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5 Character Traits To Avoid When Becoming A Firefighter

I’ve told you how to become a firefighter.

I’ve explained to you what the great traits of a firefighter are.

But have you stopped to wonder what the traits are that you should avoid?

Becoming a firefighter comes with a lot of responsibility.

It also can come with a lot of flair and hero-worship, which can both be detrimental to your firefighting dreams.

Whether you’re a volunteer firefighter or looking to turn it into a full-fledged career, here are the character traits that you should be aware of and avoid.

Image from Art Studio Steven

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5 Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays

Happy holidays, everyone!

As I type this, I’m sitting on three days straight of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more.

With the holidays comes cooler weather.

In fact, it’s been so cool in California that my own family has been using their fireplace for the past week.

It took us awhile to get here—but get here we did!

However, fireplaces aren’t all fun and games.

With our homes becoming packed to the brim with family, friends, and, let’s be honest, stuff, it’s important to ensure that every precaution is being taken with your fireplace.

Take a look at these five fire safety tips for the holidays to see how you can help make your home a safer place.

Image from Mt. LFD

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5 Surprising Traits of A Good Firefighter

Firefighters are known for a few things: their integrity, charitable nature, and their willingness to die for strangers. Their bravery is just one trait among many that sets them apart from the average person, while making them particularly good at their job. Of course, these traits are no secret to the average person. People have a pretty good idea of the amount of courage it takes to run firefighter-1560003into a flaming building, mostly because very few people have any kind of courage that even closely resembles that of a fireman or firewoman. We’ve all seen that big red car speeding own the street, sirens blaring, as they race off to some unknown tragedy to rescue someone once more, and we’ve all realized that we could never do the job they’re doing.

Between rushing into burning buildings, suffocating under the weight of heavy equipment, and being choked by smoke, it’s no surprise that a firefighter job is not for everyone. But what other traits are required of a firefighter? Continue Reading

Are You Ready For A Firefighter Job?

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending one of my great aunt’s 90th birthday celebration. A tough old woman, she’s raised two kids of her own, practically raised my dad, and a handful of grandkids to boot. In fact, on this day, I was rather nervous walking into the party, knowing full well that there would be upwards of twenty people I hadn’t seen in early ten years. Among these people was my second cousin Sean. Only two months apart, we were practically glued to the hip growing up, before he and his family took off for the northern party of the state, leaving me behind.

Catching up is something I’ve never been very good at. I know what questions to ask, but somehow I get lost in all of the details, never knowing when to just shut up and let someone talk. This was not the problem between Sean and me, however. When asked DSC03377-B-2what he was up to these days he filled me in on the who, what, when, where, and how of his life, letting me know that he was actually in the midst of trying to get into the fire academy. My jaw dropped. How hadn’t I known? Better yet, why was I so surprised? At twenty-six, Sean is in great health (he was on the road to play pro-baseball before an injury a few years back), strong, and always ready to help others in need. I stood there, listening to the rigorous testing requirements, the physical toll, and a handful of other things before he said the strangest thing of all: I wonder if I’m ready for this job.

I’ve known a lot of firefighters in my life. I’ve mentioned several of them throughout these posts, in fact, but for each firefighter I’ve known, I have yet to meet one who truly grasped the concept of what it was they were about to do. A firefighter job is nothing to be mocked, nor is it just a dream that you think of as a kid. It’s quite stressful on the body, mind, and spirit, and incredibly deadly when not handled correctly. So how then, do you know if you’re ready for the job? Continue Reading

What To Do Before You Apply for A Firefighter Job

Yesterday my family celebrated the birthday of one of our closest friends of the family. He turned 23, spent the day outdoors, and was nowhere near the celebration that took place. Why? Because he was in Arizona fighting a fire.

From a young age, our friend knew exactly what he wanted to do. He took the necessary classes and finally, only two years ago, began majoring in the necessary forestry classes at Northern Arizona University. Ranked a top 10 forestry program in the U.S., he will leave the program with an in-depth and thorough understanding of how a forest works, as well as the necessary measures that need to be taken to keep it thriving. And like I said above, in his spare time, when he’s not studying forestry, he’s already on the field, taking care of forest fires as they come in.

Is this what all fire fighters go through?Firefighter Turnouts-Gear Rack

If you were asking yourself whether or not this is what every firefighter must go through, prior to getting their firefighting job, then you wouldn’t be alone. When I first heard the strenuous schooling he was undergoing, I became confused. I didn’t realize so much went into firefighting. I was under the impression that it required brave men and women, who were willing to risk their lives in the flames. While I’ve since come to learn that firefighting doesn’t actually require this amount of schooling, I have definitely learned that there are still a great list of things they must go through, prior to slipping into that great red truck. Continue Reading

Safeguarding Your Home Against Fires

The other night, while my husband and I were closing up shop and getting ready for bed, I heard a story come over the news: “Talking Fire Alarms Up Next”. Considering the number of practice alarms I’ve slept through in the early mornings, I instantly found my interest peaked. With toothbrush still in my mouth, I sat down on the couch, waiting for the nightly news to run its segment. What I found was pretty alarming.

The news crew visited homes with young children, averaged two to ten years old, whose parents had taken every preventive measure they could think of to safe guard their house from fires. I watched as, for lack of a better name, Mr. and Mrs. Smith were touted from room to room, pointing out the various alarms they had in each room and hallway, the easily accessible fire extinguisher, and the covered electrical sockets in the walls. They were proud in the steps that they’d taken to protect their home from a fiery inferno, even going so far as to explain to the news moderators that they’d gone over plans with their children in the event of a fire. For their part, the news host possibly had no idea if they had done a good job or not, but they nodded along, agreeing that their house, for better or worse, looked pretty secure in the event of a fire.

Cue the fire expert.

A former fireman, the fire expert went from room to room, pointing out blankets that were hovering too close to electrical outlets, or lamps that were notorious for the way that they caught fire. But what was most frightening, perhaps, was what happened after the news crew placed cameras in the home, explaining to the parents that they would be setting the alarms off once their children had gone to bed. One by one myself (and other viewers in the same situation) watched as all of the alarms went off one by one, while every single child remained asleep in their beds.

The alarm was sounding, the noise blaring, and still they slumbered on.

When asked if they heard the alarm sounding, the next day, the kids were confused. Alarm? What alarm? The next night the news team conducted the same experiment, only this time they took the fire expert’s advice and switched out each fire alarm for a recorded voice alarm, that the parents had spent time recording their voice to earlier calling their child’s name. The effect? It was night and day. Though the kids remained sleepy and struggled to wake up, they were able to recognize their parents’ voices and made their way down stairs and out of the house.

It’s a pretty frightening fact, particularly when most of us, adults and children alike, rely on fire alarms to save us in the event of a fire. Aside from the obvious—to consider investing in a recorded fire alarm—I spoke to my old neighbor to ask for his other fire safety tips, so here from a firefighter doing his job, are the best ways to protect your family. Continue Reading

Fire Proofing Memories

Last May my family nearly missed my graduate school graduation because of the Coco fires that erupted all over southern California, charring nearly 2,000 acres of land and taking with it 35 homes. Before that, however, as a freshman in college I was let out of school for a week due to poor air quality from the October fires that struck San Diego in 2007. Going back even further, four years before that, and in 2003, during my freshman year of high school, our school was again shut down for a week due to poor air quality, and because the fires were only miles away from potentially leveling our school. For awhile I joked at the pattern, thinking to myself I better not start or leave school again any time soon in case another fire gears up for a fight. Of course, I am not to blame, and neither is my education, but in all of these fires that I’ve experienced over the last ten or so years, I have learned one very important thing. Always be prepared.

 

Particularly with the 2007 fires, I remember a large amount of people not being nearly as prepared as they should have been. Working as a server at the time, I spent the better part of one of my day shifts, bagging chips and salsa, making to-go orders, and sending them with people who had evacuated to Qualcomm Stadium. We even had men and women, on the verge of heading out to fulfill their duty in their firefighter jobs. Many hadn’t thought to bring food with them, and with the evacuation site catering to hundreds of people, bread and peanut butter was all that on the menu. From kids coming in asking for grilled cheeses, and adults coming in for a much needed—and soothing—margarita, these families were struck down in their tracks, evacuating with only a moment’s notice to the only place they had.

 

In a previous post,I briefly mention the importance of having a plan, but as we enter fire season I’d like to go further into this, allowing you and your family better preparation. Continue Reading

If you’ve ever known a firefighter, you know that they’re as close to a brotherhood as you can get. Besides the obvious (that they have to learn to not only watch one another’s back in a fire rescue) they also learn to work together seamlessly so that in a rescue no one gets left behind. They’re a well-oiled unit, operating entirely for the service and wellbeing of those who surround them. When they enter a burning building, their thoughts are more selfless than the selfish, risking their own life so that others can be safe, while also assuming a position that will help get their team out of the engulfing flames in now time at all.

Growing up down the street from a fire station, I knew my fair share of fighters. Not only did I have the distinct pleasure of growing up next door to two very kind and courageous men (more on the one here), but I’ve also been blessed to get to know my best friend’s husband, who—you guessed it—happens to be a volunteer firefighter. These men (and women) are kind individuals, who, living in southern California often times need a break, but won’t say anything because they’ve got a job to do.

As southern California gets further and further into its hot season (which is a joke in and of itself), I can’t help but remember this time last year. It was the calm before the storm, so to speak, as hot and dry April days lead to an even hotter and dryer month of May, until finally hell broke loose in the form of eight distinct full range fires in southern California. Unfortunately for us, this is all too familiar a scenario for our desert cities, and even with our firefighters prepared and willing to fight the flames, we were all but engulfed for nearly a month. With fire season quickly approaching, and April remaining just as dry as ever, I wanted to offer a few tips and tricks for keeping our mountain ranges and city fire free, so that our hardworking firefighters can earn a well deserved break. Continue Reading

Flip to any food channel and you’re bound to see some sort of contest filled with a lively host and even more colorful characters. From children hustling around the kitchen, trying to avoid burning themselves as they produce a meal in thirty minutes, to adults entering a bidding war to avoid finding themselves cooking blindfolded with their arms behind their backs, the cooking channel has a little something for everyone these days. And despite my general aversion to reality television, the Food Network has it right. These cooking shows are entertaining, mildly insane, and impressive to boot.

Not being a great cook myself, I fully appreciate what the chefs on these shows go through, but that’s just it—they’re chefs. Professionals of their field. Yet when I recently found myself watching an episode of Chopped, wherein the contestants were three firemen and one firewoman, I admit myself stunned. Not only do these men and women fight for our continued safety, but man-oh-man they can cook.

 As I mentioned previously, in a separate post, the need to maintain a wholesome diet, while reaching a high caloric intake a day is essential to keeping their bodies operating at full speed. Additionally, the meals that firefighters consume in their firehouses are prepared—can you guess—by none other than the firefighters themselves. If you enter a firehouse at mealtime, you’d be prepared to see a kitchen filled with fighters, voices loud and movements bustling. It’s a time of camaraderie, happiness, and a hearty home cooked meal. Continue Reading

Three years ago, on July 3, 2012, I stood in my parent’s kitchen making treats for the day ahead, when I suddenly noticed that I smelled the distinct acrid smell of smoke. Confused, I went from room to room in my parent’s home, checking for a knocked over candle, or flame to claim the stench. It dawned on me that there was far too much commotion outside (considering it was nearly 11:30pm) when it occurred to me that the smell of smoke was not inside the house but outside. Quickly I ran outside, making my way two doors down, where my neighbor’s home was set aflame.

Freshly lit, the flames climbed nearly fifty feet in the air, and the fire trucks had not yet entered the scene. As everyone scrambled for something to do, I watched in awe as the front door of the home was thrown open and the elderly neighbor was escorted out by a short man that I’ve known for several years. The man happened to share a backyard with the woman and was closing up his home for the night, when he saw the flames licking at his back wall. That same man, a fire captain for San Diego County, jumped his fence clad in shorts and bare feet, broke through the woman’s back door, found her, and escorted her to safety. Continue Reading