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How far is too far?

Those who are married with children, how far is too far away for a chance to wear the badge? Is there any advice for a "new to fire applying medic"?

I am in your shoes too. My wife and I always talk over the places that I am applying to and the pros/cons of each dept. I currently work about 40 min. from home and think that is the limit my wife feels comfortable with. Obviously if you have a emergency and you need to get home you will have to account for the distance that you have to cover and if traffic will be a factor.

It has also been my experience that depts. are getting weary of hiring people that live a great distance away. I lost out on a recent job because of this. I was asked if I would move to the area if I had been given the position. I explained to him at the time I would not be able too. He had advised me that they were having problems with recalls when they needed people and it was a issue that was hurting the dept. The distance was 100 miles.

Bottom line, consider your family first. Will it be possible to relocate? Does your family have special needs that may need you at a moments notice? My wife wants me within an hour if possible, so I am limited but my wife is supportive. Good luck in your search.
This message was edited by Frenchie on 9-6-05 @ 12:23 PM

My husband is going through this right now. We have been married for 4.5 years with an almost 1 year old. He has been applying for jobs since just before we got married and still has not succeeded in landing a full-time job.

For us, we will go wherever he gets a job. We don't own our home and our child is young. We would love to stay where we are (Central CA), but recognize that we need to go where he gets a job. Not to mention that for us, we would have a better chance at doing things like buying a home in another state because housing costs are so high here.

The important thing is to be in open discussion with your spouse or sig. other about these things. Their feelings need to be taken into account. We try to focus my husband's search to things that are local or in easily accessible cities out of state.


Family first. Anyone who tells you otherwise has a screw loose. A supportive wife is a HUGE plus. If you have one, they're a keeper.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

Take Any Test You Can!

I?ve talked to candidates who had the opportunity to take some killer entry-level tests. They didn?t take these tests. When I asked why? They said I don?t want to work there. That would require me to move and my wife won?t go, I?m waiting for the only department I want to work for now, or I only test in this region. Don?t tell me how bad you want this job and then give me one of these excuses.

If nothing more, understand the more tests you take, the better you will be at taking tests. Then, when the one you really want comes along, you?re dialed up ready to nail that badge.

Yes, family should come first. If mama ain?t happy, nobody is going to be happy.

I know several candidates who have gone out of their state to take tests in preparation for the ?city they really want to work for?. Guess what? They get offered jobs. How difficult would it be for you to turn a badge down? They took their wives to look at the areas to see if it would work out. The found the cost of living lower and an opportunity to buy more of a home than they expected. Guess where they live and work now? Some have been sent to medic school by their departments, which gave them a higher pay grade.

Some have tested back home and found it a lot easier to get a job once you have one. Other?s said they will never come back.

"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter,
Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards, and
It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat!

This message was edited by captbob on 2-4-06 @ 9:12 AM

Do not waste your time testing for a department you do not want to work for. People become frenzied when they hear about an exam.

If you are not passionate about wanting to work for a certain department you are wasting your (and their) time.

Concentrate your efforts on where YOU want to be. Save your money (it's costly to test) and time off from work for the ones that really excite you. You will ultimately be much happier.

Good luck,

Paul Lepore
Battalion Chief
This message was edited by Paul on 2-8-06 @ 7:34 PM

I think the obvious answer to your question is that it all depends on the "couple" or the family itself. In my case, my wife is my biggest supporter. Before I even began the pursuit of a career in the fire service, I sat down with Liz, over many many days and nights and talked about what the fire service career was and what it would mean to me, her, and the kids we had and those yet to come.

WE made the choice to pursue the career. She has been there through everything. When I was in the academy she could probably have gotten above 80% on most of our exams just hering me talk about it. She could probably still score higher then most of us on oral exam just by preping me.

As far as "how far is too far". That depends on where the TWO of you would like to move. As Chief LePore says, don't test there if you don't want to work there. I can't imagine moving my family hundreds or more miles away because I just had to take that test, only to find out that I didnt like the area, or the department. If she is willing, and I mean truly willing to relocate anywhere....well get to testing. If she has a 100 mile radius.....get busy on concentrating closer to home.

Family first, fire second!!!!!!

Yes family is always first. But consider this in the process:

Life Can be Plan B
Jon and his 9-fire technology academy buddies set out to target six departments in the northwest they wanted to work for. Their plan A would cultivate these departments and be in a position when they tested. After almost two years no one got hired or was high enough to be considered. Then Jon read a section of Firecareers that encouraged candidates to test wherever they could get to.

This made since to Jon especially when he figured out that he was only able to take around two tests a year. Like hands on academy and education skills if you don?t use your oral board skills you will get rusty faster than trying to throw a 35? wood ladder or laying a line when you haven?t don?t it for awhile.

This is not taking into consideration that departments don?t always test every two years, switch to medics only or hire only laterals.

So, non medic Jon tried to convince his 9 buddies to expand their horizons and establish plan B to test any and every where they could to keep their oral board skills at the cutting edge. None of his buddies were interested because they believed that because of their academy training and education and how they were laying the ground work it would only be a matter of time before one of the six departments on plan A would pay off.

In a short time non-medic Jon found out the more tests he took the better he got at taking tests. His oral board scores started climbing and he was getting called back for chief interviews. Then BINGO! Jon gets a job offer from THE PREMIUM fire department in the southwest (yea, that one Phoenix). As he was packing to leave he offered the formula of testing everywhere they could that helped him get hired to his buddies. He was surprised they weren?t interested. Didn?t need it. They were still banking on plan A.

While he was in Phoenix his true love move to finish here internship that completed her college program and graduated. They were married soon after.

It?s now 3 years later and Jon?s dream department, THE PREMIUM department in the state of Washington (yep, that?s the one Seattle), announces their test. Guess what? Jon gets a job offer and gets to go home with his new bride, also from Washington.

Again he offers the same offer to his buddies to test everywhere. He is shocked again when they said they don?t need it.

So, how many of his 9 buddies were hired during this period of time? None, zip, nada.

The question should be do you really want to be a firefighter? If so you and your family need to figure out a plan to really make it happen.

Sometimes life can be plan B.

"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter,
Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards, and
It's Your Turn in the Hot Seat!