My path to becoming a first responder was not a straight one. I started as a ski instructor in Canada, then moved to California where I became a volunteer firefighter and eventually a paid reservist and full-time firefighter. I also became a paramedic to increase my chances of getting hired as a firefighter. Now I'm working towards being a chief. Transcript: "I got a question from Blair O'Donovan. What was my path to becoming a first responder? Blair, it's a very sunny day, pardon the sunglasses as I answer from outside. My path was not a straight one. I was a ski instructor initially and in the summertime when there was no snow that first year I had nothing to do and so I kind of accidentally fell into being a volunteer firefighter. Did not have it stuck in my mind that I was going to be a firefighter, totally by accident. This was up north in Canada, as you can tell I'm in Canada right now. I met someone from California, moved down to California, pursued my professional career there again starting as a volunteer and then a reservist and then a paid reservist and eventually a full timer and then bounced around that way. Another part of my first response life was being a paramedic. In the United States, fire and EMS run side by side. Most of the EMS is run by the fire departments and so I became a paramedic as well, largely to become a firefighter, to get hired as a firefighter greatly increased my chances. So my path was not necessarily a straight one. It involved two countries, a couple of volunteer positions and now fire department number five, as I'm rolling towards being a chief. Thanks for the question."
My path to becoming a first responder was not a straight one. I started as a ski instructor in Canada, then moved to California where I became a volunteer firefighter and eventually a paid reservist and full-time firefighter. I also became a paramedic to increase my chances of getting hired as a firefighter. Now I'm working towards being a chief.
I grew up in a military family and followed that route, which instilled discipline and physical fitness. After my military service ended, I pursued a career in law enforcement, which is a common path for first responders.
I started off studying business management, but after talking to a police officer at the grocery store, I decided to pursue law enforcement. I eventually fell in love with it and became a first responder.
My path to becoming a firefighter involved getting experience in first aid instruction, lifeguarding, emergency medical services (EMS), and safety director for a construction company. I then applied to various fire services, ultimately landing a job with the city of Madison. I think it is important to get as much knowledge as possible before applying in order to be prepared for what is expected.
I got interested in the career after watching a TV show and reached out to my school counselor and teacher who put me in contact with an ambulance service. I then took EMT classes and applied for a job as a firefighter at 19, which I was lucky enough to get.
I became a first responder after my high school recruiter piqued my interest. I chose this path over becoming a pilot because I was expecting a child and the police officer job seemed easier. I did two years of college, got my criminal justice degree, and started working for a local county police department. My advice is to research the top 20 highest-paying police departments and apply there.