Hello. I'm Patrick, 32. I am currently a recruit with CRASH fire in Hawaii.
The academy is near Pearl Harbor but my permanent station will be at Kona International Airport on the Big Island. I became interested in firefighting after my previous career(personal trainer) flamed out when the economy tanked.
I also recently became an EMT-Basic but as I get more experience under my belt, I will continue to hit the books and acquire additional certifications so that I can become better and more proficient as a firefighter.
Welcome Patrick. :)
I should add myself to this thread.
I'm 44, live in a regional city of approximately 100,000 people in central Victoria, Australia. I was originally a firefighter in a smaller town about halfway between here and Melbourne for several years (and a junior for more than 5 years before that). After a 18 year break from firefighting, because of living in inner Melbourne, where there's no volunteers.
Moved here with my partner in mid 2010 and quickly rejoined the fire service as a volunteer. Had to start from scratch, due to new training qualifications, but that was good, as a lot has changed, especially with regards to occupational health and safety. I'm out to the majority in my brigade, and my sexuality is a non issue, except for being the source of an occasional good natured laugh together. I passed 10 years total service last year and was awarded for that service. My partner was at the annual presentation dinner, and he's not only welcome but expected at social events, like anyone else's partner. As our fire service is statewide here, service time accumulates wherever in the state you volunteer.
I'm also active in our competition team, which involves laying out hoses and hitting targets in the quickest time. Most of our events use an old fashioned late 19th century style hand drawn hose reel, which requires a lot of strength and power to get moving. In competition, I'm a ladder specialist, so when there's a ladder to be climbed in an event, that's my job. When not needed on ladder, I'm usually called on to haul the hose reel or take a standpipe to the hydrant to get water. The training for competitions is also good for general fitness. Here's some vids (rather old) of the comptitions. Most of the events haven't changed over the years.