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Changing directions... maybe


madcat
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I don’t think I have discussed this on the forum yet, but I am a fire science major. How ever I am getting very discouraged. It is a very competitive field. I worked for one summer as a wild land fire fighter, but I have no experience as a structural fire fighter. I have traveled across the country trying to get hired. (most departments only test every two years). I have tested in Mass, Colorado, Virginia, California, Washington, and of course Oregon. So far nothing has worked out. Just recently I tested on the Washington peninsula for an internship. I failed the physical… we had 5 mins to complete it and I took 8. However they let me continue on to the interview, and even told me “there was a good chance I would get it”, so far I have not heard from them. The following weekend I took another physical test for a different department, again I failed. When I was picking up a ladder I let the end touch the ground which means I was disqualified. Its very hard for me because I have been working at this for a very long time. I became an EMT and have been taking a few classes a term for four years… I am losing momentum. I wonder if I am not built for this line of work…

 

Tonight I am going to Ashmead College to meet with one of their representatives about their fitness trainer program. I am not going to sign up until I hear about that internship. This is hard! I don’t want to waste my life working for something that isn’t going to happen, but at the same time I don’t want to regret not following me dream.

 

Even if I go to school to be a trainer I could still test with fire departments… gosh darn life, there are too many options, and I don’t know what the right thing to do is.

 

Anyone here have experience as a trainer… has it worked for you?

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if you want help passing your firefighter exam, aka getting in better shape, I would love to help train ya. no sense in giving up on a dream. if youre mentally strong, you can get your physicality to match. sometimes it just takes that outside push in the right direction.

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I think it would have been a lot easier if I could have practiced first. The ladder was attached to a wall, about eye level for me (I’m 5’10” by the way). And was held on by hooks, so it had to lifted not just pulled off. I ran up to it and tried to lift it off both hooks at the same time, but it was too heavy. So I picked up one end and put my shoulder where I thought the balance point would be. when I lifted the other end the end of the ladder behind me dipped down (of course) but more then I should have let it… once it started going I couldn’t stop it. I suck!

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If you can get at least some of the equipment that you're tested on. Every event I've seen people practice for the event before they compete, think of this like a contest, what "events" do you have, how's the best way to train for them, what equipment do you you need (what do you suck at), give yourself some time to get used to the equipment & you'll kick arse at the tests. Think about what you need to do (& what your expected to wear to do it), train specifically for the program & in a few weeks you'll be up the level you need to get in.

Treat it like anyone treats any other sporting challenge, break down every big task into small bite-sized goals (like you took 8 minutes to do a 5 minute course, ok you want to get down 3 minutes, over 3 months that means 1 minute a month, over each week that 25 seconds improvement (if you can't make that, just aim at smaller increases, break it down until you can achieve your goals).

With the ladder, practice balancing a ladder on your shoulder, you could also practice controlling an off-centre ladder of similar weight/length, just incase nerves get to you & you make the same mistake again.

Thses are a few ideas, you really aren't that far away from your goals, I wouldn't give up. I'd just work out a rational program for achieving my goals & work from there.

Good luck with your goals & hopefully if I'm ever in need of rescue they'll be people like you out there willing to put their arse on the line to save me

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Thanks Pete… good idea. One problem is each department can design their own test, some departments don’t even have a physical test. Currently in the US some people are trying to make a standardized test called CPAT, some cities are already using it. Here is some info on it http://www.chabotfire.com/PAT.htm . I took this test once but failed because I let the rope slip in event #4, I really lacked to grip strength. But I guess I got farther then a lot of other people…. Most failed on the stair climb. I admit it is a killer, that was by far the longest 3 min of my life!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Mini up data:

I have been going crazy since I have not heard one way or another, so I emailed the chief. I didn’t just come out and say “so did I get it?” I just asked him if the position was still open. He wrote me back today saying “the position is still open, and they will contact me soon to finalize some details.” He also said I am the first out of the area intern they have dealt with so there were some new issues for them to consider. This is sounding kind of promising. I still don’t know how I am going to pull this off if it is offered to me. It is an unpaid internship and it is a two and a half hour drive from my house. I guess I might move to Astoria to be closer, but I don’t know how I can afford it

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