(Censored to protect myself and my service)

I've been in the job for what feels like forever. I've seen things I want to forget, and done things I hope I remember forever.

If there's anything you'd like to know about the job, fire safety or Bitcoin, ask me anything!

EDIT 3: I've seen a few comments starting with "I'm not sure if this is dead, but..."

I'll continue to answer all questions. Don't worry. If there's something you'd like to ask me directly, feel free to DM me.

EDIT: PSA - check your smoke alarms. They may save your life.

EDIT 2: List of good points and some TL;DR from the discussions below - will be updated on an ongoing basis:

  • As well as smoke alarms, get a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Put smoke alarms on the ceiling.
  • Carbon monoxide, place it near to the combustion area (anything which has burning or combustion)
  • Don't use block adaptors
  • Heated pads/electrical blankets are fine to use, but not overnight or for a prolonged period of time.
  • Bitcoins are fireproof.
  • Fire fighters are underpaid (at least in the UK) - the salary is around £29,000 per year gross.
  • Fire fighter, not fireman - a small difference, but you never hear people saying "firewomen".
  • There aren't enough female fire fighters.
  • My work schedule is a 48 hour shift. This consists of two 10 hour day shifts, followed by two 14 hour night shifts, then 4 days off.
  • Don't overload your adapters.
  • My top tips on becoming a fire fighters: -Learn what it takes to become a fire fighter (check the PQAs). -Become a volunteer first aider. -Visit your local fire station. -Get fit.
  • Paper fire lanterns are a hazard - try not to use them. Or just keep them under control and put them out.

Comments: 1632 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

AgentOrangutan756 karma

Are electric blankets safe these days? I want one for Christmas, but my partner insists that they're a fire hazard! I said I'd ask a fireman, so this AMA is kinda perfectly timed :) thank you for your service - I once called out the firemen for something which turned out to be nothing, and the guy said "we'd much rather come out just to make sure it's nothing, than come out to something bad"

Fickle_Monster623 karma

They're fine if properly checked and maintained.

The main thing to note with electric blankets is not to leave them on overnight, or for a prolonged period of time. Anything that has a tendency to highly heat up (toasters, vacuums, electric blankets, chargers) have a higher tendency to develop a fault than non-heat up electronics.

Also, bear in mind not to overload your extensions, and get rid of block adapters - the latter are huge hazards for a home.

whomstdboi125 karma

Just to clarify, what do you mean by block adapters?

Fickle_Monster399 karma

Yep, popcornpost is right:

The reason they're a hazard is because the older style block adapters were actually unfused, which means it could heat up and heat up without cutting out, if overloaded, for example.

Moreover, if it is slightly pulled out from the wall, there will be a gap between the adapter and the wall, which can cause arcing (when an electrical current leaps). This can also cause a fire.

One of the worst fires I've been to was an overloaded block adapter in a child's bedroom.

The child didn't survive.

whomstdboi111 karma

I don’t know what to say to that, but regardless, thank you for your services, you’re doing God’s work.

Fickle_Monster405 karma

I like to think I'm doing my work. :P It's hard to believe in God when a child dies for no reason.

Then again, I'm an atheist.

whomstdboi153 karma

That is true, it is hard to believe in a higher force when you face such horrors, I hope I didn’t offend you. I only meant that you are doing the work of a hero. You are a hero.

Fickle_Monster60 karma

No offence, no worries.

squeel30 karma

That sucks, I kind of like my heated mattress pad.

Another question - is it okay to leave things you may not currently be using plugged in all the time? My dad does wiring but is also a bullshitter and he used to go around the house and unplug things when no one else was home. Always annoying, also wondering if it was practical.

Good morning, and thanks for the AMA!

Fickle_Monster60 karma

It's fine to leave it plugged, as long as you're sure there isn't a current running through it. The exception to this are electricals which are designed to be kept on (fridge, sky box, etc.)

Anything charging should not be left on overnight.

Your Dad is just playing the better safe than sorry card - I admit, it's a bit OTT, but it doesn't hurt anybody, I guess.

You can still use your heated mattress pad! Just not while you sleep. If it start smoking or crackling, you need to be awake to react.

randomchic54545 karma

When you say "anything charging should not be left on overnight" does this include things like cellphones? We always charge our phones overnight :S

Fickle_Monster55 karma

It's a hazard. Feel how hot your phone and charger gets while charging.

Then imagine if there's a fault in your phone or charger and you're asleep.

That's how people die.

Maghliona3 karma

Kinda wanting this to get answered

Fickle_Monster4 karma

Answered. :)

charonpdx603 karma

How safe are Bitcoin from fire?

Fickle_Monster735 karma

Very safe. Just keep note of your seed phrase. That's used to recover your btc if you lose access to your account.

I'd recommend storing it in a fire proof safe.

Dlrlcktd473 karma

Or message it to me, I’ll keep it safe promise.

Fickle_Monster1061 karma

Don't trust this guy. You'll get burned.

tbl44578 karma

What was your scariest call? I was a volunteer peasant for a bit but I don't have any good stories, I mostly just complain about how much I hated wildfires.

Fickle_Monster1393 karma

I'll categorise the scariest calls I've had.

  • Life threatening - a fire erupted in the basement of a house. Crews were sent down to firefight, and I was part of the team sent to the first floor (two floors above the fire) to search and rescue. There were 2 people missing. On my way into the 4th compartment, I really felt the heat. Now, my kit is designed to keep heat out (something up to the temperature of 600degrees Celsius), so if k was feeling it, it was hot. Really hot. I had a really bad feeling about the environment (I obviously couldn't see anything cos of the smoke). I told my team leader that we should get out, citing that I wasn't feeling good (I was fit, but something was just really off). Just as we left the compartment, the ground shook and we heard a huuuge crack.

The fire had eaten through the internals of the walls, up beneath the first floor. The ground shaking and cracking was the fire having eaten through the wooden floor. After the incident was over, I was told that right where we were standing was where the huge hole was.

  • Creepy - Got a call that there was a fire in a graveyard at 2am. We roll up, and search around for 30 minutes in the pitch black (apart from our torches) in the dead of night. Silence had never sounded so loud.

    • Crap my pants - I was searching a house once when a drug fuelled tit jumped out at me from behind a door and tackled me to the ground. What a knob.

tbl44374 karma

Damn dude, I don't know how you read my mind but your answer was exactly what I was looking for (was hoping for creepy and dangerous). What became of the friendly neighborhood crack head? Also what happened to the missing 2 from your first story?

Fickle_Monster467 karma

The crack head was charged with assault, because he was specifically trying to rip off my BA mask.

The 2 people died, for sure. No-one gonna survive that environment without PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

wehrmann_tx94 karma

Basement fires are some scary shit. Your officer should have known better if you were feeling that much heat above the fire. If it was that hot for you in your gear, no one without gear was savable and the structure members below you were being chewed through.

Fickle_Monster187 karma

To be fair, the fire spread was completely random and unknown.

The fire had eaten into the wall in the basement, bypassed the ground floor, then just made a change of direction into the space under the first floor. The heat wasn't unbearable in the ground floor, but definitely wasn't doable in the first floor.

Fire's strange.

FoxtrotBeta656 karma

Older house? I recall newer house builds have fire barriers to slow a fire's movement to other floors through walls?

Fickle_Monster66 karma

Definitely an older house.

MrDoze358 karma

What’s your most ridiculous/comical/unnecessary callout been? Have a few stories from uni involving less than impressed firefighters.

Fickle_Monster1271 karma

Aaah. Uni students. You guys addicted to using that powder extinguisher at 1am or what? XD

Brings to mind a story I heard about a crew of firefighters who either got demoted or fired for pulling uni students out of dorms and making them wait outside for an hour, because that was the 6th time they were called there that night.

The most ridiculous was definitely a woman who called in that her house was in fire and that she was in the kitchen. When we get there, house is fine, she is fine, her cat is fine. She was adamant, however, that she could see the future, and her house is about to go on fire, so could we wait for a bit. I think she was lonely...

Oh, but one time, I also had to help carry an obese man on a stretcher for about a mile uphill, because the idiot got drunk and drove his disability scooter and himself down into a river. He was still drunk, and kept trying to push me away from him as I carried his 20 stone ass to the ambulance. That was kind of bullshit.

Ah, another time, there was a fire in a house of a hoarder who liked to horde mirrors - free standing mirrors everywhere with a nice thick layer of smoke. I was so confused. It didn't help that there was another team in the house too, so I often found myself talking to myself in a mirror, thinking it was the other team.

extremly_bored161 karma

Ahh the good old mirror situation. I had the pleasure of trying to locate and extinguish a fire inside a smaller appartment which was directly above a brothel and was used for private BDSM parties. So a lot of mirrors and a lot of plastic which made for thick heavy smoke. Took us more than a few tries to actually start extinguishing the fire because we often just watered the mirror image. Fun times.

Fickle_Monster147 karma

Haha! Good thing you didn't get tangled up in the bondage room. Entrapment procedure!

MrDoze57 karma

I’ve been a (mainly) fully functional adult for a while now. These stories stem from at least 12 years ago. But the fire engine was a common sight on campus. My housemate got really pissed, decided to cook some sausages and then fell asleep. Put the kitchen out of action for a couple of months. Then there was the girl from a few houses down whose mum came to visit - they wanted to have a BBQ but it was raining, so they set it up in the kitchen sink. Plus countless other false alarms from smoking where we shouldn’t, setting of extinguishers and hitting alarm buttons etc etc etc.

I’m pretty sure we were made to stand out in the cold for a while to try to knock some sense into us. Also, was there any truth in the threat of being charged by the fire service for false callouts?

Thanks for your hard work in keeping us clueless schmucks safe and fire free!

Fickle_Monster98 karma

The fire service won't ever charge someone for call outs.

What will happen is that the fire service could send a lower level of response to repeat offenders - this means one fire engine instead of two.

How this would affect you is that:

1) If there IS a fire, you're more screwed than if there were two fire engines.

2) You are legally obliged to inform your insurance company of this change, and your premium will go up.

So in a round about way, you cough up the dough regardless - hopefully not with your life.

TrucksNShit286 karma

What's your process for being on call at night, by that I mean how the fuck do you get to the station so quickly?

My local 24 hour shop is beside the local fire station and at night if there's a call all the fire fighters all arrive within seconds of each other which I'm assuming means they've all got there super quickly. I just csnt wrap my head around how they can get out of bed and get there so fast.

Also thanks for what you do. It's a dangerous profession and one that is taken for granted

Fickle_Monster355 karma

Where I work, there are whole time stations and retained stations.

In whole time stations, there are crews there 24/7.

What you're describing is a retained station, where fire fighters, who live near the station, are on-call on a retained fee, and if their pager goes off, they have to get to the station in minutes.

Cheers. Keep safe and check your smoke alarms.

Dlrlcktd35 karma

Do you have any advice to keep the smoke detectors from going off everytime I cook?

wehrmann_tx89 karma

Get a vent hood for your stove or learn to cook better? Your oil is too hot if you're smoking that much.

Fickle_Monster19 karma

Even some steam could set off a smoke alarm - it's not necessarily that the cooking is bad.

How smoke alarm's work is that there are two electrically charged plates - when the path between them is obstructed, it sets off the alarm. Anything small enough to enter the alarm could set it off.

paulmasoner196 karma


Fickle_Monster162 karma

European it is. Single stage high pressure low flow - works a treat! I've not had the opportunity to visit the American fire brigades yet. I had no idea you guys work on low pressure high flow.

What's your maximum outgoing delivery pressure? Working pressure of course - so working off your hose reel and fire hose. What's the maximum pressure for each? Here, we're working about 25 bar pressure off the hose reel on high pressure, and about 7 bar pressure off the delivery (fire hose).

BoostedBenji173 karma

What’s your favourite piece of equipment you’ve used?

My Dad is in the service in the UK as well (your engine looks like the UK models from what I can tell).

Thank you for your service, all you give up and fingers crossed the government stops f*cking with your pension.

Fickle_Monster177 karma

I'd say my favourite kit is probably the SWAH kit (Safe Working At Height) - it's just what rock climbers and abseilers would use.

I love rock climbing. :D

Lovefrombadlands171 karma

Do you have children? If so, do you tend to take less risks?

If you don't have children, is your job something that you'd take into consideration?

Fickle_Monster437 karma

I have children. I still take the same amount of risks as any other fire fighter - my job is primarily to save and protect lives, and I'll keep trying to do that unless the risks vastly outweigh the gains.

Also, if I die, my children and wife will get a nice lump sum from my life insurance, so all's good. :D

Zeustah-215 karma

If it hasn’t been said yet, thank you for your service.

Fickle_Monster197 karma

Cheers. Stay safe. Check your smoke alarms!

Hell_Mel36 karma

Should I use smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors?

What Height should they be at?

Fickle_Monster103 karma

Both. They do different things, and are both as important as eachother.

Smoke alarms detect when anything obstructs a sensor within the unit - this could be smoke, or dust, or steam, etc. These should be placed on the ceiling, because the characteristic behaviour of smoke is that it rises to the ceiling and plumes. As such, the alarm will have fastest time to detect the smoke if it is on the ceiling.

There should be at least 1 smoke alarm per level of a house.

Carbon Monoxide - these specifically detect carbon monoxide, and should be placed near anything which has some form of combustion (since carbon monoxide is the product of incomplete combustion). Boilers, gas heaters, etc. Just next to it or somewhere next it is fine.

If the Carbon Monoxide detector goes off, get out. The gas will kill you, and you can't smell or see it.

You can also get heat alarms which you put in your kitchen. These detect high heat, so won't go off when you're cooking.

ShingekiNoKaijuu168 karma

Being a firefighter must be an incredibly physically strenuous job. What workouts do you do to keep in shape?

Fickle_Monster302 karma

Great question.

A typical week for me is:

Monday - HIIT (I run up the stairs of my 5 floor tower in the station as fast as I can, then walk down slowly. Repeat 3 times).

Tuesday - Strength endurance, full body. (12 to 8 reps, 3 sets)

Wednesday - Long slow duration cardio (anything, really. a nice bike ride)

Thursday - HIIT

Friday -Strength endurance, full body. (12 to 8 reps, 3 sets)

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Rest

droidguy7271 karma

What's your physique (height/weight) like? Do you track calories / dietary intake? Would you say it's more important to be physically strong or have better cardio endurance?

Fickle_Monster122 karma

It's more important to be physically strong. The job is made up short explosive instances of strength - hitting a door, pushing up a ladder, etc. Of course, you still need good cardio.

I don't track calories. The only thing I track is protein intake. Then again, I eat loads. Looooads. Healthy stuff though.

5 foot 9. 80 kilos.

LHandrel13 karma

What kind of strength exercises/routines do you do? Almost-EMT but I'm gonna pick up some technical rescue training with the FD when I can.

Fickle_Monster16 karma

Just a full body exercise - shoulder press, pull ups, chest press, squats, dead lifts, dips.

southshorerefugee161 karma

My cousin is a firefighter in a small town and many of his calls involve getting morbidly obese people out of their bathtubs. What’s your bathtub extraction rate?

Fickle_Monster191 karma


I did have to help an obese man out of his wheelchair after he broke his handles and poo'd himself though. That wasn't very pleasant.

canuhelpsmes138 karma

How much do you make a month , and do you believe you should be making more?

Fickle_Monster287 karma

Around £29,000 a year gross pay. After deductions, tax, pension, etc, I take home around £1500 - £1600.

The pay rise is a bit of a contentious issue. The issue at the moment is that the job is changing so much, which means there's a mountain of added responsibilities and skills which a fire fighter needs to have to operate efficiently and safely (everything from near paramedic level medical response, to terrorist firearm mobilisation) - I believe we should be paid to reflect this.

It should be at least £39,000 a year. This would in turn bring in a higher level of applicants too.

Scottler173 karma

For anyone interested, that's about $52,000 USD.

Fickle_Monster82 karma

What's the wage in America?

baildodger3 karma

UK-based ambulance technician here (currently at uni doing my para qualification). What sort of medical training are you getting? Are you in one of the areas that's trialling using the fire service as medical responders?

Fickle_Monster9 karma

We're trained up to first responder level. That being DRABCDE, CPR, AED, and general first aid (burns, dressings, etc.)

I'm not in the area trialing cardiac arrest medical responders (first one scene to a cardiac arrest), though I know which area is doing that.

It's a farce, really. I've voiced my discontent about this - first of all, they're cutting our training budget, yet they're giving us more medical responsibilities.

Secondly, a simple call of "i can't breathe" could constitute an imminent cardiac arrest, which would send a fire engine out (if the plans went ahead). Upon arrival, we find out it's just chest pains rather than anything majorly serious as a cardiac arrest. The fire engines can't take the patient to the hospital so we just wait around for an ambulance.

At which time, there's a house fire on the other side of town...

Improper use of resources. Improper use of training. Justification of cutting down the ambulance service by imposing their duties onto the fire service.

It's disgusting.

TehBigD97127 karma

How often do you have people ignore/refuse to move when you have your blue lights on?

Fickle_Monster501 karma

Never. If you don't get out of the way, we're pushing your car out of the way.

And we're bigger than you.

4tierchrome126 karma

I want to bring my local firefighters some homemade cookies for Christmas, but I don't know if they would just throw them away since they don't know me. What do you think? Should I do it?

Fickle_Monster216 karma

They would eat it like a hurricane, greedy bastards.

doctorwhoobgyn116 karma

Have you ever saved a cat from a tree?

Fickle_Monster402 karma

No. If a cat can get up there, it can get down. Proof? You never see skeletons of cats in trees, do you?

I did come across a suicidal seagull once though.

burnt_mummy143 karma

Don't be a tease! You know we all want to hear about a suicidal seagull

Fickle_Monster367 karma

Not much to say. For some reason, seagulls are a protected species (they're the hooligans of the sky - screw 'em), so someone called us for help when they noticed a seagull with a bent wing on the roof of a building.

We pitch up a ladder, and I go up. I'm moving very slowly, cos I know animals can get spooked - my plan was to get up up close, grab it, then stick it in my tunic so I can get it down to safety.

He didn't agree.

He took one look at me as I was inching nearer, and jumped off, plunging 10 metres to his death.

That was my first death actually... didn't affect me much, for some reason.

Hagha109 karma

What do you think of Fahrenheit 451 novel?

Fickle_Monster157 karma

Great book. Read it when I was 10. I love reading.

That's what I like most about the job, actually. Lots of time to read.

dum_dum_asd96 karma

How many women firefighter is there in your station?

Fickle_Monster163 karma


There's a gross under-representation of women in the service. I think the stats are around 1 in 200 fire fighters are women.

Bear in mind that the physical requirements aren't as extensive as people believe it to be (sure, you have to be fit, but not Jessica Ennis fit).

menu-brush88 karma

What percentage of dispatches is for actual fires?

Fickle_Monster181 karma

I'd say about 5%. The majority are AFA (automatic fire alarms) or UFAS (Unwanted Fire Alarm Signals). This is when the fire alarm system installed in a business or building (hospital, school, etc.) go off for some reason. Most of the time it's just someone smoking near an alarm, or a little kid pushing the manual call point.

I've been to more RTCs/ RTAs (Road Traffic Collisions/Road Traffic Accidents) than fires.

Please drive carefully.

Privateer78126 karma

The joys of sitting in the back of a pump at 0300 in -4C filling out a UFAS form. Makes the whole job worthwhile.

Fickle_Monster11 karma

You're a hero. Don't worry. Remember that as you fill in that form.

Flight71487 karma

Perfect; I've been looking for an authority to settle a friendly dispute for years.

Fighting fire with fire: Yes or no?

Fickle_Monster257 karma

Only if one of them is a leaf/water type too.

goodbtc80 karma

Thank you for your service. Have you ever counted the number of people you saved from fire?

Fickle_Monster257 karma

No, but I count the ones I didn't save.

postmen5157 karma

is this something you struggle with or do you have some coping mechanisms?

Fickle_Monster125 karma

I don't struggle with it, but I've seen the occupational therapist at work before, just so my boss could make sure I was okay.

My coping mechanism is to cherish my family and friends, since life is so short and can be cut out through no fault of your own.

wehrmann_tx40 karma

Some people are dead before you would even make it to them. You kind of have to just chalk it up to there's nothing you did or didn't do that would have changed it.

Finding children sticks with you. The ones that don't know what to do in a fire. Finding them in a closet or under a bed because they thought hiding was their safest option.

Fickle_Monster133 karma

The one death which sticks with me most was a dead baby.

Smoke filled flat at 1am. Drunk mother outside insists the flat is empty. 2 minutes later, I find the baby, non-breathing, in a smoke logged bedroom upstairs.

I would have punched the Mother if I wasn't so shocked and desperate in doing CPR to the little bundle of nothing.

xirokx67 karma

Thank you so much for doing this job

How do you overcome the fear when you approach a job?

Fickle_Monster128 karma

I focus on what needs to be done.

En route, we're constantly inundated with information about the incident - persons reported, hazards present, street location, known accident hot spots, key codes, etc.

When we get to the shout, I focus on procedure, checking myself and my partner are safe.

When I'm in the risk area, my training kicks in, and my only objective is to save life or prevent dangerous escalation of the incident. I'm thinking about nothing else.

Literally a robot.

Idkwhatitmeans59 karma

I’m currently 27 years old and an EMT for about half a year. I’ve been told by 2 different fire captains that I need to apply as a firefighter and I will get hired. My problem is I’m afraid of my work history. I’ve worked at some awful private practices and have maybe 1 good reference from 5 different awful jobs, but I’ve never been fired.

Also, I have had roommates who were heavily into drugs and alcohol. I don’t do drugs or drink, but I’ve always had to live in low places to save money. I’m afraid that will also make me look bad.

Will this affect my chances of getting hired? I’m getting worried about my life and where it’s going, considering I’m almost 30 and EMT’s get paid minimum wage here. I am finally able to go to college, so I’m also working on getting my associates in hopes that it will further my chances.

I’d really just appreciate any advice I could get. The fear I have for applying is frustrating me. I’m just afraid of getting rejected due to a bad background check on previous work history or living spaces and then having that follow me everywhere.

Fickle_Monster123 karma

Your new employer cannot discriminate you for living in a bad area.

If a fire captain says apply, then apply. You have nothing to lose, and the only one standing in your way is yourself.

If you get rejected on the basis of bad work history, then just give it a few years to show you have a good track record as an EMT, then apply again.

Good luck!

Duze11048 karma

Is the scene cold for me to comment? Just a few quick questions, sir. Why do you show up with 6 pieces of equipment and block the entire road for a fender bender?

Also, do you bring a favorite pillow from home everyday? Or just keep one with you at the fire house?

Finally, do you guys have an Xbox or a PlayStation?

Sincerely, A Cop (seriously, we love you guys)

Fickle_Monster62 karma

The scene's blazing. I'll answer all questions.

We block the road to make the scene safe for personnel to work int and around it - at road traffic collisions, the majority of accidents and deaths to personnel are done after the incident has been resolved, due to oncoming vehicle. Also, we only bring what equipment we need - the hydraulic cutting gear weighs around 40 kilos each.

We're out nearly every night shift - busy station.

Neither - SM won't allow it.

I thought so. :)

KongMP47 karma

What do you guys do when there isn't a fire, do you just wait in the station cracking jokes?

Fickle_Monster98 karma

  • Checking and testing equipment.
  • Training
  • Lectures
  • Briefings
  • Gym time
  • HFSV (home fire safety visits - going into homes, educating people about how to stay safe, making sure alarms work, etc.)
  • Visiting schools, care homes, etc.
  • OI visits (Operational Intelligence) to businesses, care homes, etc. to familiarize yourself with high risk buildings/organisations.

Julianomaly47 karma

I'm a firefighter/paramedic in Virginia as well, so I appreciate your public service, man.

My question is do you guys wear your radios in your riding pockets on the front of your jackets, or do you put them on a strap and wear them underneath your turnout coat? Or another way entirely

Fickle_Monster44 karma

We hold them in our hands, unless we're going in BA, in which case there's a holder on the waist of the set.

Keep up the good work! Are you trained up to paramedic level? So do you do everything a paramedic can do, such as applying medication, IV, etc.

They're thinking of bringing that role over here.

ninize45 karma

Is it very unsafe to have multiple multi-plugs plugged into each other? And why is that?

Fickle_Monster42 karma

fede142857 is right.

Basically, you can easily overload the initial, or even subsequent multi-plugs.

Moreover, attaching electrical extension upon electrical extension increases the risk of undetected fault.

Also, make sure you don't overload even one multi-plug (we call them strip adapters in the UK - don't use block adapters) buy finding out the fuse on the strip adapter, and what your electricals are using. When you use vacuums or anything which draws a higher amount of energy, unplug the other electricals.

CrushedEye40 karma

How correct is tv dramatisation of firefighting? Specifically talking about chicago fire. They don't seem to actually use much water.

Fickle_Monster64 karma

It's not entirely accurate, but it's fun to watch.

For instance, a typical house fire can easily take up half a tank of water (900 litres).

A car fire can easily take up 1 tank of water (1800 litres).

We love using water. That being said, there clearly isn't enough emphasis on risk vs reward in shows like chicago fire. Though it wouldn't make for good television if the actors were standing around doing ARAs (Analytical Risk Assessments).

iiooiooi27 karma

Two part question:

A. What is your schedule like? Most professional firefighters in my area of the US work one 24 hour shift then get three days off.

B. If you have a similar schedule, what's your second job?

Fickle_Monster29 karma

A - I'm on 4 on, 4 off. That's two 10 hour day shifts, then two 14 hour night shifts, then 4 days off. Repeat.

B - I don't have one. I like my time off to spend time with my family, though I do make a fair bit with investments. Bitcoin, for example, is going to be even bigger than it is right now - I'm invested in that.

4dcatman25 karma

What has been your worst day and what has been your best day?

Fickle_Monster63 karma

The day I pulled a dead baby out of a smoke filled flat and tried to resuscitate her with CPR and AED, but after 5 minutes nothing was happening, and I kept trying and trying. I didn't even realise the paramedics were telling me to let them takeover.

xdig200018 karma

Do you always win the fight?

Fickle_Monster91 karma

Haven't lost yet.


adriano9118 karma

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to become a firefighter?

Fickle_Monster33 karma

  • Learn what it takes to become a fire fighter (check the PQAs).
  • Become a volunteer first aider.
  • Visit your local fire station.
  • Get fit.

Feel free to ask more questions! :)

okurok13 karma

considering many fire injuries come from smoke inhalation, is there a rule of thumb where to know when to get away? say in case of small fire?

Fickle_Monster11 karma

PleasurePit is correct - If I ever go into an area with dense airborne pollutants, I will be wearing a BA set which supplies me with fresh air.

I will always monitor my gauge reading, and get out when the low warning whistle (time of whistle) sounds.

SuparNub13 karma

I passed my firefighter exam about a month ago and have no experience yet, do you have any advice for people like me?

Fickle_Monster16 karma

Do you mean you passed the entire application process? Congrats!

I recommend becoming a volunteer first aider to train up your medical response skills.

Aside from that, relax. You'll learn in time.

Cheese0nABoard13 karma

How do I get hired? I've had my FF1 for 3 years and the only people that get hired have uncles that are captains. Any tips?

Fickle_Monster24 karma

Here are some things which helped me get hired:

  • Look at what your service wants from a fire fighter (here, we call them PQAs - personal qualities and attributes). Then, gain experience in each of the areas so that you match their requirements.

  • Get fit (if you're not already). I strongly recommend HIIT and strength endurance over mass.

  • Become a volunteer first aider. Often, you may be the first personnel to reach a casualty in need of life support. You need to be good at immediate first aid. Also, it'll give you lots of material for your application and interview.

  • schedule a visit with your local station to look around and ask about the job. If you don't learn anything, at least you can say you've done it which shows you're keen.

If there's any questions, fire away!

Re_LE_Vant_UN13 karma

What is Steve Buscemi like?

Fickle_Monster19 karma

Given that he volunteered to help when 9/11 happened, I'd say decent guy.

jivens7712 karma

What do you think about that guy that cemented his head in a microwave, and needed emergency help from firefighters? Could that have gone from embarrassingly funny, to possibly fatal? Have you been called to a situation like that? How would you react if you were?

Fickle_Monster20 karma

I'd think he was a bit of a prat. And he was a bit of prat.

Not fatal, but I might have been rougher taking it off than I needed to be. A house could have been on fire while I was dealing with him, after all.

ThaSmoothieKing9 karma

Have you ever almost died while fighting a fire? Also, is there any situation in a burning house where you’re like “fuck that! It’s not worth dying over. I’m out of here.”

Fickle_Monster16 karma

Life threatening - a fire erupted in the basement of a house. Crews were sent down to firefight, and I was part of the team sent to the first floor (two floors above the fire) to search and rescue. There were 2 people missing. On my way into the 4th compartment, I really felt the heat. Now, my kit is designed to keep heat out (something up to the temperature of 600degrees Celsius), so if k was feeling it, it was hot. Really hot. I had a really bad feeling about the environment (I obviously couldn't see anything cos of the smoke). I told my team leader that we should get out, citing that I wasn't feeling good (I was fit, but something was just really off). Just as we left the compartment, the ground shook and we heard a huuuge crack.

The fire had eaten through the internals of the walls, up beneath the first floor. The ground shaking and cracking was the fire having eaten through the wooden floor. After the incident was over, I was told that right where we were standing was where the huge hole was.

CaedenL7 karma

Currently sat in a retained station. Is the snow causing you much logistic trouble?

Fickle_Monster14 karma

Not much. Road traffic accidents might be on for tonight... drive carefully.

OrcSoldat5 karma

First of all, I just want to say thank you for everything you do. My house caught on fire once and it sucked. I dialed 911 and the fire fighters were there within minutes. Thank you for everything you do.

That being said, my house caught on fire, I had two cats. One died from smoke inhalation (I guess) and the other one did die but was brought back to life. How was the cat brought back to life? What do you do?

Fickle_Monster12 karma

Sorry about what happened!

Your second cat didn't die - it's impossible to restart a heart. And AED just resets an irregularly beating heart.

What probably happened with your second cat was that its body shut down to "protect" itself by slowing down its respiration rate - similar to how when humans go through extreme shock, they can fall into a coma. Some compressions and fresh 02 therapy can coax her back.

I'm glad your cat got better. :)

TheQueenOfSomething5 karma

Is there a manly macho culture among firefighters? I have heard that it is a problem for some female firefighters

Fickle_Monster9 karma

It's not really macho - more just banter, or misplaced misogyny, usually from older fire fighters. Nothing for female fire fighters to be concerned about - as long as you're a decent person, most people don't care if you're got a willy or a vagina.

Brackenhawk3 karma

What other jobs have you had besides being a firefighter? Have you ever thought about doing something else?

Fickle_Monster8 karma

I've been a technical advisor, paralegal, lawyer, customer advisor, landscaper, fire fighter (not in that order).

I've always wanted to be a vet, but I think with the amount of funding, time and resources needed, it'd be a bit much for me at this point.

audible_narrator2 karma

I am an Audible narrator currently narrating a "firefighter romance novel" which is a very popular genre.

Thoughts on the fact that your profession immediately conjures up "sexytimes" to a large following of readers/listeners?

PS - thank you for what you do, your service means much more than a simple thank you can express.

Fickle_Monster6 karma

There's nothing sexy about strapping on our sets close to our bodies as we run straight into fire, danger and smoke, only to emerge a few minutes later with a damsel in our arms. As we look down, we notice a faint breath coming from her beckoning lips. Worried about her respiration, we lay her down and bend lower and lower-


What are your top tips for keeping a home safe from fire?

Do these tips vary from single-family home to multi-family apartment buildings?

Fickle_Monster3 karma

  • Check your smoke alarms work every week or 2 weeks - have at least one per level.

  • Don't use appliances when you're not home or alert - you need to be alert to react to any dangerous situation.

  • Be careful when cooking at high temperatures, and never leave cooking unattended.

  • Don't charge phones or laptops at night.

  • Turn off all electricals which aren't designed to be kept on.

  • Keep your doors shut when you go to bed, so if there is a fire, it'll be trapped in a room for at least 30 minutes (any standard door will do this). The smoke will get through and set off the alarms.

If there is a fire, get out. If you can't get out, get all your family in one room, pack the gaps around the door with a duvet or something similar, open the window and shout FIRE FIRE. Don't shout 'help', because people don't like to get involved with domestic abuse.

Redlink442 karma

Do all firemen support Stipe Miocic?

Fickle_Monster3 karma

Only in their hearts.

_I_lie_a_lot_-15 karma

What's with the "censored to protect myself and my service"?

Is there some kind of hatred against fireman that I don't know about?

Also, your nails look to clean to be fighting fires.

Fickle_Monster16 karma

My organization wouldn't appreciate me representing them in an unofficial capacity.

Also, I'll answer all questions with honesty, which might put the service or myself in a bad/controversial light.

Finally, I practise good hygiene - it's not only more comfortable to do so, but also much healthier. There was an issue with american firefighters who had a tendency to contract cancer from not cleaning their kit after absorbing carcinogenic substances (smoke).

Not only that, but I represent the fire service to members of the public. It's my job to look professional and be respectful. Black tar ridden fingernails aren't professional looking.

Scottler10 karma

In most cases, companies and organizations don't really like it if you go out and represent the agency without authorization. So in that sense, he's protecting both himself and his employer.

Fickle_Monster7 karma

Bang on.