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Hi Everyone,

I took my fire science classes about 6 years ago. I did not go into the academy at that time because I got married, had kids, etc.

I have come to realize that I REALLY HATE my current office job and want to get back into doing what I love, the Fire Service.

I am currently a volunteer with a large county dept as a support person (Communications, Sit Sat, Re-Stat, Logistics, etc) I am also in the process of getting my EMT-1.

Question is: I know that it is very hard to get hired as a front line FF, but is it as equally hard to get a support position within the fire service? What I mean by support is planning, logistics, prevention, etc. Or, are those types of positions reserved for FFs who get promoted off the front lines?

Basically, I am willing to do anything in the fire service, I just want to get out of my office job.

Oh yeah, I am in Southern California. THANKS -Peter

 Reply:

You can do anything you want with the right training.  I am in the fire service as an emergency manager for a Southern California Fire Department, I am a Division Manager working for the Fire Chief.  I wear a department issued gold fire badge, and I am proud to be considered a part of the Department's Executive Management team, along with the Battalion Chief's and other support staff.

September 11th catapulted my position into new found importance, and I really (truly) enjoy my job down the hall from my brother and sisters in the department.  I am treated as an equal, and enjoy the mutual respect we have for one another's jobs.  I am a civilian, not safety.  We participate in training together, and I get to teach to my peers and colleagues, and they teach me.  We all share the role of researching subjects and providing mutual training.

There are many civilian jobs out there, from emergency services, fire inspectors, planners, and specialists.  You get the training and most department's will snap you up.  The benefits are good (generally 2-2.5% at 60), not safety (PERS 3% at 50), but you can earn anywhere from $39,000 to $110,000 as a civilian employee in the fire service.

You just need to decide to get all the field stuff out of your system, except if you have a haz-mat or environmental safety background, cause you will run few, if any, field or emergency calls - that's what the FF's do!  I know my place, but I still do occasionally get to sit at an Incident Command Post as an aide to the BC or as a PIO.  I don't know where the EMT fits in admin position, since most of the FF and medics need that certification.  I am trained at the AED and Basic CPR level for first responders, don't need an EMT cert.

The firefighters have their jobs, and we have ours, we all work together, and it fits.  Its fun, and I get paid to do a job I love, what else matters.  I'll retire here.

Good Luck with whatever your decision is.

David

Absolutely nothing counts 'til you have the badge. Nothing!

"Captain Bob"

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Fire "Captain Bob" Smith has coached countless entry level and promotional candidates to get their badge. He is a retired 28-year Hayward, Ca. Captain, speaker/author of the audio/video program "Conquer the Job Interview," the books "Eat Stress For Breakfast" ISBN 09657620-3-3, "Fire Up Your Communication Skills" ISBN 09657620-6-8 and a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association. You can book him as a speaker or get a copy of his books and tapes by calling toll free at 888-238-3959.

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