What advice would you give your younger self before joining the fire service?

"Find the most cantankerous old firefighter and follow and hang on every word."


Every old firefighter was once a rookie.

We've all made mistakes that we wish we could go back and fix. Some wish they would have trained more, started younger or took better care of themselves.

Having the benefit of hindsight, here's what our Facebook fans would have told their younger selves before joining the fire service.

If you're just now getting into the fire service, review and remember these responses.

And, if you haven't already, add your thoughts in the comment section below.

"I was a volunteer firefighter for 40 years. My son is a career firefighter. When he was a cadet at the academy, I told him one thing: find the most cantankerous old firefighter and follow and hang on every word." — Mike Sedgwick Sr.

"Listen to your seniors. They aren't being hard on you for no reason; they are working hard to see you continue the standard they have already set." — Greg Stoughton

"You can never train enough or prepare yourself enough for the literal hell that you are about to encounter. The only thing that will bring you out alive is the brother or sister in front or behind you! Don't be a hero. And above all, don't bring shame and dishonor upon yourself, your department or your brother and sister firefighters." — Andy Kinard

"Stay on the busy department longer. You'll look back and regret leaving for the money." — Tyler Sundie

"Remember to always take the time to care for yourself. Stay healthy in body, mind and spirit. You can't help anyone if you are falling apart." — Essie Marie Titus

"Become a sponge. Learn all you can, take as many courses, because it could very well one day save your life." — Austin Munro

"Don't let the politicians ruin the fire service you love." — Seth Allison

"You are going to see some stuff that will haunt you. Don't let it ruin your life or relationship. Keep getting on the truck … you can handle anything." — Robert Lane

"Start younger." — Patrick Fay

"Ask questions, always keep your head on a swivel, always ensure your own safety first, then others. If you are not sure of an order or assignment, don't do it until it is clear." — LeRoy Johnson

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