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Old 01-12-2014, 03:16 PM   #21
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I don't know many firemen, but several of those I have met had side jobs. The shift work (24 on / 48 off for example) provided time to start a business or get an extra payroll or 1099 job with flexible hours. One firefighter I knew spent a lot of time on home improvements at his own home, which eventually led to becoming a pretty successful remodeling contractor.

Would your IT skills translate into any entrepreneurial opportunities that could be pursued after becoming established in as a firefighter?
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:39 PM   #22
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I AMA retired FF. I retired at 46 yo with 25 years on the job. I am from the Northeast, Avery good location as far as public safety employment; however that situation is changing. When I retired I had no premium healthcare and a yearly COLA. I have temporary lost my COLA (state of RI), which I believe will be returned. Unfortunately the Public is no longer friendly with Public Safety. I retired with a modest pension, which is fine for my wife and I, no children. I was always a saver and paid off my home before retiring. The fire Service does have competitive salaries, plus there is always the opportunity to work a part time job during your days off. In the NE, many fire dept work 42 work weeks. We worked 24 hrs on 24 hrs off 24 hrs on and 5 days off. I loved my job; but it does get demanding as you age.
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:45 PM   #23
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Welcome, arainfire. Please feel free to stop by here and introduce yourself?
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:37 PM   #24
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Thats true Ziggy, but anyone getting into public service just for the pension is probably not the person we want doing it anyway.

Who doesnt do it for pension and perks?
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:52 PM   #25
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I AMA retired FF. I retired at 46 yo with 25 years on the job. I am from the Northeast, Avery good location as far as public safety employment; however that situation is changing. When I retired I had no premium healthcare and a yearly COLA. I have temporary lost my COLA (state of RI), which I believe will be returned. Unfortunately the Public is no longer friendly with Public Safety. I retired with a modest pension, which is fine for my wife and I, no children. I was always a saver and paid off my home before retiring. The fire Service does have competitive salaries, plus there is always the opportunity to work a part time job during your days off. In the NE, many fire dept work 42 work weeks. We worked 24 hrs on 24 hrs off 24 hrs on and 5 days off. I loved my job; but it does get demanding as you age.

Thank you for the modest and realistic perspective. And welcome to the ER forums!
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:47 PM   #26
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Unfortunately the Public is no longer friendly with Public Safety.
With all due respect for your public service, I don't think this is a rock solid conclusion. As I see it, in the post-9/11 world there has been an increased appreciation of police, firefighters, EMTs and other first responders that help keep us safe.... but after the 2008-09 financial near-meltdown, the general ability of the average taxpayer to keep funding the usual benefits of public sector employees has simply been failing. And usually, police, fire and the military have been (to the extent possible) spared or at least not hit as hard by budget cuts requiring a reworking of the deal they signed up for.

I just don't see it as a lack or respect or appreciation for what you did. And to the extent we can avoid it, I don't want anyone who signed up for a certain deal to have it yanked away. But I don't think it's fair to suggest people don't appreciate what you do. This is a tough nut to crack financially, and it has a lot of moving parts.

P.S. Welcome to the ER forum!
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:55 PM   #27
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I just don't see it as a lack or respect or appreciation for what you did. And to the extent we can avoid it, I don't want anyone who signed up for a certain deal to have it yanked away. But I don't think it's fair to suggest people don't appreciate what you do. This is a tough nut to crack financially, and it has a lot of moving parts.
I think he may have overstated it a we are already starting to see signs of the Us vs Them campaign. Public sector workers are beginning to be painted as The Haves whom we cannot afford. It will ratchet higher and higher in coming months and yrs.

These things are cyclical anyway. The people used to call me Baby burner, then welfare queen, then heee-ro and thanked me for my service. Next I will be a welfare queen again and one of the opulently well-off "Haves" who got a sweetheart deal working people can't get.

It' a good thing I have other money
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Old 01-14-2014, 05:59 PM   #28
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I think he may have overstated it a we are already starting to see signs of the Us vs Them campaign. Public sector workers are beginning to be painted as The Haves whom we cannot afford. It will ratchet higher and higher in coming months and yrs.
Only if we let it, and only if we think "us versus them" is the only outcome. I'm hoping not to see this go into the politics forum or meet The Pig, but yeah -- I think a lot of the media profit from making many issues an "us versus them" thing. Conflict brings ratings which brings ad money. Sadly, many people like their "political analysis" Jerry Springer style.

I don't think it has to be a zero-sum game.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 01-15-2014, 09:39 PM   #29
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As a 24 year police officer who will be retiring in almost exactly one year, I would like to know what this statement means. What is it about the current political climate that would make a person not want to enter public safety? This is one of the dumbest statements Ive heard in a long time. Who exactly is going to put out the fire when your house is burning? Who is going to stop your wife from getting raped? Who is going to save your kid when hes playing in a field and gets impaled by a piece of rebar? Personally, I'm certainly glad there are people selfless enough to enter public service even in whatever horrible political climate we are in.
I wore the badge for 29.5 years and retired in 2012. It was rewarding, and I am glad I did it. The people who do it are intelligent leaders. Knowing what I know today about the political forces who are effecting wages, benefits, disabilites, retirements, ect, I can not reccomend anyone enter the profession. They are wasting their talent, and being a cop or fireman isn't the only rewarding occupations in the world.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:42 PM   #30
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I wore the badge for 29.5 years and retired in 2012. It was rewarding, and I am glad I did it. The people who do it are intelligent leaders. Knowing what I know today about the political forces who are effecting wages, benefits, disabilites, retirements, ect, I can not reccomend anyone enter the profession. They are wasting their talent, and being a cop or fireman isn't the only rewarding occupations in the world.

I can appreciate this viewpoint as well heh.
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:47 AM   #31
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If you can get a job with the SFFD or SFPD, you're be RICH RICH RICH I TELLS YA> GOLD HEEEEYAW. I know people in the Bay Area with high paying IT jobs(over $150k) and yet, they still try to get a job with MUNI, SFFD, or SFPD...because that's the real jackpot. Almost impossible to get fired and you receive an incredible retirement plan.

And don't forge the FAT PENSION when you retire if you are lucky enough to be a SFPD or SFFD. Too bad I was stupid when I was young and joined MEGA CORP!

Check out the Crazy amount you can make. $300k as a public servant.

Databases - SFGate


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Old 01-16-2014, 08:09 AM   #32
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Conflict brings ratings which brings ad money. Sadly, many people like their "political analysis" Jerry Springer style.

I don't think it has to be a zero-sum game.
Of course it doesn't have to be this way or any other way. But that is what certain Idea Centers are selling it as. Wisconsin. Ryan et al. It could be another way but some are choosing this way because it is not only The Media that loves the Us vs Them. Factions know it is an efficacious way to sell a position. The People respond to it. That's why they do it. But it doesn't have to be that way I agree. Hopefully it will fizzle
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:50 AM   #33
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After retiring to my mountain home I joined the local volunteer fire dept. We are so remote and with a 45 minute drive to the station, that for the most part we are wildland ff's. The good points are sleeping under the stars in remote wildernesses, being a close team member with your fellow neighbors, and staying physically active for your own safety. But the pay sucks, and the paybacks are priceless. We also do double duty as mountain search and rescue, which I find even more rewarding. Winter in southern Arizona, has kept us on belay with the influx of winter visitors.

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Old 01-16-2014, 10:21 AM   #34
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If you can get a job with the SFFD or SFPD, you're be RICH RICH RICH I TELLS YA> GOLD HEEEEYAW. I know people in the Bay Area with high paying IT jobs(over $150k) and yet, they still try to get a job with MUNI, SFFD, or SFPD...because that's the real jackpot. Almost impossible to get fired and you receive an incredible retirement plan.

And don't forge the FAT PENSION when you retire if you are lucky enough to be a SFPD or SFFD. Too bad I was stupid when I was young and joined MEGA CORP!

Check out the Crazy amount you can make. $300k as a public servant.

Databases - SFGate

Or you could go to NW Florida or Alabama where you would make more managing a good MCDonolds location than eing a cop.
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Old 01-16-2014, 10:28 AM   #35
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Or you could go to NW Florida or Alabama where you would make more managing a good MCDonolds location than eing a cop.
I'd advise against 'eing' cops, no matter where you live...
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Old 01-16-2014, 09:56 PM   #36
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I had two friends that were firefighters and retired after 30 years. They both loved their jobs and retired with unbelievable pensions. I don't think we will see those types of pensions in the future. They both started in their early 20s. My brother-in-law, on the other hand, was a fireman/EMT for seven years. He ultimately quit and ended up going to med school and is now a doctor. One of the things that bothered him was the fact that he saw a lot of young drug overdose victims as well as car crash victims. The blood and guts didn't bother him, it was the depressing, senseless loss of such young people.

On a side note, while I wasn't a fireman/policeman, I did a lot of shift work. As you get older, it is not much fun. I have to believe studies that say that rotating shift work shortens one life. The phrase feeling like death warmed over was often used after coming off of night shift.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:56 PM   #37
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A friend's husband became a firefighter about five years ago. The process was incredibly competitive. He was selected out of a pool of over 200 applicants, was already and EMT and volunteer firefighter, and engaged in heavy physical training for two years to get ready. He also assembled a committee of people to run him through a battery of mock-interviews. It took him a couple years of applying and re-applying to get hired.
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Old 01-17-2014, 12:12 AM   #38
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So for some reason I either feel I have this calling to be a firemen, or get into that "brotherhood" of people.

I am currently an engineer and have worked in IT for seven years. I have had 31 jobs in my life, but I feel like you don't mess around with firemen, for me I would want to commit to this in some long-term way.

The idea of switching careers both excites and scares the hell out of me. Financially I don't know if I could afford to glide the fireman's training and entry-level firemen jobs. I am curious if anyone has ER'd who is a firemen and if so I would love to hear some more information.

I have always felt my IT engineering job is simply the means to an end, vs actually being truly fulfilling by really giving back the value I feel I have as a person. I am ex-military, an ex-business owner (residential window install and resto), I have integrity and I am reliable and dependable and feel I am an excellent problem solver and team member. I am also in great physical shape.

I realize this industry is completely different than I.T. and I would want to definitely be on a truck. I realize there is a ton of training that goes with this.

I am 32 and the guy I spoke to at the station today was 36. He seems to be enjoying himself and he walked me through a lot of the on-board equipment of there main Engine 14 and surprisingly none of it intimidated me but only intrigued me more. Next time I swing by he is going to walk me through Ladder 14 equipment. In the meantime I submit an application, and wait for classroom to be available (at least for Maui County).

My questions are kind of more in terms of financial benefits and feasibility in regards to ER and long-term sustainability within the industry vs say my IT career. I make close to six figures currently and understand by making such a lateral career move, this could very well be a different career earning potential than I might realize in that it could be a lot lower, but then again the opportunities and experiences are hard to value with a dollar.

Since this is an ER forum it would be great if I have any people in the industry whom could provide insight. Is it possible to ER being on a truck? Do I need to do it in a metropolitan area, or will being a county firefighter suffice? Is the desk job the only thing that will get me to ER or does say a captain or someone else who might arrive on scene make a high enough wage to ER.

What kind of long-term financial benefits like pension and retirement savings have you realized or are participating in?

What other perks, perhaps not money related have you realized, for instance the brotherhood.
I understand it is all relative but I gave you some good data to run with. Regards!
I retired from law enf. Everyone I know that retired from a fire department was more than satisfied with their career. Unlike a lot of other career fields, I've noticed that firemen constitute a kind of a brotherhood and there is a sense of family and community within each station house & department - even afterwards into retirement. There's a lot of support within the community.

If you are the type who is pretty much fearless when it comes to doing something that has to be done, and can handle the mental & emotional stress, & if it's something you want to do then I say go for it - especially while you are still young enough for a career change.

There's a lot of outside opportunities in fire-safety, building inspections, environmental, etc if you want to continue your training/education in those fields. (my brother who is a Nuclear Engineer tells me the market for Fire Suppression System Engineers is huge)

(Make sure you get on with a department with solid/sane pension system.)
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