t get screwed, they just couldn’t cut it. I can tell you as someone who had no “connections” that it is possible to start with nothing and get the job you always wanted; sooner than you probably thought possible.
I, like you, started with nothing and no job experience yet I was able to become a paramedic, finish the fire academy and get hired all in less than 2 years! Take it from me, you have what it takes, you just need someone to show you how.