If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:6:29

Firefighter: How I got my job and where I'm going

Video transcript

um Kairi told vine I'm 25 years old and I'm a firefighter I graduated high school in 2009 from Crenshaw High School and I was initially going to Cal Poly Pomona for mechanical engineering I was pursuing that for a while thinking I wanted to do something mechanical and they didn't really necessarily work out because I could tell by the way that my performance was that I wasn't very passionate about it so I decided to dial things back a little bit and go take different classes at a community college and at that time when I was looking up classes I actually had a personal emergency happen not too much not to meet with something someone dear to me that required the response of firefighters and transport to a hospital that's when I realized that what type of job that they had they had something that was dynamic something I was always changing and it just requires you to be able to have a working knowledge and skill set that isn't that doesn't require you to sit at a desk but also requires you to be able to continuously think in many different ways and adapt as as the times come and that's when I knew that that was something that I wanted to do that was along the lines of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life so the steps needed to become a firefighter would be to first have your high school diploma Nouri or an equivalent to have your EMT certification and be at least 18 years old once you meet those requirements then you can apply to many different departments larger departments mostly if you would like to open up that that Y if you would like a wider array of departments to be able to apply to for example to smaller departments they need something like fire academy and some smaller departments would like for you to be a paramedic and as well so our role in Community College took my emergency medical technician class and it teaches you the basics for like basic life-saving skills basically you can it certifies you to do basic things like take blood pressures and response or seize and gets you ready mentally especially to be able to respond to these incidents and know the tools that you have on board of the ambulance so that you can use you can utilize them effectively to actually respond to these emergencies after I finished my emergency medical technician class and when I found a job that it does emergency transports with another fire department within the city of Los Angeles I continued to work there for two years and at that point I gained the experience responded to many different emergencies whether it be a gunshot wound victim a stabbing victim or just someone who needs to be transported from a hospital to another hospital those are caught into inter-facility transports versus an emergency medical transport that gave me loads of experience doing the inter-facility transport and emergency transport the emergency transports gave me the I would say poise and knowledge to be able to use the tools and knowledge that I have that I gained from my emergency medical technician class to respond to different emergencies and an inter-facility transport gave me loads of experience with just dealing with people just being able to make sure that I'm a people person and that really lets you know if you're cut out for this job the fire academy was pretty rigorous we had every day that we went in we work 10-hour days for four days sometimes five where we come in for an extra day for a few hours to get more practice on whatever tools that we needed to get more practice on and during those days we will start each day the physical fitness so we would go into the the gym that we had and we will do whatever training regiment the cadre had for us we would do that for an hour hour and a half two hours tops and then we would get that part of the day done we'd set up for the rest next for the rest of the day as well and get into whatever training that we may have had for example a firefighter survival which is a making sure that we keep our cool and that we're able to get ourselves out of entanglements or collapse or to know what to do when we can't get ourselves out to put out that Mayday call every fire department has a test in an interview that you must pass in order to become an entry-level firefighter with that department so different fire departments have different tests and they're geared towards different things as well some tests may have basic math and English on it and some may go a little more in depth to other things that the department may want to gear they're hiring towards or together the type of people that they wanted higher towards so once you graduate the Academy then you start your probationary year and at that point you start to learn the different tools and the different tools and tactics that you need for fire suppression efforts you also have to continue to train on the things that you learned in Academy for example throwing ladders and what we call phase testing which is actually taking some of the things you've learned while during the Academy and actually doing them the growth opportunities are vast you could go into pretty much anything if someone wanted to be an emergency dispatcher and see what that was like they can go into the dispatch dispatch arena and become a dispatcher for a while if you want it to be a fire inspector you could be an inspector if you want to be a paramedic you can be a paramedic if one day you want to become a captain then of course that takes a larger skill set then maybe the rest of the rest of the professions but then you will have to continue to make sure that you're a studious as possible to pass that katniss test and also pass that calculus interview to become a captain and then there are two ranks of captain as well if you wanted to go even higher than that to become a chief then you can do that as well later on in your career so the life of a firefighter is pretty much a long learning process as long as your career you will be learning something new almost every day my advice to people just starting out trying to become firefighters is to go as hard as you possibly can get as much under your belt as you possibly can myself personally I did everything I could to make myself stand out and I also did everything I could to make sure that that interview went well for example when I was a CPR instructor I did that so that I can hone or perfect my my speaking skills for the interview and not believe that helped me tremendously you have to recognize the role we can assist and you have to fix it or capitalize off of it
Careers brought to you with support from Better Money Habits® Powered by Bank of America® Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. Investment Products: Are Not FDIC Insured, Are Not Bank Guaranteed, May Lose Value