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Your first year as a probationary firefighter: 4 keys to success

Make a good impression and launch your firefighter career on the right foot with these tips for probationary firefighters


Over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up with a lot of firefighter candidates who have used FirefighterNOW’s programs to help them get through the interview. One question I’m always sure to ask is “what advice would you give to someone trying to become a firefighter?” Inevitably, I get a wide range of answers, but one that really stands out is “I wish I wouldn’t have done X, Y or Z while on probation.”

If you don’t know already that you need to be on time or look professional for your interview and first day, you probably won’t even make it past the hiring phase. However, if you’re past that, I have four unconventional tips for new firefighters to help you survive day one, and ultimately, your first year.

1. Bring an edible gift on your first day

Most fire departments will put new hires through a few weeks of 40s before they go on shift. This means your first couple weeks will be 8-hour days, adding up to 40-hour weeks. Every place is a little different, but generally there will be a process in place so you are exposed to every shift on the department. Bring something for each new crew when it is your first day with them.

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