Hi Reddit! I work in North San Diego County, and experience new things everyday I am on the job. I had a picture of me posted on here by my daughter a few weeks ago, here is the link: http://redd.it/1k2tk1 I will be answering questions to the best of my ability between 12PM-4PM PAC time.

Proof: http://imgur.com/Eq2vNRX

I also want to thank jbisinla for being so gracious and sending me the badass shaving kit! His website is definitely worth checking out! www.lashavingsoap.com

Okay Reddit, I wanted to thank everyone for the awesome questions and listening to my answers and stories, I appreciate the comments and all the interest in what I do. For those seeking a job in firefighting don't ever give up, aim high and fight hard. It's the best lifestyle ever. Hopefully we can do this again sometime! In Brotherhood...

So I am back to answer a few more questions! I wanted to make sure everyone got their questions answered! So it seems I have gone through everything! Thanks again everyone!

Comments: 519 • Responses: 98  • Date: 

AngryEmu166 karma

No question, just wanted to say thank you for your service. Takes a brave individual to do what you've done for the past 24 years.

Stachetober102 karma

Thank you! We are here for you. I am truly humbled to be a public servant

sambuca6683 karma

Have you encountered many female firefighters over the years? I am a 16 year old junior firefighter in NJ, so obviously I haven't been involved in anything serious yet, but I plan to start firefighter 1 training when I turn 18. I was wonder how the guys treat the girls in the department. I am one of two girls in my station and so far things have been going well but I worry people won't take me seriously as I get more involved.

Stachetober159 karma

At first no, but steadily on the rise. The only way you will gain respect is to do your job, never complain and don't expect to be treated differently, and work hard on your upper body strength, it is essential to have this. Try working on throwing ladders with confidence. most of all be humble. Good luck to you

LeahBrahms7 karma

I know this IAmA has closed shop but I guess the question - would you let your daughter become a firefighter? Would be interesting and honest answer appreciated.

Stachetober7 karma

Absolutely, if that's is what she wants I would support her. She just needs to stay physically fit, and I would explain to her how difficult it would be. As long as she can throw ladders and climb hills, she'd stand a good chance. It runs in the family. :)

JshWright56 karma

Proud big brother moment... My sister has been a volunteer and part-time paid firefighter for several years (at the same department where I'm a volunteer). She just recently got on the job full-time.


Stachetober23 karma


ClarkTheLegend81 karma

Whats the strangest thing that you have had to do that has involved a bathroom?

Stachetober165 karma

Deliver a baby

cptn_garlock40 karma


Stachetober104 karma

We responded on a woman in labor, entered the house and made our first left, walked into the bathroom and there she was in imminent labor, facing the door. My engineer was so shocked he walked out. Within 5 minutes the baby was delivered, and perfectly healthy. My engineer made sure the engine didn't go anywhere. :P

baruckus57 karma

Have you ever had to burst out of a lake throwing an axe to kill a criminal who started the forest fire to cover up their escape from prison?

Stachetober60 karma

Lol, unfortunately no, not yet. I will happily let you know when this happens! I do carry a scabbard so I am constantly prepared! Good one!

theredpantsaremine47 karma

I was a kid when the Cedar Fire came through San Diego, the only wildfire to go directly through my neck of the woods. I remember watching just a massive wall of flame move over the hills behind my house toward my backyard in the span of about twenty minutes while we scrambled to pack up our animals and photos. When we came back after the evacuation, we could see multiple houses on each street burned to the ground, and the sky was orange and absolutely choked with ash. This isn't my picture, but it's the best representation I could find. It was completely surreal and still incredibly warm, even though the fire was no longer in the area. I really got a heaping portion of respect for firefighters and what you guys do from that experience, and from every fire since. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you do. Firefighters and volunteers are the only reason I didn't spend fifth grade homeless, while a lot of my classmates did.

Stachetober45 karma

You have experienced some of the most extreme conditions that SoCal can produce. AKA Santa Ana's. You and your family did the right thing by evacuating, and I am happy to hear you didn't lose your home. Sounds like the professionals saved your house

TheRuggie45 karma

Are you ever discouraged by seeing preventable disasters? Like people leaving the oven on or falling asleep smoking? What would you recommend an every day person always watch out for, or be wary of to remain safe?

Stachetober61 karma

Yes it is, a lot of it is common sense. If people were to think through their decisions and consider potential hazards, a lot of preventable disasters would be just that, preventable. Some things are just unavoidable, the busy lives, or the weather for example are not always foreseeable. On the terms of keeping safe. The biggest one I see is leaving food on the stove and walking away from it, forgetting to change the batteries in your smoke and CO detectors, overloading your circuits, and having burning candles unattended are some of the biggest hazards any firefighter will come across. On the terms of auto accidents, texting and driving has been horrific.

PichinchaV38 karma

What's the closest call with death you've had?

Stachetober113 karma

In the summer of 2000 I went on a fast moving wildland fire, and while attempting to set a backfire operation we had a wind change thus creating a fire tornado. Myself and two other units had to seek shelter behind the engines and had to constantly spray water above ourselves and the engines to keep the heat and fire off of us. I came out unharmed with the exception of a 2nd degree burn on my nose. The engines suffered blistered paint and melted lightbars.

BilboT_Baggins53 karma

Is it similar to a Sharknado?

Stachetober116 karma

Probably, without the teeth

ChessCrash32 karma

Did your moustache burn off? Has it burned off at any given time off your service while you had it?

Stachetober38 karma

No, maybe some singed hair but that's about it

shqichiro37 karma


Stachetober75 karma

Absolutely, my wife and daughter are one of my biggest sounding boards, some days it take some time to decompress the things I have experienced. Its hard not to bring work home. FD and PD is truly a lifestyle, it's constantly 24/7 for most.

BithTree37 karma

Temecula area ex-resident here. We love you all so much because we would not be there without you. You have all of our thanks.

Stachetober33 karma

And Thank you for putting up with all the smoke we send your way! Sorry

vest81623 karma

You guys do awesome work, especially considering that Southern California is just a big ol' tinderbox that nature really really hates. It's an overwhelmingly difficult place to keep, well, not on fire. The fact there are houses still standing is testament to both the stubbornness of humanity and the great team of firefighters staving off the consequences of building in such a hazardous location.

What I'm getting at is thanks to all of you for keeping our highly flammable hillsides so picturesque and not so smokey.

Stachetober15 karma

Thank you, urban interface is definitely a challenge and continuing to grow further east

andreib1417 karma

20 yo student here, was this your life dream or just something you decided to do? and have you ever had any toughs about what you would have done if not this?

Stachetober37 karma

It was my life dream, I have never thought about doing anything else but if I had to say I would have been a surf instructor

TeamOnBack13 karma

Thoughts on wildlands firefighters? I've always thought it would be a unique experience over the summer.

Stachetober16 karma

Most definetely! My first three years were with the Forest Service in San Bernardino...Fought alot of fire, learned alot and saw alot of the western U.S. including Yellowstone in 1988. I would highly recommend "bleedin' Green for a while

TeamOnBack4 karma

That sounds incredible. What age did you start at if you don't mind me asking? I'll be entering college in a year and I figured it might be a productive way to spend my summers. And there's always the positive of being outdoors/seeing interesting things.

Stachetober10 karma

I was a late bloomer, I was 24 when I started. If you can work it around college, absolutely. Something to keep in mind is the service hires in May, and you may work well into the first snow.

boastfulbadger16 karma

I heard about those firefighters in I think Arizona who were what I guess was the equivalent of a swat team. They didn't make it out of some fire and I was wondering how different their job is vs your regular firefighter. How is the training different and what has to happen to call these guys in.

Stachetober45 karma

They are called a hotshot crew. One of the biggest difference is that they use hand tools to fight fire and function as a tight knit prestige units. they remove fuels from the fires edge or indirectly ahead of the main body of fire. Essentially they are trained to starve the fire. They are experts at firing operations (fighting fire with fire.) They are usually the first on scene of fires in inaccessible terrain. I am typically attached to engines and we mainly use hose and water to accomplish our goals. We have worked with hotshot crews quite a bit during the summer. The Yarnell 19 were some of the best, and were taken from us from a very rare weather occurrence.

fitzdrizzle15 karma

What would you say has been the riskiest situation you've ever been in?

(also where in North County, just curious. Oceanside here :)

Thanks for everything you do.

Stachetober29 karma

When the picture of me was posted, my daughter thought it was a recent shot, it was actually a picture of me from a 2007 Santa Ana driven wildfire, threatening San Clemente, and I had been up for a little more than 72 hours. (The only reason she mentions 80+ hours is because of the original caption of the photo. I was on the silver fire, on a type 3 engine and strike team, and we were there for four days.) Leading up to that, the 2007 fire was the riskiest situation I had ever been in because of the decisions I had to make as an engineer in charge of a critical division, because most of our resources were on other fires. The northern edge of the fire became very active,and a backfire was set and if it had been done incorrectly, Southern San Clemente homes would have been threatened. It was a last ditch effort to stop the northern spread.

MCINTJ13 karma

You couldn't have picked a more beautiful place to protect. IMO a close second would be Santa Barbara. keep up the great work :)

Stachetober20 karma

Absolutely, I agree. Santa Barbara is gorgeous, the local mountains have their history of some major fires. Sanata Ana's here and sun-downers there.

elloowrld11 karma

thank you for your service. what steps would you suggest taking or are necessary for someone who would like to enter this line of work?

Stachetober18 karma

Have a passion for it, first off. You need to work on your EMT/PM and fire academy and fire science degrees. Remember you are going up against a lot of other potential firefighters. You must do whatever you can to have the advantage

anamelikenoneother8 karma

Have you seen anyone get hired after being let go from another department? I got hired last year to one and things didn't work out; I got let go for what one of my academy mates referred to as 'complete bullshit, you should a lawyer and sue this department if that's why they let you go'. I've started testing again and have never list my drive and love, I'm just nervous about how to approach this issue if I ever get to the background investigation. I learned a lot about myself and while I emphatically disagree with my former department's decision, I think I'm better off somewhere else.

Any advice on how to approach this?

Stachetober10 karma

Yes I have heard of other people getting hired after being let go from another department. I am not a fan of suing, in my opinion, be honest and the backgrounds won't matter.

AGoodMan32410 karma

Top five movies??

Stachetober32 karma

Saving Private Ryan, Backdraft, Chasing Mavericks, Band of Brothers, and a movie called 'Always'

Makern10 karma

How do you view the integration of EMS into the fire service? Good or bad and why?

Stachetober13 karma

In my opinion it is good thing because a majority of our calls are medical based. It keeps a uniformity and professionalism within one entity in the fire department. It is easier to control and not a money maker.

The_Vatican_Rag8 karma

What's your call volume like, EMS versus fire? Lotta places it's upwards of 90-95% EMS anymore.

Stachetober17 karma

We are at 87% EMS

Pimparoo1 karma

Do you do your own transport at your department or contract? Opinions on either option?

Stachetober1 karma

We do our own transports, but utilize air ambulances and private ambulances for special events. In my opinion the combo of both works well. Its always an advantage to keep it in house, if you are a big enough department.

zyg0t39 karma

Came on here to bitch at how a 24 year old can be a veteran, then realised I misread the title! My dad was a fireman(firefighter) for nearly 30 years, nothing but respect for him and what you guys do.

Stachetober9 karma

Thanks! And please thank your father for his service

Miah_Green9 karma

What made you move to SoCal and become a firefighter. Why not another place in the states and why not a police officer. And I know that Cali and NY have different processes in order to become a Firefighter. How difficult was it? Some up and downs? and how did you start your process to become a Firefighter.

Stachetober11 karma

My family moved at SoCal when I was younger. It wasn't my decision where we ended up. I was never interested in being a police officer, my older brother was a police officer in SoCal and died in the line of duty 22 years ago. I saw the brotherhood firsthand, and decided to stick with firefighting. Yes you are right on the different processes, SoCal was quite difficult, when you showed up for a written test, typically you were up against 2,000-3,000 applicants. There were definitely ups and downs. I scored high on some tests and others were just bad days.

ZoeStrummer9 karma

I used to work as a reporter for a small paper up north and frequently had to cover fires. I always felt invasive and annoying when I approached the firemen, even if (especially if!) they were trying to rest. (This is one of the many reasons I'm no longer a reporter.)

Anyway, do you have an ideal behavior you'd like to see from the media when it comes to getting information about a fire?

Stachetober10 karma

First thing to understand is firemen in general avoid media, so they don't have to owe other stations ice cream when seen on T.V. or quoted in the paper. Nothing personal! Media needs to understand that there is a good and a bad time to approach to ask questions. It is preferred to ask permission and if it is a good time to question. Most departments will have a designated P.I.O, that would be the official way.

penguanne9 karma

Hi Stachetober! First, do you and your crew participate in Movember? That stache gives you a huge head start...

Also, what's something people SHOULD call the FD about, but don't? And do you get annoyed if you go to a call and it turns out to be a false alarm, either medical or fire?

Thank you!!

Stachetober8 karma

To answer your first question, Stachtober and Movember is another reason to grow the stache longer, it also helps support the treatment and prevention of prostate cancer. People should be calling for oven fires but often don't. Yes, sometimes I do get annoyed because it may take us away from our area where someone actually needs help.

JshWright8 karma

As a firefighter from the northeast, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you guys that do 'real' wildland fire.

"That mountain is fire. Here's your shovel.... Get to it..."

Stachetober7 karma

LMFAO, and yes that's sometimes what it feels like.

anon55058 karma

I am a firefighter. I can't grow a stache, does that mean I will never get promoted?

Stachetober9 karma

Absolutely you're so done. Haha, just kidding. Gorilla Glue works great! Keep shaving, the more you shave it the better it grows in

UhhhGotAnyGum8 karma

First, thank you for your service.

My question is, Las Vegas had a problem last year with firefighters abusing the overtime system by using sick days as de facto vacation days and scheduling these days ahead of time with their friends, so their friends would then be called in on days off for overtime when they called in sick. It cost the taxpayers of the city millions of dollars. The firefighters' defense was basically, "We have always done it this way." Have you seen anything like this where you are? If so, what is being done to stop bad apples like these from defrauding taxpayers in your area?

Stachetober8 karma

I have read about it, but its not an issue in SoCal to my knowledge. Unfortunately a few bad apples can create a costly mistake.

Diffeomorph7 karma

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Stachetober16 karma

Yes, there was once I felt my cat on the bed and he wasn't there.

waiting_for_rain7 karma

When you're the ridealong, do you prefer we bring donuts or bagels? I'm already making the coffee, haha.

Stachetober6 karma

Dunkin Donuts, or Oreos!

subzero18117 karma

What's the sadest thing you had to witness?

Stachetober11 karma

Child fatalities, or trauma in infants and children is always the most heart wrenching situations I have dealt with. I think most firemen feel that way

Sapper6667 karma

I'm going for my EMT cert and that is my biggest fear. I've been around death in Iraq and lost Marines but child fatalities, that scares the shit out of me. How do you cope with something like that?

Stachetober7 karma

You just do, no matter how much it bothers you can't show it on scene. Having someone you can debrief with afterwards really helps. Its completely normal to feel that way.

Frajer6 karma

Would you say your job is more rewarding or terrifying?

Stachetober16 karma

Rewarding, because a majority of calls that we run are routine calls and usually have a positive outcome. The extreme calls are not consistent.

mundzy16 karma

how do you determine how much water you pump up on top of a roof before it will collapse?

Stachetober10 karma

There are formula's that firemen can use on scene during a working fire and/or pre-fire plans to calculate roughly how many gallons of water are safe to pump onto the roof in question. Building types also play a big part in that as well.

jscreamer6 karma

Son of a NorCal Firefighter here. My dad just got back from the rim fire (strike team). Did you go? He said there were about 100 engines in a pretty small town.

Also, fire fighting is something that i can see myself doing when it is career time. Im planning on getting my firefighter 1, my EMT, and maybe even an AA in fire science (all things my father has recommended). Anything else specific that you think it would be good for a prospective fire fighter to do proactively to get in the good graces of the right people?

edit: i so bad grammar

Stachetober5 karma

No I wasn't at the rim fire, my engine company went to silver fire, thus taking us out of the rotation. Your father has it covered pretty well. I would highly recommend the AA in fire science. I also will tell you to do ride-alongs, get your face seen out there

boastfulbadger5 karma

I have a friend who is also a firefighter. His biggest concern in his area is booby trapped methlabs. Is this an issue where you work?

Stachetober5 karma

No, luckily it isn't. Our first in area is pretty safe in regard to that. Our automatic/mutual aid area with the surrounding area has potential.


From your pic, I think I saw you putting out the fire near my work last week in a canyon in Vista. I was surprised how quickly you guys put the fire out.

Stachetober17 karma

I know what fire you are speaking of, I wasn't actually there. That must have been my doppelganger

SlamDunkPanda5 karma

What has been the most rewarding and terrifying thing you have had to do during your sevice?

Stachetober11 karma

I do fire prevention lessons at elementary and middle schools as well with girl and boy scouts, I am also a member of my department honor guard. I recently represented my fire department at the Yarnell 19 memorial and funerals that followed. On the terms of terrifying, working the freeways has always been iffy for me.

DrMichaelMancini5 karma

What is the most common overlooked thing I can do to keep my family from being barbeque?

Stachetober11 karma

Food left on the stove and always multiple functioning smoke detectors. Also, have a practiced escape plan.

not_this_guy925 karma

are 'Staches required? ive seen a trend

Stachetober11 karma

Yes, they magically appear after your rookie year. Just kidding, just a part of our persona.

-jack_5 karma

Resident of San Clemente here. Just wanted to thank you for your service as I'm sure you have had to deal with the fires up here throughout the years.

Stachetober4 karma

Its my honor, love San Clemente. Yes I have fought fires close to your area

hiyosilver644 karma

You and your fellow firefighters are terrific! Thanks for all you do! :) (My God but you are one handsome fellow to boot ! )

Stachetober11 karma

Thank you, I am humbled. Must be the mustache

JDub84 karma

Why are your organizations run paramilitary style?

Stachetober8 karma

Good question, anywhere from rank and structure to running calls AKA multiple alarms. We utilize a military type style to keep thing organized, in regards to the rank and position it promotes pride, comraderie, tradition and professionalism. It provides that connection of brotherhood.

TurdMurder4 karma

  • What's your position? If you are a Captain/Chief, do you miss working on the line? If you aren't, do you regret not moving up? Is it ever looked down (like it can be in the military) if you have 20+ years in an stayed an AO or Engineer?

  • How do you evaluate/mentor probies? I have a friend with LAFD and hearing about his first year experiences with certain stations was interesting.

  • What's the dumbest thing you've seen a new guy do?

  • What's the dumbest thing you've seen a veteran do?

  • On the other hand, what's the smartest/luckiest thing you've seen a fellow FF do on a call?

  • Have you ever considered going to a small town dept? Why or why not?

Thanks for doing the AMA!

Stachetober2 karma

Okay here it is. Ready, speed answers: Go! I am a Fire Capt. still get to work on the line though! No it's not looked down upon. As for monitoring, you have to be careful, we put our probies on a first year task book. I had a new guy who donned his BA before we even got to the scene. I had a veteran, who approached a suspicious package in a vehicle. (It was a bomb scare.) He picked the container up and held it up to the sun to look at what was inside. The smartest thing I think I have seen was when an out of control car careened into our engine, my engineer saw it at the last minute and managed to jump into the engine to avoid getting hit. I am only considering that for after I retire, because I want to pass down my knowledge and experience to volunteers

00austin4 karma

Hey there 'Stache. Life long North County resident here. Over the past 10 years or so I've had to help evacuate 7 homes (2003, 2007, 2008, 2009) due to the massive wildfires we've had. I was talking about this with a friend the other day and we both figured that we are due for another destructive event. What are you thoughts on that? Do you think the county is prepared for another Witch Creek or Cedar fire? Do you think we had have adequate fire-deterant policies?

I remember being at a friend's house during the 2003 even in eastern Escondido near the grade to Valley Center. We got an alert that we had to evacuate immediately but didn't put too much thought into it. 15 minutes later we see the flames sweeping over the top of a ridge 4 miles out. I've never loaded a truck that fast and I hope I don't have to do it again any time soon.

Stachetober2 karma

Unfortunately, we will see another major fire in the next couple years. We have learned a lot from the '03 and '07 fires. Are we ready? Not as much as we could be, but we are better prepped than when we were in '03 and '07. Arsonists sadly are just waiting for a good Santa Ana.

Muramasan4 karma

At first i was like "theres no way your 24 years old"

Stachetober2 karma

Yup...Would be nice...24 years on the job

GreatBolshy4 karma

How was your financial situation for the first few years as a firefighter? From what I hear, fire fighters don't get paid much at all. And how is your financial situation now?

Stachetober7 karma

Never struggled, SoCal firefighters are paid quite well entry level, and we are still doing okay

paper_lover3 karma

How does one get hired? Know someone who has his EMT license and is working on his paramedic license and wants to get on with a FD in San Diego.

Stachetober8 karma

Well he has a good start already. He needs to complete his medic and try to get sponsored at an Academy, either at Palomar, Miramar, or Rio hondo. With a medic and academy behind him, he should look good to any SoCal dept.

135flyer3 karma

Mercy Air Pilot stopping in to say hello!!

Stachetober2 karma

We really appreciate everything you guys do, you are very helpful to us

FoolForTheCity3 karma


Stachetober8 karma

I have seen the one by Petco Park, they hold a lot of tradition. Good for those guys! They work hard, they definitely deserve a little down time. I am very happy at the department I work at. :)

FoolForTheCity3 karma


Stachetober15 karma

Not a day goes by in my 24 year career that I don't want to wake up and go to work. Not too many people can say that. :)

beachplease_iamshore3 karma

Would you recommend any academies or schools in particular? I am an almost 18 year old High School senior living in Chicago looking to be a firefighter/paramedic, and am trying to get into Fox Valley Technical College in particular.

Stachetober6 karma

I wish I could help, but I am not familiar with the Chicago area. The best thing I could tell you is to go to your local fire department during business hours and asking them the same question. Don't forget to bring cookies or ice cream! :P Don't give up! I can tell you this dream is definitely worth pursuing.

ScriptSarge3 karma

With 24 fire seasons under you belt, have you seen anything in the changes of weather that lead you to believe climate change is a very real condition? Hotter, drier, longer summers? Or is this something that you have not noticed, or is there no evidence in your field to suggest this?

Stachetober2 karma

weather occurs in cycles/patterns. We are in the middle of a dry pattern with the possibility of one of the worst years in 100 years. I'm not a fan of global warming, I think there is still a normalcy to the fire seasons

alterego262 karma

Ever meet a William Peterson? Chief of the Torrance Fire Department, and my grandfather.

Stachetober4 karma

No, sorry I have not had the honor. The only Peterson I know is from Encinitas FD.

woensdag3332 karma

Do you ever joy-ride with the fire-truck if you're just driving it around?

Even though I don't know where California is, thanks for your services! :-)

Stachetober5 karma

I am fire captain now, I haven't driven the truck in a few years, but when we did just "joyride" around the truck, it was always with family or kids, often during a holiday or event. In today's world unfortunately you won't see it too often because of liability issues and lawsuit-happy people

woensdag3332 karma

I'm buddies with my local fire station crew, because I always bring them home made chocolate chip cookies around Christmas, and as a "reward" they take me on a ride, luckily the highest man there is nice, so he turns on the lights. Firefighters are awesome! :-)

Stachetober3 karma

Sounds like you have some great friends. Love the chocolate chip cookies!

Abe_lincolin2 karma

What's the best part of being a firefighter?

Stachetober11 karma

I could say the generic answer, and say that I just love helping people, but I really love the uncertainty of the daily job. My days are never the same, I have a wide variety of calls that I respond to. We are responding to someone's worst day in hopes of making it better.

The_Homestarmy2 karma

Thanks for your service!

Question: Dodgers or Angels?

Stachetober5 karma

Neither! Boston Red Sox! But if I had to choose it would be Angels

comrade_canada2 karma

You look similar to my father, who's a retired firefighter for Ajax, Ontario.

Stachetober4 karma

A fellow brother, I take that as a compliment. Thank him for his service from me please!

three5nMothaFka2 karma

Are you currently at the rim fire? If so what is your title? Management? Can you give us an update on the status of this fire in more depth than the national sit?

Stachetober3 karma

Not at the Rim fire. Went to the Silver fire so at the bottom for rotation. I'm a Fire Captain. We crossman an Engine, Brushie and patrol. As of this a.m., Rim fire is 40% contained. released a number of Type 1 (pumpers) over the past few days. Most of the IA units and strike teams from the first few days are timing out and will need replacement.

Sn33zer2 karma

Thank you for your service, I just recently graduated high school and becoming a firefighter has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I plan on going to college next year to get my fire science degree and i'm taking a 10 day WFR cert course along with a WFA course in the coming months with hopes to do some wilderness first responder work during my year away from schooling. What are some other things that I could be doing to give myself an edge in the hiring process? (I plan on getting my EMT training next year though college in addition to getting my fire science stuff done)

Stachetober2 karma

Work on a fire academy and ride alongs

polticalmind2 karma

Thank you for your service! Im only a 20 year old college student right now but its my dream to become a firefighter when im 25 after traveling the world with my sister i honestly dont think i can spend this life better than helping extend the life of others. Any advice i should know before hand to help me before becoming a firefighter or advice for my rookie year?

Stachetober3 karma

I've talked a lot about what can help with the hiring process. You are on the right track, attitude is first step. In regards to your rookie year, don't brag, be humble, learn to do your job better than your mentor, always answer phones, make coffee, be the first to the truck, and always keep a smile on your face. You don't have to respect the person, but respect the badge

Vogey2 karma

As a 19 year old who just got out of highschool and hasn't thought about college yet. I really want to do what you're doing, I'm a very shy person and jobs requiring people skills are out of the question for me. But I want to help the community any way i can, i'm in excellent shape physically, lifting for 4 years and kickboxing for 2, I know i have the physical aspects covered, it's the education side of things i'm worried about. Where should i go from here?

Stachetober6 karma

You can work on your people skills. Don't let that stop you.. I was shy too, its just something that you start to overcome with the job/lifestyle. Go for it! Don't give up.

iHeartKC2 karma

What would you recommend be the first step for someone getting out of the Marine Corps who has an ARFF Mos and wants to get on with a civilian department? I am getting out in less than a year and was wondering if some civilian departments can take DOD certifications or if it's just a better idea to go with a civilian DOD station on base. I do plan on getting my EMT/Paramedic certs as well.

Stachetober4 karma

Most civilian departments don't take DOD certs. Looking to granfather DOD certs in the future

Stachetober1 karma

It was be an easier transition to go from Marine Core to your local DOD base. Gain some experience in EMT/medic and then go to a city.

4InchesOfury2 karma

Were the Santa Ana Winds last year less powerful/consistent than usual or did it just seem that way? Do we have any way of knowing how powerful they're going to be this year?

As a surfer, I love Santa Ana conditions (offshore wind) but the damage they cause really sucks.

Stachetober2 karma

The talk among firemen is a possible El nino with moderate to strong Santa Ana's in between. Yes they were less consistent last year, but this year it is still up in the air, we haven't heard much.

shaggorama2 karma

What's the most "in trouble" you've ever felt on the job? Maybe you left a critical piece of equipment outside, or a roof came down you unexpectedly, or you got disoriented, or you had trouble finding an exit before the room you were in flashed over....

Stachetober6 karma

Once I got the engine stuck in some sand during an active wildland fire...captain was not happy

war13572 karma

Thank you for your service. And go Bruins!

Stachetober3 karma

Black and Yellow all the way!

scandinaviae2 karma

Thanks for this AMA, interesting read!

I'm a full time Swedish firefighter with a habit of travelling and working abroad (for UN, not as a firefighter).

Would it in your opinion be possible to arrange an exchange between a Swedish firehouse and an American ditto?

Do you see any possibilities for a foreign firefighter to work in your country, and if so, what steps do you think would be needed to do this?

Stachetober2 karma

I honestly have never heard of such a program, amongst firemen it's a great idea. I can tell you on the U.S federal side, we can transfer worldwide. If you qualify at the U.S level, AKA a certain department, it could happen. I have pretty limited knowledge on this in particular subject. I think it would be best to contact the department you would be interested in going to and see where it goes from there.

sodangfancyfree2 karma

thanks for doing this ama! i just have some general questions.

where did you do your academy at?

what type of apparatus do you work on?

do you have a pm cert?

ricky rescue. what do you think of him?

is it true that police officers are just probies who failed out because they were too scared to climb the aerial?

thanks, and stay safe!

Stachetober5 karma

I did the academy at Long Beach. I work on Type 1 pumpers, Type 3 brushies, Type 6 patrols. Nope, I am old school. When I first got in, it wasn't really offered and was considered rare. On the terms of Ricky Rescue's, just stay of my way. That's pretty awesome, but I will say an ongoing joke is that some PD have always wanted to be firefighters.

cat_dev_null1 karma

If you're still taking questions.. what is the age cutoff for becoming a firefighter? Are there any not--so-obvious physical requirements?

Stachetober3 karma

Typically it's 39, although I've had friends in their mid and late 40's move on to some big city departments.

Alot of common sense and good coordination

cuppa_joe1 karma

How has the enviable 'man in uniform' syndrome been an advantage/disadvantage to you? Any interesting stories that can be shared?

Stachetober3 karma

I know this "man in uniform" syndrome exists, good and bad...but have no interesting stories

turner_prize1 karma

I'd really like to be a firefighter myself. Once a vacancy comes up on the island where I live, I'm going to give it a shot. What would you say the best skills are to have when going into a job like that? What does your mentality need to be like?

Thanks for this AMA.

Stachetober4 karma

Strong physical and mental strength along with a Passion for being a public servant. EMT/Medic is a great background to carry and maybe even some water rescue skills for your area of interest. Bottomline, you've got to be willing to put your life on the line for a complete stranger...Go for it!

captainDraper1 karma

No question; just wanted to say thank you. I live in Poway, and my home nearly burned down in '07. Thank you for you service, sir

Stachetober3 karma

No, Thank You...

cahman1 karma

Hey! I live in the same are as you, are you in Oceanside, Carlsbad, vista?

Stachetober1 karma

I am with Camp Pendleton Fire. Not a marine, we are all civilian fire department.

SemperFly1 karma

Do you know Rick Lambert?

Stachetober2 karma

I do not know a Rick Lambert. What department?

Apennie1 karma

What're your thoughts on the Yosemite fire?

Stachetober2 karma

Not too surprised. The point of origin, kind of lined up with the wind for the first four or five days. It is really difficult when we have a drought situation happening. I am all for cleansing, but this fire has burned so hot because of the fuel load and time of day.

FeralDrood1 karma

Favorite current playing Bruin? All time favorite?

Stachetober2 karma

Favorite current is Adam McQuaid.. All Time is Bobby Orr (#4)..

firepants20101 karma

Just wanted to say thank you. Seems like you can never get enough. :)

Stachetober2 karma

More than welcome to be a public servant to you all!

nofknwayy1 karma

It's been so hot here the last week or two. Does the humidity help to reduce them at all?

Stachetober1 karma

To a point yes. Higher humidity keeps the flame intensity down.

Trestar111 karma

Do you know what started, or were you there for the massive wildfire that started around Alpine on the early 2000s?

Stachetober1 karma

There was one start off the 8, I believe it was a vehicle fire

givesgoldvauseyolo1 karma

how valuable are military vets in applying for positions in the department.

Stachetober1 karma

Extremely, they are typically give extra preference points for extra recognition and serving our country.

twentyafterfour1 karma

Do you have any thoughts on "The Station" nightclub fire?

Stachetober2 karma

A fan of Great White...Raw video is horrific. First-in Engine companies had their hands full. protecting means of egress was an immediate need...life safety. Crowd control was a necessity but not by FD. Using pyrotechnics in a small venue was a bad decision. Unfortunately, even the first and second alarm assinments were overwhelmed...I think FD did their best for what they were faced with

Thirdpear1 karma

Have you lost any good friends on the job?

Stachetober2 karma

No, just a couple off duty, and one killed in Iraq

schu_1 karma

How would you say is the best way to get into firefighting?

Stachetober3 karma

I have answered this question, just take a peek at my previous replies

WolfPackST1-11 karma

To be honest, being a firefighter isn't much of a big deal. 4 deployments to Afghanistan? Big deal. Firefighters? not so much.

Stachetober7 karma

By the way, my fire department directly supports the marine core. We put our lives on the line everyday for you. Thanks for your service to this country.