My Education: BA, Sociology
My Prior Experience: I served in the Marine Corps and trained as an emergency medical technician.
My Company: A hook and ladder company.
Job/Career Overview: Our main objective as firefighters is to save people's lives and property from a variety of hazards. When the alarm sounds we get dressed very quickly and get on the trucks. We drive to the house that is on fire. The firemen on the ladder trucks go inside the house and search for trapped victims. The engine truck pulls off fire hoses and gets them in position to spray water on the fire.
We also respond to medical emergencies. If someone is feeling sick, we respond and help them until the paramedics arrive. 90% of all fire fighters are EMTs (emergency medical techs) and we assess the situation and stabilize the patient. We can stop bleeding, provide oxygen, and perform CPR.
We also respond to auto accidents. Sometimes, when two or more cars crash, the metal crunches so that we cannot open the doors to the car. When this happens we can't get inside to provide the necessary medical attention to the person trapped within. We use a special tool called the "Jaws Of Life" to cut through the mangled metal and rescue the person inside.
When we are not on emergency calls, we are usually doing house work at the fire station. We also train on a regular basis. We get to cook lunch and dinner and eat together as a group. I love being a firefighter because I get to help people, work with fun tools and also be part of a firefighter brotherhood.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
I don't like the politics of my job. I also don't like the potential layoffs and threats to trucks going out of service. It is difficult to see people hurt or when they die. I have a difficult time consoling people who have lost a loved one. I really enjoying helping the public. I enjoy fighting fires. I have saved two people's lives so far on the job. I love the guys I work with. The benefits are good as well.
I would advise a young person to go into the military if they really want to get on-the-job training. I would advise them to go to EMT school and take fire science courses. I would also tell that person to stay out of trouble. I would make sure that person prepares for and takes the civil service exam. I would also ensure that person has met the residency requirement for the city or town they want to work for.