how I got started | I was born to do this! When I was a
five-year-old my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I
said, "A Fireman!" As a first grader I was picked to be the "Fire
Marshall" for our class. My job was to lead the kids outside during a
fire drill - I loved it! I've always enjoyed helping others, but in
college wasn't able to get into a fire science program immediately. I
did eventually get into a firefighter 1 academy and then began to take
tests all over the Bay Area, trying to get my foot in the door. I kept
pursuing it. I started working as an EMT and then went to Paramedic
school. I continued testing for the fire service while working as a
paramedic and finished up my degree. I started at age 21 and was hired
as a firefighter at age 27. For most, though, it is a three or four year
why this job?| I like making a difference in people's lives.
Firefighters were always a positive role model I looked up to. The job
is challenging, it's beyond 9-5 and I am able to help those in need.
why I love this job!| My co-workers are phenomenal people. I will
work with some of these men for my entire career. Our friendship is
tight and we know each other well. Our job is very para-military,
actually. I have to trust them and they have to trust me. I am honored
to work for and within the fire service family.
my typical day| I show up before 8:00 a.m. for my 48 hour shift.
(I am on two full days and off for four.) Upon arrival I dress in
uniform, check equipment and get my assignment for the day, which tells
me whether I'm driving or riding. If I'm driving, I check out the
apparatus by following a check list. I tend to my station duties (clean,
organize, vacuum, etc.). We may head off to medical or company
training, or conduct inspections of duplexes and apartments, shop for
meals and, of course, we're always available for 911 calls. No matter
where we are or what we're doing, we stop to answer calls. From 4:00
p.m. to 5:00 p.m., generally, we are required to exercise. After dinner
we are given "our" time, but we may have night drills, go to city
council meetings, entertain cub scouts, teach CPR, collect Toys for
Tots, etc. I get to bed around 10:00 p.m. but many nights we receive
calls so I don't expect to sleep through the night.
what they are | The death, dying and trauma I deal with can be
very difficult. Being a firefighter is a "heavy" job, physically,
psychologically and emotionally. Sleep deprivation is a very real for
all about growth | There is plenty of lateral and upward
advancement. There are always more classes to take and much to learn.
You could become a lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, deputy chief,
training chief, or eventually chief of a department.