Been doing it for a few years in s.carolina, I enjoy the job.
Been doing it for a few years in s.carolina, I enjoy the job.
Comments: 241 • Responses: 87 • Date: 2013-01-16 23:01:44 UTCsource
leglesslogolegolas37 karma2013-01-16 23:40:58 UTC
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tpb191919 karma2013-01-17 01:25:47 UTC
Abec1121 karma2013-01-16 23:03:30 UTC
I don't actually have a question in mind but I have a lot of respect for firefighters so here, have an upvote.
tpb191915 karma2013-01-16 23:17:50 UTC
Thanks abec always nice to hear some people appreciate
Crash_says7 karma2013-01-16 23:21:14 UTC
Wanted to say that your profession and the people that engage in it are doing great things for the communities you protect. Thanks for the service you provide and the work you do.
Question: I have heard fire fighters describe their profession as blue collar/labor intensive work. Would you say this is accurate and are there ideas for equipment that personnel on the job have made up/created that would make it easier or safer?
tpb191916 karma2013-01-16 23:45:04 UTC
Thanks for the support.
I would descibe it as blue collar work. An aspect of the job that is often overlooked how labor intensive it is. Having to unbed the heavy ass hose then rebed 500+ feet of hose absolutely sucks. Especially after being in a 700 degree room for the last hour. And after the fire is out we do what is called "overhaul" where we rip out the drywall, cabinets, insulation, floorboards etc to see if there are any embers. And you do all that in knee deep ash water. Gets tough.
And for the second part it is the grey area of the fire service. It can be very political. Most officers and chiefs wont let us bring our own tools on the job or try new procedures because of liability. Even though it may make more sense to do it a different way, they say no. But if there is a way to keep us safer we dont care about the red tape. We'll take the scolding from the brass.
iamaredditer4 karma2013-01-16 23:19:57 UTC
What is the worst car wreck that you have worked?
tpb191917 karma2013-01-16 23:32:58 UTC
Over the summer there was a couple on a double date (teenagers) and one of them got to borrow daddys bmw. It was never determined if the kid was dunk but he tought it would be a good idea to go 110 in a 35 and completely level a coffee shop. Luckily nobody was inside the shop but every passenger in the car was DOA (dead on arrival). The driver lived but is still in the hospital.
iamaredditer5 karma2013-01-16 23:39:34 UTC
Damn. Were there any signs of braking?
tpb19198 karma2013-01-16 23:49:38 UTC
Yes about 30 feet braking marks.It was estimted he hit the building at 80mph.
nodefuse3 karma2013-01-17 00:18:31 UTC
How does being awesome feel like? :)
tpb19194 karma2013-01-17 00:31:32 UTC
haha thanks. Its nice to know people do appreciate us. A lot of people really dont care for us when we go to their house. They just bitch that it took us too long to get there, didnt save their precious curtains, or are tracking mud on their carpet. But like i said its always a good marole boost when people actually tell us we are appreciated.
Master2u3 karma2013-01-16 23:55:04 UTC
How often do you actually get to fight a fire?
tpb19194 karma2013-01-17 00:07:40 UTC
Depends on the kind of fire you are talking about. A fully involved structure fire like you see on tv only happen once every few months (in my district at least), we actully had one just last night. Little stove fires, grass fires, lawn mover fires etc. happen all the damn time. A misconception about the fire service is that every day is like an episode of "rescue me" or "chicago fire". 90% of the calls firemen get are bs.
KINGREDBEARD3 karma2013-01-16 23:42:07 UTC
I'm currently in the background investigation phase of my application to be a firefighter and my only concern is the EMT class I have to take. Now I know I'm not the smartest man in the world so my question is how hard was the EMT class you had to take in order to be hired?
tpb19198 karma2013-01-16 23:58:21 UTC
If i can pass it anybody can. You just have to study study study. Find a study partner (i did). It makes the time go by easier and you do learn faster. It is a tough course but if you just put aside 30 to 60 minutes a day to look at your notes you will easily pass. I failed the first time around because I didnt take it seriously and barely studied. Learn from me.
Beanerjane3 karma2013-01-17 00:42:37 UTC
tpb19194 karma2013-01-17 00:46:19 UTC
Its about 30% classroom and 70% hands on training. If you have ever drove by a big metal building with a staricare and no windows it is probably a training center. During your initial training you do "live burns" when they actually set rooms in those buildings on fire. Thats where most of the hands on training takes place.
citizenofgalaxy3 karma2013-01-16 23:11:20 UTC
Do you do wildland fires, structural fires, or both?
tpb19199 karma2013-01-16 23:17:28 UTC
I do structure, car and rescue. Wildland firefighting is quite different and i honestly dont know much about it. They are always hiring for them and most wildland firefighters are seasonal employees. Its a good gig to get certifications and experience though.
citizenofgalaxy3 karma2013-01-16 23:20:43 UTC
As a wildland firefighter I can tell you that it is a good gig but I've got a lot of respect for you guys. You have to deal with people at their worst; and sometimes go into burning enclosed spaces.
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 01:10:36 UTC
Right on. Wildland fires seem like though shit. I couldnt live in the woods fighting fires lol.
Tuco_bell2 karma2013-01-17 06:00:02 UTC
scott or MSA?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 06:01:46 UTC
scott all day everyday!
Tuco_bell2 karma2013-01-17 06:29:44 UTC
lucky bastard. we're using MSA right now because our old chief though the MSA's were the "most technologically advanced SCBA" out there. and we are too cheap to buy scott's even though we just got permission from our commissioners to buy a $650,000 engine....although im alittle excited for that. but still, id love some scott packs.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 06:33:03 UTC
Hm, I always heard MSA's were lighter and more "advanced" ...i guess the grass is always greener on the other side.
tinyirishgirl2 karma2013-01-17 19:35:16 UTC
Just wanted to say that firefighters are true heroes running into the flames when everyone else is trying to run away. I wish for you all safe shifts and loving lives.
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 19:51:06 UTC
thanks for the support
poonslinger2 karma2013-01-17 00:18:22 UTC
Have you ever rescued a cat from a tree?
tpb191910 karma2013-01-17 00:24:53 UTC
I have rescued a cat, not from a tree though lol.
I did "rescue" a backpack from a tree once because a couple bullys threw a kids pack in it.
Nambrik2 karma2013-01-17 13:51:41 UTC
Is they Pyro your favorite class in TF2?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 16:57:59 UTC
dont know what this means
andicotsteel2 karma2013-01-17 00:25:00 UTC
I hear firefighters get all the chicks. Do you fight off babes more than fighting fires?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 00:28:11 UTC
haha I wish. I am actually pretty humble about my work. You would never know that i was a firefighter if you didnt ask. But some of my buddies use it to their advantage. It works f you are good with words.
DarpaWeenie2 karma2013-01-16 23:44:04 UTC
One of the craziest stories I've heard was a community college fire that resulted from someone mistakenly melting down a lump of magnesium in with a bunch of aluminum scraps. Luckily, the fire department was just
down the block about 250-300 yards away.
Surely you can top this one I hope. :D
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 00:10:52 UTC
The craziest one i heard did not happen to my department, but a county over. There was a natural gas leak in a residential home that caused the whole house to explode. I.E. nothing left but the foundation. NOTHING. Luckily nobody was home. And the next door neighbors house a litterly reshapen. The entire frame of the house was bent. The explosion was that big. They couldnt even open the door because the fram was bent. But i did hear about that college lab explosion.
MrNoodleman2 karma2013-01-17 01:13:59 UTC
What is your specific role on the engine?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 01:18:15 UTC
Firefighter. I am still relatively new to the department so i still have to earn my stripes.
There are pump operators who double as the driver. They do only this job while at a fire. They monitor the pump panel to make sure the firefighter on the inside have water.
The person who rides shotgun in the truck is the officer (usually lieutenant). They do all the radio calling and figure out how to get to the call (give the driver directions).
I sit in the back of the truck, get told what to do by the officer and do it.
There is also "squad" trucks that do first aid/emt.
MrNoodleman1 karma2013-01-17 01:39:30 UTC
What classes/ programs did you take prior to being a voluntary firefighter? I'm planning on taking the paramedic route but that's still far in the future
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 01:51:30 UTC
Firefighter 1 is the class every volunteer (and most paid) departments have their firefighters take. Its a 90 hour class. Most departments also make their firemen take EMT classes to run squad calls. Thats a tough class.
But after your initial training there are pleantly of classes you can take after (officer 1, fast, firefighter 2, pump ops, just to name a few).
Mr_Myers2 karma2013-01-17 00:51:34 UTC
I consider all firefighters heroes, how does it feel to be called a hero?
tpb19198 karma2013-01-17 01:07:29 UTC
It feels nice but we all say the same thing...were not heros we are just at work. The true heros are the ones who didnt make it home after their shift.
fodtp2 karma2013-01-17 10:26:13 UTC
Can you do a firefighter pull-up?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 20:03:16 UTC
hell no lol.
A_Furious_Lizard2 karma2013-01-17 02:40:56 UTC
Im starting my EMT classes in march and I was just wondering about how much you make a year. Not that it matters because I'm sure I'll love the job.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 02:52:54 UTC
Right now im at about 11/hr. But im still pretty new to the paid service.
Negro_Napoleon1 karma2013-01-17 02:23:44 UTC
How are the groupies?
tpb19195 karma2013-01-17 02:49:22 UTC
The only groupies we have are at the strip clubs!
StarComet1 karma2013-01-17 02:40:29 UTC
Firefighting is one of the many professions I give the utmost respect to because few would run into something that is on fire...
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 02:48:21 UTC
2.The most unusual case was when an old lady had a grease fire in her kitchen. When we got to the house it was filled with smoke and the stove was still on fire but she just told us to leave because she "didnt want to pay for us to put it out" and thought he grandson could put it out with her garden hose.
cablik1 karma2013-01-17 02:51:26 UTC
how many times have you been burnt?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 02:55:53 UTC
A few times. Mostly in training and never really serious burns. They were all from falling embers like you get from having a fire in your backyard.
The only serious burn i had was with a car fire. It was raining out and it was my first car fire. My gloves got wet and i touched a metal part that was still screaming hot.
Djbirfday1 karma2013-01-17 04:37:19 UTC
Whats the best advice you can give a 17 year-old kid (me) on how to become a firefighter/emt?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 04:47:59 UTC
Stay out of trouble with the law. Getting hired by paid depts. is getting tougher and tougher. If they see you have anything on your record, you application goes to the bottom of the list.
Study for the civil service exam. The better grade you get the better chances you have of getting hired. Even if you are not eligible to be hired by a department, take their exam anyways. It doesnt hurt to know whats on the test.
Join you local volunteer department. Most have juniour/explorer programs. You will gain experience and certification that look good on your application.
And be in decent shape. You have to take a physical ability test. If you score good on that your chances are higher to get hired.
And lastly dont be afraid to relocate. Go to usajobs.gov and see what departments are hiring. You can even work as a wildland firefighter (they are always hiring) and get good experience doing that. Also if you are on facebook, there is a page called "firefighter jobs". They post openings nationwide.
dnrbls1 karma2013-01-17 05:15:47 UTC
So... How's the firefighting business going'?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 05:17:08 UTC
hot and steamy
KoolKidKarma1 karma2013-01-17 05:31:47 UTC
I would like to start by saying I appreciate the work you fire fighters do. To emphasize, my school hosted a baking event to cook for our fire fighter department.
Any-who, onto my questions.
What was most dangerous or life threatening situation you have been in "on the job"?
Any situations that made you felt like a hero? If so, why?
On a scale of 1-10, how dangerous is your job?
I'm sorry if similar questions have been answered, I'm on a mobile device with no access to a computer.
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 05:41:52 UTC
Thank you for the support!
The closest call I had was when a "flashover" occoured in a basement fire i was in. A flashover is when the room reaches its ignition point (everthing in the room) and the entire space is engufed in flame. These are hard to see coming and hit very hard and fast. I was in a basement when it hit and my only way up was the staircase. When i saw the flashover statrting i booked it to the staircase with the 2 other firemen i was with. When i was going for the stairs my air mask tube (that connects to the bottle) caught on the railing and i was stuck. I took a deep breath and detached my respirator to get free. It worked. But that was too close for comfort for me.
As a fireman you really never feel like a hero. The true heros dont make it home. But its aways a good feeling to save peoples cats or dogs and salvage at least some of their home.
And its hard to scale how dangerous it is. It depends on the situation. If you go to a vehicle accident the danger factor is like 2. If you are at a fully involved house fire and you are the first ones in, its a 9 or 10. It just depends.
Will471 karma2013-01-17 05:37:17 UTC
I'm 18 and wishing to become a firefighter, I'm in high school taking the course for my Indiana certification for emt basic, did you have to go through with a first responde course to get where you are?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 05:46:46 UTC
If you get your EMT-B cert you wont need to take it later so thats a good start.
To be in a paid dept. you do an academy that includes everything you need to be qualified.
As a volunteer you will need a firefighter 1 class and your EMT-B. Again in those classes they will teach you everything you need to know.
klondike_elliot1 karma2013-01-17 05:43:59 UTC
Does having asthma preclude someone from being a firefighter?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 05:47:43 UTC
Depends how bad it is. You take a brething test to see if you are qualified. You blow into a tube as hard and long as you can. If you make the standard you shouldnt have a problem.
crazystory2001 karma2013-01-17 05:44:25 UTC
have heard a lot of your job is just chilling, waiting for a call, kind of boring if you aren't doing training. how true is this?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 05:50:25 UTC
Very ture. We do a lot of sleeping and playing x box. You keep youself busy with cleaning and maintaining equipment, but it can get pretty boring.
toohighm1 karma2013-01-17 05:52:31 UTC
So i mean what all does a fireworker do for the day?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 05:57:44 UTC
Check equipment, maintain tools and equipment, sit around, read the newspaper, clean, go to calls, train, repeat.
toohighm1 karma2013-01-17 06:06:20 UTC
And you have to rescue all those cats too right?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 06:14:18 UTC
Well, nobody else seems to want to do it!
lotuswings1 karma2013-01-17 07:24:41 UTC
Any tips for someone looking to pursue firefighting as a career? I'm intending on getting emt certified starting next semester as a first step, but anything else to keep in mind would be helpful. Thanks!
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:12:50 UTC
Join your local vol. department. See if you like the job first. You will get good certifications and resume material. Also dont be afraid to move out of state. There are job openings all over the country everyday. Dont wait for a opening in you city alone because you could be waiting a while. I moved from NY to S.carolina to get a job.
ImperiousRex1 karma2013-01-17 07:29:47 UTC
Roughly how much do you get paid for your services?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:10:55 UTC
Now i make around 11/hr. This is a rookies salary though. It goes up with time and experience.
laurafay921 karma2013-01-17 12:15:46 UTC
Are you in a relationship? My partner is wanting to become a firefighter, and while i think it is an amazingly praiseworthy job, it's still not something I feel completely comfortable with him doing.
If you do have a partner, how do they feel about it?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:04:13 UTC
I used to (but im more of a solo flier). Honestly my old lady didnt really mind it. The shifts are 4 days on and 3 off with 12 hour shifts. Not too horribe. I always left my work at the firehouse.
Also you should feel comfortable. We go through tons of training on how to stay safe, avoid bad situations and get guys out that are in bad situations. As long as he/she pays attention in training, you should have nothing to worry about.
emmy1411 karma2013-01-17 13:19:53 UTC
Have you seen any of the movies/TV shows about firefighters, and if so are any of them accurate to what you actually do?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:01:05 UTC
None i have seen come close. The two big ones (recue me and chicago fire) do get some things right, but for the most part its a little far fetched.
We are not fighting 3 house fires a day and rescuing babies. It simply does not happen that often. A lot of the job is going to bullcrap calls and being underappreciated by the homeowners for "disturbing" them.
CherriKerri1 karma2013-01-17 13:57:32 UTC
Ah, my dad's a firefighter as well and I see how tough the job is on him, especially considering the capital is being a jerk about benefits and stuff so he could never properly accept his chief's position for fear of what would happen when he left the union.
My point is that I know the job is demanding and exhausting and traumatizing, so thank you for doing everything you do and being so willing. (: Best wishes.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 16:58:23 UTC
Thanks for the support!
VaulthunterZer01 karma2013-01-17 15:10:36 UTC
I'm thinking of becoming a firefighter and tips and what are the basic requirements?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 16:56:43 UTC
Tips would be to stay out of trouble with the law. This gets a lot of people disqualified right off the bat. Second dont be afraid to relocate throughout the country. There are openings everyday in a lot of cities. Also be in decent shape. You take physical abiity tests.
Manfredjinsinjin1 karma2013-01-17 15:35:45 UTC
Fireguy ahead of me in line at a concessions stand at a sports venue. Fireguy ask the sysco clerk behind the touchscreen, dead serious, "what's the firefighter's discount today?". Clerk chuckles, obviously having heard this routine before, and say, "sorry, that ended yesterday." Fireguy, trembling with rage starts barking, "I save LIVES! I save LIVES!" Clerk is all .... and I switched lines so I could get my beer before that joker was done with his tantrum.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 16:54:58 UTC
well he probaby wasnt a fireman. Just trying to get a discount. Or hes just a complete douche.
lola_belle_1 karma2013-01-17 15:50:35 UTC
I see this is a couple of hours old, but I just wanted to hand you an up vote for what you do. I'm a fire men's daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and friend. My favorite place to be after class is at the station. Good food and good times. They are the best family in the whole world!
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 16:53:51 UTC
spilledonwhite731 karma2013-01-17 17:29:06 UTC
My grandfather was a Chicago Firefighter and put out riot fires whilst getting shot at when MLK was assassinated.. always thought that was bad ass.
Anyway my father told me that sometimes his dad (my g-pa) would come home after work and be silent. Really wouldn't talk to anybody and would just be "off" that day. Just not himself.
My question is, is it hard to deal with some of the things you have to see and experience? Is it hard to not get caught up on, "what if I had done something different that night?" How do you deal with the overall stress that comes with the job?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 19:57:15 UTC
Well if you are a fireman in the inner city, or bad parts of town, you see a lot of death. Idiots shooting other idiots, motor vehichle accidents (tend to be the worse) and obviusly fire. If you had a bad night on the job you really just want to be left alone.
Enderkr1 karma2013-01-17 17:37:12 UTC
Can I be a firefighter without any of the medical training? I can do basic CPR, but I really dislike all the other medical/emergency training. Fighting fires sounds awesome, but I don't really want to be a first aid type firefighter.
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 19:54:42 UTC
90% of paid departments run emt/first aid. You really cant avoid it.
Volunteer departments sometimes do not do first aid (the volunteer one im in only does fire/rescue).
chadxmerch1 karma2013-01-17 18:02:20 UTC
When I got out of the Marine Corps, after my second Iraq deployment, I was told I had PTSD. I've never had to see a shrink, I have never been on medication and I didn't turn to substance abuse to solve my problems. Do you think I'd have any issues getting into a FD?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 19:53:14 UTC
If you were nerver prescribed pills or been officaly diagnosed by a doctor for having ptsd, you should be fine. Just dont mention anything to the investigators or oral boards.
Northwait1 karma2013-01-17 18:45:30 UTC
Do you have a firepole in the station that you all use to slide down? If so, is it really that much faster than just running down the stairs?
How obvious is arson? I've heard firefighters can know practically right away if a fire was caused by an electrical problem, for example.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 19:52:01 UTC
We used to have a firepole. However for liability reasons the city and all of its infinite wisdom got rid of it.
dannyboylee1 karma2013-01-17 20:23:05 UTC
What do you think of people who say services like fire and police should be privatized?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 21:18:11 UTC
Fire does not really matter in my book if its private or public. Its the same job here or there. Put out the fire. Private compaines already exist (i believe in las vegas there is a prive fd).
But private police is just plain bad/wrong. We as firemen have no legal power anywhere. If a private organiztion were to ever run a pd, it would just end badly.
Nmcg911 karma2013-01-17 21:03:54 UTC
Ever fight fire in a cage match?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 21:13:24 UTC
no but i have in a table ladder chairs match
Tunesz1 karma2013-01-17 04:54:44 UTC
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 05:01:09 UTC
Depends on what kind of firefighter you are.
Volunteer- 90 hour firefighter one course with a EMT course. That takes anywhere from 2-7 months depending on how you classes are scheduled.
Wildland- academy. Im not too sure about this particular type of training.
Paid- It took me 2 months (academy). 5 days a week with 7-10 hour days.
For the academy training it is tough. You do pt pretty much everyday plus the luxury of being in 800 degree burn rooms all day. You have to be in decent shape to make it through. But if i can do it anybody can.
[deleted]1 karma2013-01-17 05:05:04 UTC
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 05:09:38 UTC
Well as a volunteer your job is the same, as is the training and certifications you achieve. The only real differece is money (obviously) and you dont stay at the fire house. You get a pager and whenever it goes off you go. I still do it because I enjoy it. Ill probably do it until the day I die too. Also it makes good resume material for any job you want in the futute. Plus volunteer departments always have bars in them ;)
Being paid its 4 days on 3 days off of 12 hour shifts. The firehouse become your second home.
fracking_u1 karma2013-01-19 07:06:55 UTC
I know this is a 2 day old post, but looking through the questions I noticed nobody asked my question. So here it is. Actually I have a few.
1) Being in a profession where death is a high possibility. How have your views on life and death been effected by your profession?
2) I just passed my National Registry Exam so I'm now a licensed EMT-B and about to start into my Paramedic program. I have no interest in doing fire, but how important is it to have a good working relationship with the Medics? And how important is it for the Medics to have a good working relationship with the fire deptartment?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-19 19:38:07 UTC
1) Thats a tough one. The thought of death really does not go through your mind while you are at a scene. You have to force it out of your head or else it will grab you attention, distract you, and get you or your fellow firemen killed. Its when you get back to the station that you reflect, and say "oh shit, i could have got killed here or there". You reflect and improve. Afer a while the thought of death all together kinda just goes away. You get used to the job, and its just another day, another fire.
2) its not necessarily important to have a good relationship, but it does help. At every fire scene there are close to a dozen paramedics standing by waiting for somebody to be injured. The paramedics kinda do their own thing and hang back. I got all the love and respepect in the world for them though because i know if I go down, they are outside the door waiting to rush me to the hospital.
[deleted]1 karma2013-01-17 10:05:41 UTC
i am a certified emt and i plan on going to paramedic school in the next year. after that i want to go to fire academy and become a fire fighter. could you give me any advice on landing a job or bulking up my resume/ gaining experience? how did you do it? thanks :)
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:09:49 UTC
Getting your EMT is a good start.
Go look into your vol. dept and see if you even like the job first. You will get good experience and get a lot of certifications that look good. That was my stepping stone into it.
Secondly dont be afraid to relocate. Look into different departments throughout the country. Even look into wilandland firefighting. Its seasonal and they are always hiring. You would get good experience and certifications.
Also be in decent shape. You will want to score good on your physical ability test.
frdrobbins1 karma2013-01-16 23:41:53 UTC
Evaluate wealthy suburbs w/huge budgets vs. poor large cities where most of the fires occur.
Specifically; a department that makes very few fire runs housing the newest equipment as oppose to, say, Detroit, where everything is crap.
I drive by a station house in a very upscale area and see new trucks and vans ... and know for a fact there hasn't been more than a handful of fires there in the past few years.
Biking through, I saw a small garage fire, half out, responded by the chief in his car, a couple of huge firetrucks and more.
It just seems like a giant waste
tpb19193 karma2013-01-16 23:56:04 UTC
Its just the way it is. Wealthier communities invest in the fire depts. and they get the best state of the art stuff. Poor communities get the worst stuff. The one thing i have to credit the "poor" departments is with their experience. They have less guys and worse stuff. They make due with it and get a lot of experience. I can tell you within the fire service guys from detroit, baltimore, buffalo etc, all get the most respect from other firefighters.
BreadstickFTW1 karma2013-01-17 01:28:17 UTC
First off I have to say thank you sir, for your service to the community and the United States.
I am 15 years old, and have been thinking strongly about being a firefighter. (actually my dad was one for 10 years) (It's nice that he was because I got a first hand experience with this stuff) (oh and I forgot to mention, for reasons I don't want to put on the internet I can't ask my dad these questions). I really enjoy the human body and saving people's lives, from the posts I have read you don't get a lot of calls, so how many people's lives have you affected (or saved)? I was thinking of doing this or being a doctor, but both seem like very enjoyable jobs. I actually would prefer being a firefighter (I believe) so what would be some good ways to get a guaranteed position in a fire house? Thanks for your time.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 01:40:27 UTC
Well how many calls you get is completely random. Ive had 6 calls in a signle day, but on the other hand ive gone 3 weeks without a single call. Its just a random system.
In reality you affect anybodys life that calls you. When somebody dails 911 its their worst day and its up to you and your crew to do something. A lot of the time we can stop a fire when its small so a persons house isnt a pile of ash. On the other hand if a house is completely on fire we do what we can to salvage their belongings. A lot of people are tottay greatful and write us letters every year, send us christmas cards, "donate" beers to us.
To get a good shot at being a fireman keep out of trouble with the law. Thats what breaks a lot of people and prevents them from making it. Study for the civil service exam. The better score you get the better chance you will be hired. And exercise. The academy is where you are most likely to quit and it is tough.
My suggestion, look into your local volunteer departments and see if they have a juniour firefighet or exploerer program (or just wait until you are 18). See if you even ike the job first and get some experience.
DCooper3231 karma2013-01-17 00:53:49 UTC
Volunteer or paid? How long have you been doing it? Worst call you have run?
tpb19195 karma2013-01-17 01:03:59 UTC
Both. I have been a volunteer for 3 years, paid for about 2.
Worst call i was at was actually a few weeks ago. Space heater was left on and it started the entire house. The owner made it out but he had a wife and 3 kids (in their early teens). After the fire was out we figured out they had two pets. Dog and cat both were burned alive. Both animals left burn imprints in the carpets from their fur and the kids took it really rough. Its just really heartbreaking to see a family that is now essentially homeless with their dead animals in front of them all in tears on their front lawn with the neighborhood watching. I just hate to watch people suffer. Thats really the one thing i dont like about my job.
Ive been to plenty of motor accidents with fatalities, but all of the calls ive been to they are dead by the time i was there. I didnt have to see anybody suffer.
DCooper3236 karma2013-01-17 01:35:24 UTC
good answer. 14 year firefighter here.
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 01:45:12 UTC
Ah a seasoned vet. How about you?
DCooper3233 karma2013-01-17 01:48:17 UTC
14 years of volunteer service. lieutenant.
Worst call was when I first started. Lady in a early 90s Chevy Lumina had a seizure on a dead end straightaway road. She slammed the trees at the end of the road at about 120. DOA, and her 11 year old niece was in the passenger seat. her face was imprinted in the dash. she survived, but snake-split her tongue...
That was probably the worst, but we have had a bunch of bad ones.
Where in SC are ya?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 02:03:20 UTC
Yea its tough to say which it is. They are all bad in their own way.
I prefer doing the volunteer gig. Less bullshit.
Columbia. Came from NY.
DCooper3231 karma2013-01-17 02:04:28 UTC
got ya. city, or upstate?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 02:50:29 UTC
Upstate by the rochester area. I come down south to get away from the city life. I could never survive in nyc.
TylerTman1 karma2013-01-17 01:15:10 UTC
Do you enjoy the air from the oxygen tanks as much as I do?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 01:23:10 UTC
No oxygen, just breathing air. The bottles would exploed with us wearing them in a fire if they were oxygen. Its a different feeling to beathe from the SCBA equipment. Almost gives you a feeling of claustrophobia.
EveningBlab1 karma2013-01-17 01:45:35 UTC
What exactly in firefighting do you do are you the one who holds the hose or are you the one who actually goes into the building to rescue people?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 01:59:02 UTC
Usually there are 2-5 guys in the back of the engine (the trucks with water, pumps and hoses). The person who is on nozzle is whoever grabs it first when you get off the truck. The rest of the guys grab hand tools. You bring the tools to navigate through the fire (because you cant see your hand an inch in front of your face in a fire). You bust down doors for the nozzleman, and just back him up. You search with one hand on the hose line because you never leave the nozzleman alone, and you have to feed him hose (the hose is very heavy).
They guys who do serch and rescue come on "trucks" (ladder trucks, rescue trucks. Those have no water or hoses). Their only job is breaking out windows, kicking in doors, and looking for victims.
_untitled11 karma2013-01-17 06:48:42 UTC
Did you want to become a firefighter when you were a kid?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 06:52:01 UTC
No actually. It was sort of an impulisive decision one day. I got bored with the college/working life, so i went down to my local vol. department and joined. No real rhyme or reason to it. I just fell in love with doing and decided to make a career of it.
_untitled11 karma2013-01-17 06:54:24 UTC
What were you studying/working on and how old were you when you made that decision?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 06:56:26 UTC
I was studying political science and working random jobs (grocery store, at the mall, doing valet). I was 19 when i first started.
stormshadow4621 karma2013-01-17 17:13:01 UTC
My house is on fire can you put it out for me?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 19:55:02 UTC
pee on it
southblvd1 karma2013-01-17 19:46:51 UTC
Any female firefighters in your department?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 19:50:50 UTC
skeevers1 karma2013-01-17 09:50:13 UTC
How many ways can you start a fire?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:09:59 UTC
TheVoiceOfRiesen1 karma2013-01-17 10:21:27 UTC
Firefighter from Maine. So how you like your turnout gear in the heat? I really do not look forward to summer.
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:06:34 UTC
during the summer they are more laxed with weaing the coat. We usually fly with a tee and the bunker pants if we are on squad or its a bullshit call. But you sorta get used to it. I actually came down from upstate ny so it was dificult to adjust at first.....but it aint bad.
DaFirenze1 karma2013-01-16 23:43:35 UTC
I've always thought of being a firefighter as one of the most dangerous jobs. Have you lost any people on the force while you've been there? Sorry if the question seems inappropriate...
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 00:01:47 UTC
I have been doing the job for 2 years. I dont have a lot of time on so no. And since this particular fire house opened (in the 50's) we have not had a line of duty death. Department wide we have only had several LODD's in the past decade.
Yes it is dangerous but if you learn how to "read fire" you can avoid being put in a bad situation.
in3deep1 karma2013-01-17 01:11:45 UTC
Do firemen ever start fires so that you'll have something to do?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 01:14:28 UTC
No. We would never put one another at risk for a cheap thrill.
Th3MadCreator1 karma2013-01-17 03:53:27 UTC
Have you ever had to rescue an animal?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 04:10:59 UTC
Two times (one cat one dog). Most of the time if the house is on fire they dont make it out.
Th3MadCreator1 karma2013-01-17 04:12:58 UTC
.....did those two?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 04:15:33 UTC
Luckily yes. Their owners were very happy.
rainwaterh1 karma2013-01-17 04:04:53 UTC
where in south carolina?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 17:13:22 UTC
id10t_error341 karma2013-01-16 23:57:08 UTC
Thanks so much for what you do!
What are some of the simplest overlooks or mistakes you see people make related to fires, whether they be preventative or procedural?
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 00:22:31 UTC
Well from the victim side of it the most common causes are peoples neglet. Leaving stoves on, leaving space heaters on (those cause fires all the time), putting too many plugs into a power strip, old style fireplaces, and thinking that instead of calling the fire department they can put it out and get their garden hose and waste time trying to put it out themselves.
Is that what you meant?
EliGoldberg1 karma2013-01-17 00:41:28 UTC
Is there a height requirement for firefighters in S.C. ?
Have entry physical standards been lowered in S.C. (for gender equality) ?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 00:48:03 UTC
It varies from department to department. For mine there was no standard. If you could pass the academy you are on the team (and the academy is very physcially challenging). If you are out of shape (weather youre fat or skinny) you dont make it.
andicotsteel1 karma2013-01-17 00:43:49 UTC
Ok I will ask a serious question. Which type of smoke detector do you recommend? I heard the most common kind is not good at detecting slow buidling smoldering fires which are more common. Is this true?
tpb19194 karma2013-01-17 00:56:29 UTC
Kiddie and first alert brand are cheap and work just fine. If people say that new dectors dont detect smoldering fires they are lying. We get calls for smoke detectors going off because somebody smoked a cigarette, dust got into it, a little smoke from the stove etc... So what im saying is most detectors today are hair triggered and will go off for the smallest things. They will detect smolder type fires.
warniversal1 karma2013-01-17 00:47:44 UTC
what is life around the fire hall like? when your not fighting fires?
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 00:51:56 UTC
Its home away from home. Clean the trucks, maintain equipment, clean, sleep, play x box, watch tv, eat, pick on each other (we seem to do this one the most). Like i said its just a second home.
warniversal1 karma2013-01-17 05:23:14 UTC
Thanks! How old are you, where you from and what's your salary like?
tpb19191 karma2013-01-17 05:31:05 UTC
22, I make around 11/hr. But thats a rookies pay (im still reatively new). After 5 years (most who quit do so within 5 years of starting) i get more money every 3 years.
[deleted]3 karma2013-01-17 09:12:56 UTC
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 20:10:17 UTC
South carolina. I do both paid (columbia) and vounteer work in the suburb i live in.
DartzIRL1 karma2013-01-17 00:49:49 UTC
You mentioned reading a fire earlier. Could you go into more details about this?
Also, my uncle was in the fire brigade for years over here. I think he regularly competed in the Police and Fire games, or whatever they're called.
tpb19192 karma2013-01-17 01:06:18 UTC
I just went into further detail in a comment below, were you talking about that one?
DartzIRL1 karma2013-01-17 01:17:40 UTC
Sorry mate, the only comment I could find about it was:
"It is dangerous but if you learn how to "read fire" you can avoid being put in a bad situation."
If you went into further detail, might be my fault but I just can't find it. Thanks anyway.
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 01:31:22 UTC
Oh sorry i misread your comment. What i mean about reading a fire is determining its behavior, where it will spread, where it started and if there are risks (ie flashovers, collapses etc). You can do this mostly through experience. If you know how to read smoke, you can read fire. If there is thick black smoke, that is an indicator of a slow burning chemical type baze. If smoke is slowly rising from the eves of the house and its light white, that usually means there can be a fashover and you could be burned alive before you know youre dead.
If you see smoke coming from the walls through the eves that is an indicator that the fire is in the walls/basements. Its really a skill you just devolpe on the job.
Polite_Werewolf1 karma2013-01-17 01:52:56 UTC
If there was a zombie outbreak, what would be your zombie plan?
tpb19194 karma2013-01-17 01:54:25 UTC
My zombie plan would have nothing to do with firefighting.
Polite_Werewolf3 karma2013-01-17 01:58:13 UTC
Never said it had to.
tpb19193 karma2013-01-17 02:13:51 UTC
Gather all my firearms, get into my truck and get as far into the sticks as i can go.
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