What influnced you to join the fire and ems service? Was it by watching emergency or any other first response series? Was it generations of family service? Was it the desire to help people? if so tell us about it.
I joined because I wanted to serve the people of my town also it's been in the family for years with my Dad being a wildland firefighter for the Michigan Department of Natrual Reasources for 41 years he passed away in 2003 and I'm following in his foot steps.
Roy & Johnny influenced me quite a bit....not to mention Chet, Dixie McCall, Dr. Bracket and Cap'n. I loved hearing "KMG-365" as the Squad rolled out of the bay. So, yes, Emergency! influenced me very much as boy to want to be a Fireman.
I Joined the Army right out of high school with every intention of serving four years and going home to be a Firefighter. Things changed and I ended up staying in (my wife is also Active Duty and didn't want to get out...) . So I found myself unhappy and bored with my life because I am less than fulfilled with my desk-jocky job in the Army. So while I was deployed, I decided to start volunteering as a Firefighter when I got back to the States...and I did. I enjoy helping people and being there for them when they cannot help themselves. I also love the comaradery and teamwork in a Firehouse, it's much stronger than in my part of the Army.
Now, of course, I'm in Korea and once-again "Jonesing" for firefighting. Only another 13 1/2 months and I'm back on a Rig. But who's counting?
I joined the Fire Service because I felt that I needed to do my bit for the greater community. I have never looked back since. I totally enjoy the friendship and "Family" of the firefighting fraturnity.
Didn't watch Emergency and none of my family have ever been involved with the fire service. I did it to challenge myself. I was a florist....lol ...for 10 years before I decided to jump head first into this profession. Now I'm a Captain in a paid dept......still loving it, after 15 years!!
Yeah..."Emergency!" was an influence on me so was "Adam-12"! When I was little, I wanted to be one or the other. The stereotypical american boy...wanted to either be a fireman or a policeman. But that all changed when I was about 7 years old and Dad started as a paid firefighter in my hometown. Dad took me to a couple of the fires to watch. The smells, the sights, the sounds, and all the activity. Hanging around at the station on snow-days when he had duty. Heck, back then, even the alarm room was interesting (calls are transferred from 911 and they dispatch themselves).
I found myself wanting to get more involved and help the community. I found that helping people was very rewarding to me.
I left home for the Navy when I was 19 and have been in since then but sea-duty and other things kept me from getting involved. I did get a lot of training through the Navy on firefighting (although shipboard FF differs some from "civilian"). I also got a good amount of hazmat, emergency medical, first responder, and MCI training that really gave me a taste of it and made me want it even more.
I have since transferred to my last (shore) duty station and joined a Vol. department in my town and just finished up my EMT certification. Once I get "cut loose" or "turned over" after my FTO period and get some time under my belt , then I will work on firefighting...maybe.
I grew up in a town of 1200 so about everyone knew everyone else. My neighbor was Jerry Bob Lawson and I remember seeing him run out of the house to answer the call to duty as a volunteer. I remember when the town got it's new fire truck and my Dad took me to sit in the front seat. I guess it was a combination of things that brought about my decision to become a volunteer. I have been a First Responder, and EMT. I now am in my 20th year in fire service. I am proud of the accomplishments I've made as a Firefighter. I also serve the community as a Funeral Director and Embalmer. I guess everyone has a sense of community and public service but we as Firefighters, EMT's, Paramedics, Haz-Mat Responders and those who have specialized in an area of these groups take that sense and put it out there to better our communitys and our selves. MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL, KEEP YOU SAFE AND PLACE A HAND OF COMFORT ON YOUR LOVED ONES AS YOU DO THE JOB YOU DO. DARRELL PENBERTHY - DEXTER, MISSOURI
I love this question, because as an instructor at my departments recruit academy, it is one that I am asked often. I started my career later that most. I was hired in 1992 at what is considered in our vocation the ripe old age of 34. For some years I had a close friend I attended church with that was a captain with the department I now work for. He was always encouraging me to apply with the FD because he felt I would be good at it and said he would enjoy working with me. Although I felt this was an awesome compliment, unlike most that come to work in the fire service at a younger age, I had no burning desire (no pun intended) to be a fireman. In 1986 I did finally put in an application and was actually hired and invited to a recruit class. As part of the hiring process and part of the departments process of elimination they did various back round checks including a DMV report which could not include a driving suspension within the last 3 years prior to the date of hire. Unfortunately for me, 2 years and eleven months prior to 1986 when I was 24 and not the most responsible driver I started serving a 3 month suspension for excessive points. So even with only 1 month left in the required time frame for the job the offer was rescinded. Lessons learned! Yet unbeknownst to me God had a plan.
Some years went by and after getting laid off, due to downsizing, from a great paying management position in the service industry I re-applied to the same department when they started hiring again. Also fortunately for me this was still during a time when fire departments were still hiring applicants off the street without prior fire or EMT certifications. At 32 years old I now had a family with 2 kids and would have never been able to afford quitting my job or working part time in order to go to fire school and EMT school. I took the civil service test and scored very high and passed the departments required physical agility test. Yet despite this, the county department I work for was now under a federal mandate for affirmative action hiring and so I waited on a hiring list for two years. Get this, I'm hispanic, with a clearly hispanic sounding last name and I was still passed over for the position by other minorities with far lower scores on the civil service exam than I. Yet still I do sincerely believe God had a greater plan.
At the beginning of June, 1992 the county human resources department that did all the hiring for the fire department called me and offered me a position contingent upon successful completion of fire academy and EMT school all while being paid full starting salary with benefits. Funny thing is that when ever the county had an application process and generated a list of possible candidates for firefighters, per the locals bargaining agreement the list had to be in affect for 2 years after passing scores were posted and then the list was expunged and a new test was given and a new list generated. I was the second to the last person offered a position, for the last recruit class, for the list I was on. The list list was expunged one week later. I know for a fact that I probably would never had applied again. God os good, He had a greater plan.
So back to the original question. Unlike most, who have wanted to be firefighters since they were knee high, I had no such aspirations. My only encounter with the fire department to date had been as a young boy growing up in NYC and on a dare pulled the call box at my corner just to see the fire trucks come down the street.
Well when FDNY's bravest showed up and one of them saw us staring at them from around the corner of an apartment building. He came over and boy did he ever read us the riot act about false alarms and how it kills people when they can't respond to those who really need them. Believe you me, when ever I passed a call box after that I would walk across the street just to avoid it.
So applying for a job in the fire service was out a necessity to feed my family and I really had no idea what I was getting into. After completion of my rookie year, I can tell you with out a doubt, that I was born to do this job and after 16 years I arrived to my station with the same excitement, energy, and determination I had in my rookie year.
I work for a large, paid, county department in south Florida. We have approximately 1600 employees, including firefighters, dispatchers, inspectors, investigators and a public education staff. Our department is only 25 years old and now the second largest department in the state. We have had our growing pains and I am proud to have been a part of them, because probably like you I believe I work for one of the best fire departments in the country. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it.
Remember Brother's and Sister's we all know we need to stay safe, more importantly "train to live"!
Jim Hernandez, FF/PM/HNGRD
PBCFR, 3rd Battalion, Sta. 33/B
"The Fire Factory"
I seem to have this thing where i dont express properly what I am trying to say. Or maybe people just take it the wrong way lol.
I was not in anyway trying to discredit anyone for any job they do. Yes it is true that without people who answer phones we wouldnt have dispatchers or service people to service our equipment. But the fact isNot many people can do this job. And thats also true of many jobs in this world, I know I cannot be a Navy S.E.A.L, or someone who works in construction.
The fact is, I am on a vol. dept. and my full time job in fact IS on the phone all day. I am an admin asst. for an autobody supply company. I was using it as an example becuase it was front and center in my mind. Nothing more . . .
The judge told me the Fireservice or the jail.......LOL...No, not at all.....but some people might think that...I get asked all the time...."Why do you go to the fire department so much..?" "You have to train to do this too..?" "Why do you go there..?"...Just once I would like to tell them the truth......I go there so I am prepared to save your sorry ass when you do something stupid......But, I know PR......you can't tell John Q. Public that...you may think it but you just can't say it......I do what I do because I believe that we should all give something back to our communities...I do it for the little boy/girl that dumps their bicycle and skins their knees...I do it for the elderly that have done so much and now might need a little help......Most of all I do it for my neighbors, friends and fellow citizens.......I DO IT FOR YOU......stay safe...sleep well....WE are there for you...just a 911 call away...................Paul