For the millionth time I bet.

General firefighting discussion.
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

For the millionth time I bet.

Postby aec091 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:56 am

Hi there, my names Aaron, 22 years old, from Vancouver Island BC. I'm currently working in Alberta on the railway, I have been for about two years now. I'm sure most of you see the "how to become a fire fighter thread" quite often on here, and I hate to bore you with more or less the same thing. I've surfed through the forums a bit, and gotten a few answers, but I still have one left: Is it worth it?

A little back ground here. As I've said, I've been on the railway for two years now. I've been able to save up a small pile of cash to possibly use for school. I've been interested in the emergency services field for a long time now, but I've never been able to volunteer or take courses because of time, work, and money. Now that I've got a small pile of cash saved up, I've been putting some serious thought into what I'd like to do with it. Its no small decision either; Its a one shot deal for me. I got no parents to support me through school, nobody else but me to pay for it. I've worked really hard and put in some serious sweat, blood and hours to get this money. It's really important to me that I put all of this in the right place.

Here's the issue: Is it worth going to fire fighting college? I've looked at schools all over Canada and down in the states, and so far my best bet in terms of cost and courses is the JIBC in maple ridge BC. I've figured out that it'll cost me roughly $10,000 after school and accommodation, which isn't so bad, I've planned for that. The problem is even if I get accepted and pass, there likely wont be a job for me. That's what I've gathered from this forum anyways. I already know there are thousands of qualified fire fighters looking for full time paid work, probably most of which are volunteers with actual experience. Of course, my chances are only limited to how many departments I apply to, with different departments looking for different skills.

Maybe the advice I'm looking for doesn't necessarily need to come from an experienced fire fighter, maybe an experienced adult would do just fine. Do I take my one shot at doing something I could enjoy for the rest of my life, be proud of what I do for a living, a job where I get to help people, stay active, and have a constantly changing job environment. Do I try even though that shot may never pay off into something I could use to support a family? Or do I take the safe route, go do trades; where its more for the money and not so much for the soul. Its also half the price. I'm sure there are things outside of work I could do to "live it up".

This is a very heavy decision for me, and most cheesy motivational posters in high school tell you to aim high and shoot for your dream, or anything is possible. I know this isn't always reality. There are bills to pay, Potentially mouths to feed in the years to come, and I'm only getting older. The safest route would be to take the trades, work in Alberta or wherever, save money and retire. But that doesn't seem like any fun now does it?

Thanks for reading the thoughts of a 22 year old trying to figure out what direction to go. I know its quite the essay I've written. Just taking a shot in the dark hoping for some useful advice. Thanks.

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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby bloggins » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:49 am

"We seek advice when we know the answer but want a different one."

Ivern Ball.
B. Bloggins
"Because sometimes what they know CAN hurt you."

Posts: 337
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby bigsmoke » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:54 pm

[quote=""bloggins""]"We seek advice when we know the answer but want a different one."

Ivern Ball.[/quote]

Agree with the simple advice provided. But don;t rush. You're 22 years old.

You wouldn;t be as deep in thought as you are in regards to a different career if you believed you can be happy with being a trades person. (no disrespect to the trades, many of us started there)

Many will say it's the best job in the world. My opinion - it is! But every profession is only as good as you make it or let it be.

Should you decide to pursue firefighting, know that thousands have a similar dream. Thousands won;t make it. Many will.
It requires perseverance and stamina and not just physically but mentally. I know many candidates who would be the finest members of any fire service but as of yet it just has not clicked for them.

I have coached a large number to become firefighters. All of those who made it and every firefighter I work with have one trait in common. - None of them gave up! They persevered. They wanted to quit a number of times in their journey to becoming a firefighter but didn't.

If that kind of drive sounds like something you can and want to do, then investigate and educate yourself so you know exactly what you are heading into.

Ten years from now, who would you like to be, - the person who spent $10,000 to $15,000 to try and become a firefighter and gave it their all (no matter what the outcome) or the person who spent that $10,000 to $15,000 on a large ticket toy. Because most of us gave up one of those up to become a firefighter.

Lastly - as I said - you're young. Take your time. mid to late 20,s and even older are the common hiring age for many departments.

Good luck.
"Anyone can be trained to be a firefighter, it takes brains to survive"

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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 7:33 pm

Postby bulldog88 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:25 pm

Hey Aaron, I think you answered your questions yourself throughout your thread. Being a firefighter is unbelievably rewarding. I'm the farthest thing from being corny or "Johnny firefighter" but I can tell you with the utmost sincerity that this job will change your life. It is difficult to get hired but the journey builds more character than you could ever think possible. You would be shocked to find out just how close of a family the "brotherhood" is. That statement is pretty corny but it is true. It's a long road to get the job but once you get it your life will never be the same. The best things in life do not come easy! As for schooling I personally think texas is a good option. It's insanely cheap and in todays world the 1001 certificate doesn't have as much weight as it once did (in regards to what institution you take it at). I work with some guys that went to texas and after it was all said and done it cost less than $5000. And if you're interested in the trades, no matter what hall you end up at you will be doing carpentry on the side (if you want to that is). Having said that there is no shame in getting your 1001 and going back to carpentry while you try getting hired. If you stick to carpentry and get your ticket while you are applying to departments it will show you have dedication and furthermore the knowledge you will obtain on building construction is also a valuable asset for a firefighter. So to sum it all up, You can be a carpenter AND a firefighter. You could be a stereotypical side-job firefighter like the rest of us :)

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