Hey guys! (and girls!!)

 

Just a real quick question.....As for anyone who read the last blog my mom put up...You know that I am waitibfg to hear if I got in to the local company or not...And for thoes of you that didn't see the last post well now you know....Anyway my question is....What are the chances of a disabled person getting in?.....I have mild cebral palsy...And for anyone who doesn't know what that is... It just means my legs are a little weak and in my case I don't have full function of my left hand.....And I also have visual impairments ( but I know someone on the company who is in the same boat I'm in vision wise...We are both legally blinde in our right eye...So I dont see vision holding me back)....But as I was saying....Could anyone give me an idea of my chances?...Does anyone know of another firefighter who is physically disabled....If any chiefs are reading this... would you allow someone who is physically disabled in to your company?.....And to answer any questions like well what can you do?... I am able to run...I can use my left hand to grasp things....Like I can drive a four-wheeler and snowmobile and I can minpulate the brakes on the left side...My disabilities really dont hold me back from much...because I refuse to let them... I have wanted to do this since I was about ten so I'm doing all I can to prepare myself....I work out twice a day and I'm working with my left hand like using a stress ball and and tryin to make it alittle stronger.....Just curious as to if anyone knows what my chances are as to gettting in due to being disabled...And wondering if anyone knows a disabled firefighter.....Thanks for takeing the time to read this....Sorry about rambling on.

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I think that you will definately have a chance of joining the department. Departments have to honor the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) which gives you the right to join. It is good to see that they are interviewing you because they want to get to know you and learn your expectations for the fire department. You have the right frame of mind about your limitations which makes you unique because you refuse to let them rule your life. I currently have a member on my department that is disabled. He is not allowed to go into structures, etc but it doesn't stop him from responding to a call and help out where he is needed. I take every opportunity to help teach him as do all of the other members. Don't let disability cloud your dreams.
We once had a one-armed firefighter named "Lefty" on our department. He could do just about anything the rest of us could do and surprised everyone. We miss him since he moved away. You'll find a niche and do fine. Stay safe.
The nice thing about volunteer departments is that they manage to find a place for everyone.
That being said I would remain cautiously optimistic, most likely they will be happy to have you join but it won't be as a firefighter (well, at least not an interior one).

Not having full function of one hand means that you are very limited in what you can do as firefighting is pretty much a two-handed game. Same goes for your legs, granted there may be those occasions where firefighters are crawling, but there are stairs, ladders and roofs to contend with not to mention the ability to help pull out a civilian or fallen firefighter.

Some here will tell you that you can be anything you want to be if you only just put your mind to it. They will offer you warm words of advice, e-hugs and messages encouraging your motivation and positive thoughts. What many won't do is be honest. And the honesty is that while you may find a place in your department (rehab, fire police, admin), unless you've overstated your disabilities, it won't be as a firefighter (although perplexedly some departments actually have something called an exterior firefighter. Some of them may weigh in and tell you about it.)

As to the ADA it basically says that if a person can perform the duties of the job (meet the job description) with some accommodation then that person can not be refused employment. The ADA does not and can not force a department to hire someone who can not reasonably perform the duties of firefighter (which typically include being able to climb, carry, lift 80lbs etc). Because VFD's are basically private NPO (social clubs) they may actually be shielded from any ADA requirements.

Just let them know where your abilities lie and how you can best serve your community through the department. They would have to be bigger idiots than many in here think I am to refuse you.
Good Luck.
Is the physical....like a regular physical that you would do for work and or school? or is it more in depth....And thank you! I will deffently keep everyone posted.
Thank you! :)...If I get in I believe thru this particular company...I will have the option of interior crew or scene support and I am opting for scene support...Its just more realstic.. or atleast it seeems to me.
I would be opting to be scene support...and I am able to walk run and I have upper body strength.. ... I can climb ladders and do stairs and I have people out of places before...But like you said it is a two handed game and I do realize that....But like I said I'd be opting to be a scene support firefighter.
My small volly department has just recieved an application from a young man that does not have use of his right arm.
Our Chief presented him with a challenge and I think he is up for it... to train as our department's Safety Officer. The on-scene one.
Yes he will have an increadible learning curve as most times that job goes to seasoned FF's but we are going to work him up into it... through our FF Basic program (slightly modified I imagine, but not much) and working our accountability system on scenes to start.

On another note - but related - maybe I have bought into "political correctness" a bit much but I am not a big fan of the term "disabled". "Physically Challenged" seems more appropriate as you and our new recruit have to work extra hard to succeed and often do succeed due to your determination and strength of character - often putting many "able" people to shame.

I wish you all the best!
Thank you! and I do think physically challenged is a better way to say it!

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