Make a plan B

Pursuing your dream job with 100 percent dedication and commitment is important, but that does not mean you shouldn't have a back-up plan.

Give some thought as to what you would do if you suffered an injury that prevented you from being a firefighter, or if you otherwise could not do the job. I set out on a course to become a full-time firefighter when I was 18. My plan was to do everything I could to get hired while going to school full-time. I was going to continue doing both until I either ended up with a PhD or became a full-time firefighter.

Either way I knew I was going to be OK. For others, a good back-up plan is often a vocational skill, or non-fire service EMS job. Your plan B will depend on your interests, skills and resources. My career nearly ended during my probationary period when I ruptured my biceps tendon off-duty.

My radius had to be drilled through to re-attach my tendon. Post surgery, my ulna and radius fused together, a rare complication with this already very invasive surgery. It was a tough time in my life. The possibility of never working in the fire service after so many years of working to get there was not an easy pill to swallow, but having already achieved my bachelors degree, I realized I had more options.

Fortunately, I was lucky: My department hired a temporary firefighter to take my spot and I was not let go. I was able to get back to duty, but not everyone is so lucky. That's where plan B comes in.


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