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FireRecruit.com
by FireRecruit.com

Becoming a firefighter: 10 must-do things

Use this checklist to make yourself the best candidate possible for the firefighter job you want

By Steve Prziborowski

Fire Recruit Job Listings

Being a firefighter is not easy and neither is the process of becoming a firefighter. Competition is fierce and the hiring process can be very grueling and challenging, something many people do not endure or succeed at. More than 70% give up the pursuit of becoming a firefighter and move on to other career choices. There are likely many reasons for this statistic. Perhaps they did not know what they were getting into when they began the process, or they did not adequately prepare themselves.

In no specific order, here are 10 must-do things every firefighter candidate should be doing to increase their odds of getting hired:

1. Become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
The great majority of departments are requiring an EMT certification to apply and more than 90% will require this certification after hire. Since most fire departments run upwards of 70% or more emergency medical related responses, it only makes sense for them to require this as a prerequisite; additionally, it is much less training they have to provide you during the recruit academy. Many departments are looking for licensed paramedics; however, before you can usually apply to paramedic school, you must first successfully pass EMT training. Work experience as an EMT on a 9-1-1 ambulance is also extremely beneficial, and often required for many paramedic programs. If you have decided on this career path, get yourself enrolled in an EMT class and consider Paramedic school only if you have a genuine interest in EMS and want to work as a Paramedic. Do not do it to simply increase your opportunities in the fire service.

2. Volunteer your time
It doesn't matter if it is fire or non-fire related volunteer experience. Departments are looking for those with the desire and ability to provide community service and nothing proves this more than doing volunteer community service work. It is also a great way to build your resume for those just getting started and get great references. There are many great opportunities out there, so seek them out and find something that interests you. The American Red Cross is always looking for volunteers, and CPR instructors. Burn camps are also a great place to volunteer and start networking with fire service professionals, but also consider homeless shelters, habitat for humanity, big brother programs and other great opportunities where you can make an impact on your community. This is what the fire service is all about and these are the kinds of people we are looking to join our team and represent our departments and profession.

3. Take fire technology classes at a local community college
Even though this is typically not a requirement to apply for a fire job, it sure looks good on your resume and prepares you for the career. It shows some dedication, commitment and initiative towards your career of choice. Invest in your future before you get the job because most fire academies fire departments put recruits through at the beginning of their employment only scratch the surface on a number of critical areas. For example, our department recruit academy only provides 3 hours of building construction, and 5 hours of fire behavior; 2 of the most important subjects a firefighter needs to know. Do yourself a favor and take a semester long class of each at your local community college where you'll get about 53 or so hours of training on a subject that is a contributing factor of firefighter injuries and line-of-duty deaths.

4. Maintain a clean background and lifestyle
Whether you agree or disagree, it doesn't matter. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Having a track record of problems (vehicle accidents, traffic tickets, arrests, domestic violence, anger management issues, etc.) will only make it harder for you to stand out in a positive way when compared to your competition. You can't change the past, but you can start making some changes that will affect your future.

5. Understand ALL of the phases of the firefighter hiring process
If you do not understand what phases you will have to successfully pass, and pass well, to become a firefighter, how are you ever going to succeed? The selection process will vary in different regions and even from department to department, but there are some basic similarities across the board. You need to become familiar with this process as a whole and each step within the process. Start doing some research on how departments in your area, or where you hope to test, conduct their recruitments and what the more commonly used phases are (oral interview, written examination, physical agility, background investigation, etc.).

6. Start taking firefighter tests
What better way to understand all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process than taking firefighter tests! Each test better prepares you for the next. Who cares if you fail a portion of the test; what matters is that you have exposed yourself to the process and more importantly, have a better idea of what to expect in the future, since most fire departments have very similar hiring process components. If you fail, (which you may – most do at some point in the process of becoming a firefighter. I know I did, I failed a physical ability exam, a written exam and even an oral interview because I did not truly prepare and was not sure what I was getting into), make sure you learn from your mistakes and don't make the same mistake twice! You'll never know your strengths and weaknesses of the hiring process unless you start taking tests. How do I find out which departments are testing? A great place to start is to sign up for www.firerecruit.com and be advised of firefighter opportunities across the country. Don't rely on word of mouth, or rely solely on your own efforts. Most departments test very infrequently. Although some departments test every 6 months, most departments test every 2-3 years and some large metropolitan departments may go as long as 6-10 years between tests. The test you did not hear about and did not apply with, may have been the one. Taking tests is the ONLY way to get hired, so knowing whose testing and taking the tests is obviously of utmost importance. It's worth the small investment to subscribe to a service such as FireRecruit.com to make sure you are not missing out on an opportunity.

7. Stop by fire stations
Take the time to visit your local fire stations, especially those that are a part of the fire department you are applying for. Talking to Firefighters is a great way to find out more about the career and specific department as well as any programs they may have such as cadet positions, reserve firefighter or other opportunities. Your local Firefighters are a great resource for you to learn from and start networking with. These firefighters obviously had what it took to get through the hiring process, and they may have also sat on oral boards or have been involved in their department's hiring process in some capacity. Find out what they like and dislike about their department, and ask them their advice on what you should be doing to become a firefighter and what they did. Don't believe everything you hear, but do try to listen to everyone and try to see what the common themes are. Doing a pre-interview station visit will help you during the interview. You may be asked questions such as what you know about the department, or asked other questions where you can tie the information you obtained from the visit into your response. For example, when you're asked the question in the oral interview: "Why do you want to work for our department?" – you can honestly answer something like "I want to work for this department because when I stopped by the fire stations and met with your firefighters, I was extremely impressed by…" What that does is provide a unique story so you don't sound like every other candidate, and it shows you visited the fire stations and did your homework– something we're looking for candidates to do.

8. Get some life experience
The last think the fire department who hires you wants to do is have to train or teach you how to clean a toilet, how to treat customers, how to cook a meal, how to do dishes, how to do yard work or even basic mechanical aptitude. These are things you should bring to the job, and not expect the fire department to have to teach you! Your new Captain (a rank very commonly represented on oral board interview panels) does not want to teach you how to do any of those above mentioned duties. They should be teaching you things like fire behavior, building construction, tool and equipment operations and maintenance, etc. How does one gain life experience? By getting out of their comfort zone, exploring a variety of vocations, gaining various job skills and most importantly gaining their independence.

9. Start preparing for your background investigation
I have seen many candidates prepare for all the other phases of the testing process, pass with flying colors, but then fail the background because they lied, or had something in their background that was enough to disqualify them that they were not forthright with, or they did not have the necessary information. A background investigation packet is typically 25 or more pages in length, and is going to ask you for some intimate and specific details such as:
• Information from every employer you have worked for (dates, duties, title, supervisor name, salary, etc.).
• Information from every school you have attended – high school and later (degrees received, dates attended, grade point average, etc.).
• Information about certificates, licenses, or other key documents you may possess and will be required to show proof of by the way of a photocopy.
• Information about your family members and friends, so the background investigator can meet with them and ask about you.
• Information about your credit history, including accounts at different banking institutions, amount of debt, etc. Yes, bad credit can hurt you in a background.
• Information about your driving record, including dates, locations and outcomes of tickets and accidents.
• Information about your military experiences, if any.
It is not uncommon for this packet to be given to a candidate with the expectation to return it complete, within a week or less. Some of the above items can take months or longer to obtain; thinking you're going to get the background packet on Monday, request transcripts or military records and expect to get the needed information back to the fire department by Friday is quite unrealistic. Be prepared in advance and have this information ready now. You will need to submit to a background and provide this information once you make it through the process, so don't wait until then to do it. Many candidates wash out in the background. Don't be one of them.

10. Learn as much as you can about the fire service and get some "hands on" experience
The fire service should not just be a job; it should be a career and you should be passionate about the career and all that goes along with it. Besides the above mentioned items, take the time to subscribe to fire service publications like Firehouse Magazine and FireEngineering magazine, and e-mail lists such as the ones available on FireRescue1.com – www.firerescue1.com. It is not uncommon for fire departments to ask you such questions as "where is the fire service going to be in 5 years?" or "what are the three biggest issues facing the fire service today?" Having your thumb on the pulse of the fire service, will help you to standout from your competition and prepare you for the career. Unlike many other careers, the educational course and pathway into the fire service is rather vague. It is going to be up to you to educate yourself and seek out the opportunities that are available. You must be aggressively pro-active in your quest for knowledge and information. You must also seek out opportunities to gain hands on experience to compliment your education. This can be done through departments in your area that offer cadet, volunteer, reserve, paid call or other positions that will give you hands on training and experience. There are also great hands on classes and training opportunities available. Find out what's available in your area. Again your local Firefighters are a great resource. Other great resources include your Fire Science Instructors at your local community college, your State Fire Marshal's Office and/or website and FDIC and FireHouse World Expo's.

By completing all ten of the above suggestions, you will NOT be guaranteed a career in the fire service. There are no guarantees in life, except birth, death and paying taxes. Completing these items does not guarantee that you will ever become a firefighter. However, your odds should increase greatly since you will be making yourself more marketable, more informed and the best overall candidate you can be. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and good things come to those who wait. Do not try and rush things and do not expect it to happen overnight. Patience, hard work, dedication and perseverance are the keys to success in any field.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For more information about becoming a firefighter feel free to contact me at:

Steve Prziborowski
Battalion Chief / Santa Clara County Fire Department
Fire Technology Instructor / Chabot College
(408) 205-9006 – Cellular phone
sprziborowski@aol.com
www.chabotfire.com



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Comments
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Tchooko Bitard Tchooko Bitard Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:19:03 AM U r something!!!
Mike Rankin Mike Rankin Thursday, September 20, 2012 9:51:46 AM thanks
Charlie LoPez Charlie LoPez Friday, October 19, 2012 4:12:42 PM Nice
Marcel Jenkins Marcel Jenkins Monday, October 22, 2012 7:44:17 PM Appreciate this greatly.
Shinal Wint Shinal Wint Tuesday, October 23, 2012 4:27:10 PM great help
Kenito Ben Leroy Kenito Ben Leroy Thursday, October 25, 2012 9:15:44 AM thas nice help your nation.
Brandon N Jeanna Guajardo Brandon N Jeanna Guajardo Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:50:46 PM I would love to be a fire fighter, but I'm still undecided
Richie Okyere Richie Okyere Friday, November 09, 2012 1:59:41 PM great job
Johnathan Holliday Johnathan Holliday Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:27:34 PM I would love to become a firefighter but I still can't figure it out
Daniel Parfitt Daniel Parfitt Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:29:40 PM I'm currently a mechanic, but wished I chose fire fighting as my career, and STILL DO. but not sure how to start the process.
Claire Louise Philpott Claire Louise Philpott Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:33:01 PM Think you'll need to go college for all the training and stuff that's what I got told a few years ago so dunno weather its changed
Daniel Parfitt Daniel Parfitt Saturday, December 01, 2012 1:45:21 PM yeah im going to start sorting it in new year, i got loads info documents from a neighbor who is 1.
Jason Mills Jason Mills Saturday, December 01, 2012 2:16:57 PM Yeah you need to do at least uniform services at college mate thats the quickest way into it also you can become a volunter, good on ya for giving it ago
Lesley Rideout Lesley Rideout Saturday, December 01, 2012 3:03:19 PM Dan if you want to do it you will x
Jason Klipfel Jason Klipfel Thursday, February 07, 2013 1:20:16 PM Daniel, I'm making the same change from diesel mechanic to firefighter. College is a great place to start, but if thats not possible, try a volunteer fire dept to get some experience, check your state fire marshalls office for FREE traning offered through the National Fire Acadamy, and EMT-B is a must these days. Good luck!
Matt Bell Matt Bell Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:31:37 PM Very good pointers on getting ready to be a firefighter.
Matt Bell Matt Bell Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:32:07 PM Firefighting is very competitive in some areas and requires an EMT or fire science degree.
Charms Amanda Charms Amanda Sunday, February 10, 2013 12:36:05 PM I think might do this.
Brianna Henderson Brianna Henderson Wednesday, February 13, 2013 1:09:55 PM Can you do the test at me?
Mitja Bero Mitja Bero Monday, April 08, 2013 1:18:01 PM Very useful information for someone who is looking to become a firefighter. I also recommend this source if you're just starting: http://www.howtobecomeafirefighterinusa.com/.
Jacob Lopez Jacob Lopez Sunday, June 02, 2013 7:21:18 PM I am currently waiting to ship out to basic training for the U.S. Army. Hopefully this prepares me for the rigorous work I'll be doing as a firefighter. Also my MOS is 74D (Chemical Specialist) and we take many courses similar to firefighters so that too will help.
Chris Ortiz Chris Ortiz Monday, June 03, 2013 2:47:55 AM 74D will not help at all
Sarah Rajchart Sarah Rajchart Wednesday, June 05, 2013 5:58:26 PM this is a well written article but a bit discouraging.
Derrick Duree Derrick Duree Friday, June 14, 2013 4:54:14 AM Great information but makes it seem damn near impossible unless you're young and perfect lol
Lenin Gilbert Aguirre Lenin Gilbert Aguirre Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:21:13 PM Motivated...
Darrell Jay Johnson Darrell Jay Johnson Thursday, July 04, 2013 7:00:13 AM Right on!
Yesenia Garcia Yesenia Garcia Sunday, July 14, 2013 11:40:58 PM I just graduated high school and i hope to become a firefighter. This article was just what i need to help me move forward in pursuing my career thank you!
Jeannie Nilsen Green Jeannie Nilsen Green Monday, July 15, 2013 10:33:31 AM Good plan! I know a few who used to be YL leaders. They might have good advice. Congratulations!!
Owen Weinle Owen Weinle Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:32:24 PM well I still have two more years of high school my senior year I will take a EMT class, I'm a volunteer firefighter and looking forward to going to a fire college and after I graduate from there I might as well keep going and join the AIR FORCE as a firefighter. and after that I'm not sure.. message me on facebook if you have any good ideas for me?
Jacob Howard Jacob Howard Monday, July 29, 2013 4:50:12 PM dont join the air force, join the marine corps
Monday, August 05, 2013 8:44:39 AM Daniel Parfitt / Hey Daniel, I will give you this one piece of advice. You have one life, make the most of it. If firefighting is what you want to do, then go for it. You may have to move to another city or even state. Just depends on where you can get hired. Also I encourage all (especiallly) younger people to get at least a 2 yr. degree in fire science. Good luck to you.
Monday, August 05, 2013 9:36:57 AM Yesenia, I will give you the same advice I gave Daniel (few post down), get a degree in fire science (at least 2 yr). Also if there is any organization around you that uses EMT's, try to get involved with them. Most Jr. colleges offer free classes if you are a member of say a volunteer fire dept. Good luck to you.
Hector Perez Molina Hector Perez Molina Thursday, August 15, 2013 11:31:33 PM Very discouraging! I felt that way, but also i now have more respect for firemen and women, they sound committed and generous also humble, i feel like hugging one n thanking them! It's not so discouraging as it is grueling work. Very motivated individuals, hats off to you.
Kieontay Williams Kieontay Williams Thursday, August 22, 2013 5:25:16 AM I just had my first day of fire technology class and I'm already loving it. I don't really know what my next step would be.
Bill Waugaman Bill Waugaman Tuesday, August 27, 2013 8:01:06 PM Here's a few pointers I passed on to my Marines after I was hired on.1. Take EVERY test. Don't get tunneled in on one specific dept. You will learn more about the testing process as you pass/fail each time. 2. Don't shy away from being a volunteer Firefighter. I was a volunteer in the 80's and learned volumes from my senior crews, and gained that experience. 3. Education will get your mind ready. Knowledge is power and when it comes time to put that power in your hands it will all fall into place. I have been in the fire service since 1986 as an Explorer, volunteer, paid-call and military and don't regret the long road. It has made me a better veteran that now mentors our probationary firefighters and the rewards are innumerable. Best of luck to you all, wherever you are!
Donald Glenn Donald Glenn Tuesday, September 03, 2013 9:30:03 PM Go for it dude and I want to be a firefighter....
Donald Glenn Donald Glenn Tuesday, September 03, 2013 9:30:30 PM Nice...
David Amaya Ambriz David Amaya Ambriz Sunday, September 22, 2013 11:51:20 PM becoming a fire fighter is my dream job when i was 17 years old im now 22yrs old i think its time to make my dream into a reality. ''fingers crossed''
Ionu? Ahri?culesei Ionu? Ahri?culesei Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:09:02 AM Hello! I am a firefighter from Romania. :)
Daryl Flood Daryl Flood Saturday, September 28, 2013 3:50:46 PM All you need today is a Medic cert and a pulse.
Jim Donald Jim Donald Sunday, September 29, 2013 6:03:13 AM bad advice..go Air and into crash rescue fire fighting..did 5 years then got on dept for another 30
Craig Clement Craig Clement Thursday, October 03, 2013 12:14:38 PM I am 54 years old. Would I be considered too old?
Danny Thomas Danny Thomas Sunday, October 06, 2013 9:24:23 PM This will prepare my 16 yr. old son for in the future to prepare him of a career, he wants to serve his community. A Proud dad.
Kyle Liu Kyle Liu Monday, October 14, 2013 8:04:30 PM haha
Clay Spence Clay Spence Tuesday, October 15, 2013 7:12:46 PM Number 1 should be: Get in shape. You may think your in good physical condition until you start doing the physical testing portion of the hiring process.
Darin Gillespie Darin Gillespie Monday, November 11, 2013 9:54:14 PM Why is it discouraging to you?
Lakeia Brown Lakeia Brown Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2:03:41 PM Will the depatment help me thru school
Colin McConnaughhay Colin McConnaughhay Friday, November 22, 2013 2:25:51 PM very bad advice: the air force has some of the best real world fire fighting programs. my buddy is fire protection. he deployed, spent most of his time on fire prevention duty, and the rest on medical detail. but, remember what they say: 23 hours of sheer boredom, 1 hour of scared shitless action. AF FP get soo many certifictions, so its the best field to go into. have NO illusions of BMT, they say its easy. I guarunfreakingtee you it isnt.
Louis Virag Louis Virag Thursday, December 19, 2013 2:03:29 PM Do you need to have a drivers license or what if you have a couple points on ure drivers license
Cliff Munson Cliff Munson Friday, January 31, 2014 11:14:21 AM I am an instructor in a community college fire protection program. All of this is really good advice, but let me add something that should be at the top of the list. Learn to read and write well. Many students come to us out of high school or from the military lacking these skills. If you do not read and write at a high level you will struggle in the college programs and probably in life. It will diminish your chances of getting hired by a fire department and will greatly limit your career if you are hired. The fire service is a complex and demanding career and these skills are vital.
Dylan Orion Perry Dylan Orion Perry Friday, February 28, 2014 4:23:05 PM It really helped thank you
Adam Flora Adam Flora Monday, March 10, 2014 9:47:34 PM What collages will help with my future in firefighting?
Nelmarie Boshoff Nelmarie Boshoff Sunday, March 23, 2014 6:26:23 AM I'm a 17 years old Girl , and I descovered I want to be a Firefighter I'm extremely passionate about this !! But everyones telling me that I should do something real with my life ,
Joshua Jobe Joshua Jobe Wednesday, March 26, 2014 10:02:36 PM I'm a 14 year old and a friend of mine was living in an abandoned house. he was helping someone who had been abused and their parents did not like that so they lite the house on fire and probably hoping he was inside. I had invited him to a dinner with my friends and he had not shown up so i went to the house and went to the top floor where he usually is. even before I went in I knew the top floor was on fire but I still went in hoping he was not in there but ready to get burned to help him I have been called stupid because I went in but I really did not care if I got hurt or even died because I could have saved his life I later found out he was not in there. I think since I love helping others and I have " run into a burning building" i should be a firefighter
Sunday, April 06, 2014 12:46:58 PM That you should do something real with your life? How much more real is learning to save others from disasters? My dad told me growing up I couldn't do it (become a firefighter) and he just blushes when I confront him about it because I over came what people were telling me. I did what I wanted to do and I became a Firefighter. Make sure your pursuing this career for the right reasons. It's the best adrenaline you could ever get in your life, just saying from experience. Good luck!
Bruce J. Dafoe Bruce J. Dafoe Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:04:44 PM I have a back for doing stupid stuff but I have risked my life for my brothers in the past my younger brother was playing in a creek when it was raining all of a sudden flash flood he got swept over a ledge and without thinking
Bruce J. Dafoe Bruce J. Dafoe Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:06:31 PM I jumped in to save him I could have died but we are alive and well
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:17:05 AM Local community colleges should have a fire academy, cpr, and emt basic courses. If not, use the internet. I live in North Carolina and Fayetteville State University has a fire safety degree in joint coordination with Fayetteville Tech Community College... Your last semester in the 4 year program will be mostly be mentoring and polishing. If they like you after you graduate then you'll be hired for the city. When I was 17 I was a junior volunteer and my department's county payed for ALL of the FF1 through the entire year... So once a month we had a class for three days, which would include HAZMAT, Fire Behavior (you'll learn about the fire "triangle", and flash fires.) It was pretty cool.. If you were 17 and wanted to be a fire fighter you could earn your FF1 cert while you were in high school. Anyway, best way to get started is to become a volunteer.
Dylan Oakes Dylan Oakes Saturday, April 12, 2014 10:50:09 AM lol, I think I wouldn't have been able to call you a friend if I thought you wouldn't save me in a fire.
David Scott Hall David Scott Hall Friday, April 25, 2014 4:47:23 PM im going to be one here soon nobody told me that do what oyu want with your life its your life not ther's
Austin Aaron Austin Aaron Wednesday, May 28, 2014 8:56:41 AM I honar what you did and am not tryin to take away what you did or anything but I am a fire fighter a volinteer and when I first joined the dept I wanted to be inteerior qualified and my caption told me look I don't care if you have went through fire one or not and have been in the burn tower that he wants to make sure himself that I am ready to go I to a fire and with other guys and have them count on you not to get uptight and run for the door or to freeze up and get someone els hurt or killed and I didn't really understand but then we went to a drill a love fire drill and I went into that fire with all my gear on and a air pack and also trying to pull a hose I with me I then found out how hard it really was even tho I have been In a fire before you don't realize how hard it is when you have all that gear on and trying to haul a hose In with you so all I'm trying g to say is get the experience and try it out before you think that you should be a fire fighter just because you went into a burning house because there's a lot more to it such as reading signs also the fire is a living breathing monster and you need to be able to read it such as for back drafts or flash overs or knowing what to do in a situation that you get cought up in. Stay safe
Terrence Nails Terrence Nails Monday, June 09, 2014 8:42:21 AM Im thinking of becoming a firefighter myself. Do i have to have an EMT certification or can i have just a fire science degree instead?
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 5:47:59 PM Very well said. I am a career firefighter, instructor, and have a college degree in fire science. If you want to be one of the chosen few that gets into one of the most desired career field where there are thousands of applicants per position, listen to the advise given here. Make yourself stand out in the interview. I'm sure that every captain sitting on a panel board interview has heard the "i want to help people" speech before. Stand out and explain how you have helped people before. Take a class on how to sit for an interview. Do your part to stand out from the crowd and shine like the person you are. That is what it will take for you to get noticed and get the offer letter that we all hope for.
Peytllama Swedenborg Peytllama Swedenborg Tuesday, July 01, 2014 2:48:50 PM I am taking a Firefighting/EMS course at my school tech center next year and i am really struggling with online classes do you need an advanced diploma to become a firefighter???
Mary Buhs-hoppen Mary Buhs-hoppen Thursday, July 17, 2014 2:35:39 PM Do I have to be an Us citizen in order to be a firefighter?
Kelly McGrath Kelly McGrath Tuesday, August 12, 2014 1:43:14 PM #6 (Start taking firefighter tests) and #10 (Learn as much as you can about the fire service and get some "hands on" experience) are best advice. Now, yes, you can always buy study guides and practice tests online (check out www.fireservicebooks.com/publishers/jones-bartlett/fundamentals-of-firefighting.html), it's harder to find "hands-on" experience. This is where DVDs demonstrating the procedures firefighters must complete will come in handy. I've done some research and found the the aforementioned website has all the materials you'd need to accomplish #6 and #10. Cheers!
Jarred Jensen Jarred Jensen Monday, September 15, 2014 4:19:32 PM I am 22 and I am interested in becoming a firefighter but from the sounds of it i could very possibly put in loads and loads of work perusing this career and end up empty handed. Now i live in the real world meaning i am not living with my parents or have the luxury of having anything paid for by anyone else and i have many bills and not tons of extra time to do something that will not pay off. I do have debt and have worked under the table jobs so i am concerned that that will automatically hurt my chances so i was wondering if anyone can give a little insight on whether the chances of actually getting a paid position are good or not. I would love start this as a career but i also have to be able to pay my bills in the mean time and i don't want to make a bunch of sacrifices if it is really as competitively hard as it seems. Im not at all concerned about the physically demanding part more so just considering the fact that 1000 people that are just as qualified as i am would be applying, it almost seems like a shot in the dark kind of situation. please help!

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