Why I Quit The Fire Department

welcome back friends I told you guys a

week or so ago I would tell you the

story about why I why I didn't like

being a paid structural firefighter uh I

got my microphone in my hand here I

don't have any pockets in this shirt to

hang it on so all this hold on to it

here so we could have some nice clean

audio all right I've also got sweet loft

duty here so she might be roaming in and

out as we're talking let's go back a

little bit I'll give you a little

history so it must have been around 2000

or so I had been well almost all my life

working in construction at that

particular time I was a traveling

construction superintendent I was

overseeing construction for super

high-end retail stores in big city so I

was on the road ten months out of the

year or so maybe 11 I was a great job

paid a lot of money it was not a good

job if you wanted have a family but I

was single at the time so it wasn't

really a problem so I was I was really

over construction identity so long and I

just wanted to do something different

and and I've been always kind of drawn

to military police fire that sort of

thing but I hadn't really done anything

with it I actually tried to go into the

military twice I told you when I was 17

that I tried to go in and then was

probably in my mid-20s or so I tried to

get into pararescue with the Air Force I

was doing the 50-meter underwater swim

hi baby

all the stuff I was just I had crushed

the entrance exam you know what was

required well come here you come hang

out papa sorry about that

Jack's watching this sweet lope here I

mean I'm gonna take a promised I'd take

her for a ride soon as we get done here

but anybody tried to get in a pair of

rescue and I was as I was super fit I

was getting up like 4:30 in the morning

and riding like 20 miles on my bike and

the whole swimming a ton of time

swimming swimming

I would actually ride to the pool every

morning and swim and swim and swim

because I wanted to be able just to get

to get all through that well I was just

about ready to go in and they I had a

physical and a guy basically won one of

the one of the PJs up there at the they

had a little spot up there at the

Portland Airport basically told me that

with my eyesight I could never get in

this was before they were really


lasix or anything like that and I think

what I was told at the time is if you

had any surgery like that at all it was

a it was gonna kick you out and I wanted

to go in however if I couldn't at least

try to go in at the highest level or at

least have that opportunity I just

wasn't interested had I tried and failed

and not made it and had to settle for

something else that would have been fine

long as I had done it but I didn't want

to go and not have the chance so I

started kind of I was really a

disappointment for me and then I saw it

looked at the fire service like well

I'll get into the fire service so I

started to look at what is he gonna take

and I didn't have any idea how

competitive it was I think the first

department that I tested for was in

Portland and it was I think there were

close to over almost 4,000 people that

applied for the job it was ridiculous it

was like the hiring process was done at

the convention center there was a line

that was that rivaled a Star Wars

premiere of guys going in for these few

jobs there was like 17 or something like

that so I never did get any calls from

that and so I thought well what I should

need to do is I may need to make myself

more qualified so I enrolled at night

school and started going through EMT

school unfortunately you know I never

went to college I graduated from high

school and I went right to work I didn't

have any of the prerequisites that I

needed to even get into the EMT school

so that was another great disappointment

cuz I wanted to I wanted to start it I

wanted to do it now and you know I had

made up my mind I'd result to do it and

yet another delay so I think I had three

semesters where I had to do

prerequisites meaning I had to bring

Matt my math up and I don't remember

what the classes were just to get to the

spot where I could enroll in the EMT

school so I did all of that working all

day and going to school at night till

10:00 it was really a grind and I

finally got into EMT school that was I

went through all of that went to the

basic went through the intermediate and

the whole time I was volunteering with

different like when they would have big

concerts and things I would volunteer as

a medic and you just to get as much

experience as I could and to make myself

look appealing to a fire department

after I finished up EMT Basic I went

into intermediate as I said and learned

intubate and IV and that sort of thing

it was back to then there were three

levels there was EMT there was

intermediate which did everything that

EMT did with the addition of intubation

some front leg cardiac meds and IVs and

then after that was a full-blown

paramedic which is a whole nother deal

so once I got through my EMT

intermediate I started putting like lots

of applications out all over the country

I mean I was just spamming basically

spamming them before spam was spam this

was snail mail and two came back one was

in Anchorage Alaska and one was in

Summit County in Colorado so I had to

make a choice which one you know

basically they were offering me an

interview nothing more than that

well the I decided that I would do the I

would go with the Colorado and they set

up an interview they said can you come

in and I said well not really you know

I'm in Oregon it's I could come in but

it was a pretty big expense for

something that's not a sure thing for a

job interview I asked them if I could do

an interview on the phone so I forwarded

all my information my credentials and

all of that and I remember it the poll I

got the phone call it pulled over on the

side of the road I was in my truck and

and we had it like a half-hour interview

they said thank you very much and within

24 hours they had offered me a job so I

quit what I was doing

loaded up everything that I all my

basically all my possessions I had a

what I have a 19 like a 93 Toyota Tacoma

four-wheel drive pickup with canopy on

it loaded up everything and drove

straight to Summit County Colorado and

and right into my job so that's kind of

how I get there I got there it was a not

a real big department they had three

stations lots of paid guys medics it was

it was a real legit the engines and

trucks the whole thing legit fire

department so yeah that's a long ways to

that that's a that's the history to get

where I'm at now I want to ask answer

you or tell you why I thought why it was

not a good job for me why I didn't like


and I'm gonna say this up front when I'm

the thing anything that I say that's

derogatory uh it personally relates to

me and that's how I felt about it it may

not be your experience it may not have

been the experience of other people who

work there although I think it was with

some of them anyway so started working

and went right on to be shift and man it

started very exciting the very first day

I am I'm a we should we go to it should

get to a call on medical call and we

show up to a full-blown cardiac arrest

and because I am an EMT I an

intermediate even though I don't have a

very little field experience mostly just

clinical stuff and and work at an ER a

little bit I am the lead medic on this

because everyone else on the engine

there was four of us were basics I'll

tell you what you know you hear the

stories about what you see on TV and

movies and stuff or something like

really traumatic happens and the time

seems to slow down you know it's like

stretching out before yeah down the

hallway it was like that I mean I just

walked into the room and there is this

woman in dying and cardiac arrest on the

on the floor and I'm supposed to do

something about this and I'd never I

never had anything like this and so I I

felt like I had stood there for an age

like time just stood still and and you

know finally I got myself going and and

we went to work on you know went to work

on this patient which turned out to be a

victim I asked my lieutenant the next

day is like how I apologize you know

I've I must have stood there for an age

you know I wasn't mentally prepared for

this and he said you know he said it'd

be looked at me very strange and said

what you didn't what do you mean that

was in my mind that's how I perceived it

time actually did stand still but I

actually what I did is I wouldn't

basically fall fell back on the training

and just went through the process right

so there was that so yeah that's how

kind of how it started off and I thought

man this is gonna be quite a job I've

never done anything like this before but

what I found out it was it was boring

boring beyond boring

I worked about 10 or 11 days a week we

would work one day on one day off on off

on off for six days and we had a four

day four days off and then you would

rotate it again great schedule right

well it was really awesome but I was

working like 10 or 11 days 24 hour

shifts and I really got to take

advantage of Colorado live I mean I've

had so much time off and and I would did

a lot of mountaineering I climbed a

bunch of 14,000 foot peaks and weed

skiing and snowboarding over a hundred

days a year and working as an instructor

and patrol and it was awesome right that

lifestyle there is pretty cool but the

job was boring it was as every morning

showing up at the same time seeing the

same folks and washing the same engine

if it needed or not I guess what I kind

of didn't like was all the busy work

wash the bathrooms just because we want

to see you doing something you know be

moving around or organizing something

that doesn't need organized just because

we want to look busy

and it just doesn't have any meaning and

you just living and dying for calls you

know you're waiting for calls and when

the calls do come in there some medical

you know granny can't get in her chair

or and then just when you think you know

you're gonna get a night's sleep you

know Friday night the bars start letting

out about 2:00 a.m. and the drunks start

fighting and then you're out all night

running and dealing with slobbering

drunks and and bad people and just it

it's it was not it was not a very nice

job where are the fires you know where

all these things occasionally you would

have a car wreck you know where you

could go in and do something but it was

few and far in between occasionally

you'd have a fire I think we had two the

whole time I was there and that was fine

but mostly it was just running just like

being a nursemaid just running people

calling all my pipes are leaking or oh

this or that or I can't get my door open

you know so there was things like that I

actually I used to get really aggravated

and frustrated with it thinking man why

are these people wasting our time you

know can't they do can't the handle

these things herself do we have to deal

with they have to call the fire

department and my chief said you know

what you're looking at it wrong you got

to look at it these folks have reached

the end of their ability to deal with


situation they probably don't have any

family to call they're probably maybe

they're old and they're sitting up

sitting alone by themselves in there and

there's water on the floor they don't

know what to do you know they they have

reached that ability they have no longer

had the ability to deal with the

situation and we're the only people they

can call that will come and help them

and I that helped me a lot and I wasn't

quite so resentful towards those calls

after that so there was the boring

aspect of it there was the

repetitiveness of it there was the doing

the busy work and all of these things

and there was also the command structure

and this is my own fault of my own

hang-up you know someone that has been

basically self employed for as much if

not more than the time that I wasn't

going in in the being a little bit older

and dealing with the command structure

and taking the lead or command from from

people that are a lot younger than you

or you people that maybe you don't even

respect maybe you don't respect their

abilities or you don't think that they

deserve to be there where they are but

you find out they're there because of

who they knew is tough I think it would

be easier for a younger guy you can

adapt better you don't mind being told

what to do but when you are older and

you've more accomplished and you've had

employees and you've run multi-million

dollar jobs and been responsible for all

these things to go in on the first day

and having a guy that's 10 years younger

than you you know tell you to go wash

the wheels and the on the fire engine

again because he saw a speck is what's

going to say the least so there was that

side of it which that was my more my

personal hang-up than anything else and

then there was the folks that I worked

there I thought that there was going to

be a brotherhood and again this is not

indicative of all fire departments there

are guys that have a really tight

brother Brotherhood's Sisterhood's

whatever you want to call it and enjoy

the people they work with but this place

that I worked in was it was I will I

will give you this analogy I think I'm

not a sports fan I didn't grow up I'm

not interested in sports I don't watch

any we don't play ball sports we're just

not that type of people but this sports

analogy is good I think you know when

the early teams whether it be the

Green Bay Packers or the your local team

whatever that was when you saw the guys

that were living in the community mm-hmm

excuse me living in the community

playing on the team that built a sense

of family and camaraderie I mean when

those guys were playing and those guys

were winning or losing I mean you were

wearing your heart on your sleeve

because you knew these guys they were

they were your folks right they were

your guys well now

yeah a team we have the sports teams and

all of that but we got the free agent

thing and we've got guys that are there

not because they love the town or they

love the people there they're just

they're just mercenary they're there for

pay a paycheck and the moment someone

offers them more and they're contraction

no longer contractually obliged to be

there they'll leave I mean we've seen it

there's of course exceptions to

everything but but it's hard to get

really excited you know and go team and

you a team and this is my team when all

these guys are who knows where they're

from or or not maybe even not even

Americans right so and I think that the

fire department is kind of like that it

was guys were there they would show up

many of them didn't even live in the

community they would because the job was

so he had so much time off they would

drive hours away some guys would drive

three and four hours away and come and

work there and they would leave and you

never saw them they weren't there for

your your birthday parties or they

weren't there to go hang out or to go

you know have dinner with or anything

like that they just they came in they

were there for the the lifestyle they

were there for the money and they were

there for the probably more than

anything then the good schedule right so

again exceptions to it but there was a

lot of that and then another thing that

really tore up the department where a

lot of guys got along really well and

and we would trade shifts with one

another and help one another out and all

of that and then a couple girls came in

to the department and it was trying to

be more diverse we need to you know we

need to have more women and so they

hired girls women excuse me I don't mean

to be sexist here but they hired that

but these were girls they had these

girls not because they were the best

candidates but because they were female

and there were a lot of guys that didn't

get the job because of that so you know

that cutter that kind of rubs you the


way you know you don't that's not super

fair and before we go any further you

know don't bring me this nonsense that

there's no difference between men and

women and and women can do just as well

as men can do in every job this is not

the case as soon as an all-female

women's team can win the Super Bowl or

take on a heavyweight champion in boxing

then you'll have that then you can make

that claim but until then you know don't

don't sell me that don't tell me that

with that being said I'd rather live

with one then than any of these other

strong guys right so let's keep things

in perspective here right but they

weren't really they weren't really able

to do the job they're one we had one

that was you know 125 pounds or so she

couldn't pull her weight she couldn't

pull the dummy she couldn't make it up a

flight of stairs with a SCBA in a hose

pack and so we had to carry more slack

way to put up with her and also we had

to go into dangerous situations with a

female that was too weak to pull us out

if we had gotten into trouble so there

it is right I didn't have a problem

dealing with that it was like okay so

will we compensated in different ways

and we had very frank conversations

about it and we made a decision for her

to pursue engineering and to run the run

the deal right or the the engine a

further problem was you know we were we

were pretty top-notch our our engine

company and we worked out a lot and I

was like 225 pounds and just ripped and

in the best shape of my life and doing

14,000 foot peaks at 10 you know a you

know climb running up those things in a

day and best shape of my life

well when the when the females came in

they dropped all the standards and that

was kind of a bummer it's like yeah we

were trying so hard and you know now

it's like it doesn't really matter


and the worst thing that happen and if

you have small children you might want

to hit mute for 60 seconds or so and

give you a chance to I'm not gonna use

bad language it's just an adult topic


alright we're back started sleeping


they were very promiscuous two of them

and and with multiple guys in from

multiple stations and multiple all the

things and that caused a whole lot of

problems so you had guys that had one

time had been buddies and now they're

they're jealous rivals and they hate one

another and it's starting to break down

the whole all the cohesion of the

department and then you had guys in

there that weren't or women I don't know

who was that weren't very honorable and

and we would bring food and for the

refrigerator and they would you'd show

up and someone had eaten all of your

food without asking or not leaving a

note or anything and it got so bad that

people had to actually lock up their

food here we are in this so-called

Brotherhood and that we're supposed to

be able to trust one another and have

each other's back and we can't trust

them not to eat your Lucky Charms right

so you know there's there's that you

know so there's all these things

building up we have the boring monotony

we have nepotism which was a big problem

we started to see promotions and

advancements being given for drinking

buddies that were maybe hanging out or

schmoozing with officers rather than the

best candidates so it was cancerous a

cancerous toxic environment that

continued to get worse and worse and

worse and and I was I thought well

alright well I'll just stick it out here

and I'll get some experience and and

maybe you know get my paramedic and let

the department pay for them and I think

the thing that kept me going was that's

where I was introduced to wildland

firefighting a lot of small departments

in rural areas like that will contract

out so they'll have some engines or some

of the apparatus and they'll send it out

to these federal forest fires to make

extra money for the department because a

type six engine which is like a one-ton

truck with a 300 gallon tank on it can

make two thousand twenty five hundred

dollars a day and that includes the crew

so the crew so we as firefighters you

know that we're you know paid

firefighters got to go out and make some

extra money and that's in that while

then firefighting really appealed to me

I'm like yeah that's what's cool not

this structural fire Friday it wasn't

for me not that it's not cool there's a

funny thing there's if there's a little

joke I'll tell you so why do we need

wildland firefighters well the joke goes

because the structural guys they need

heroes too right so that always that's

always a big hit

anyway structural firefighting is way

cooler but but what excuse me while then

firefighters way cooler structural

firefighting is okay it's a lot safer if

you get into trouble in a structural

fire you can jump on a window and you're

safe but if you're being chased down 60

miles an hour by a a towering firestorm

300 foot flame lengths yeah you get the

picture so so there was all this stuff

and and that was it was a resort town it

was so expensive to live there that

nobody could really on a firefighters

salary you really couldn't afford

housing well you'd have to go a long

ways away and so they subsidized summer

housing so they had some nice apartments

there and we had to share an apartment

with more the other guys but that was

fine we had a little kitchen deal in

your own room so I'm not a big deal I

was single anyway so didn't really

matter and then I guess the straw that

finally broke the camel's back was that

the chief hired this woman to come in

this woman that worked in the office and

she was kind of in charge of you know

all the facilities and all that and she

she came over and came in my house in

her house for a surprise inspection and

she's poking poking her nose around and

and we you know we were my roommate and

I were tidy people we were clean people

who are not dirty people and she was

poking around and she turned her nose up

and told me that I need to go in and

scrub my bathtub because it wasn't clean

enough that was it I mean I'm like

didn't know I'm not gonna I'm not gonna

work for someone you you were going to

come into my house unannounced and

you're going to tell me how I'm supposed

to to run my affairs on my own time that

was it

I quit right there I went down there and

I quit I turned in my paperwork I turned

in my gear I loaded up my stuff and I

drove back to Oregon I was it I just

wasn't gonna have it so that's my story

I mean there's a whole lot more to it

they were good they were bad they were

sad and and all of that and it was a

relatively busy station and I ran a lot

of calls and all that but it was still

it was boring a lot of the employees

that work there were were mercenary

there was a cancer that came in the

department with hiring people that were

no longer that were not able to do the

job but just because they met a

particular minority

they put everyone else at risk and on

and on and on so yeah that's my only

experience is that is that the case for

all fire departments is that gonna be

what you're gonna run into I don't know

I I can't tell you I do have friends

that have done it a long time a whole

lot longer than I have and they've been

happy some more have been not not not

happy so I don't know I don't tell you

it's a pretty good gig I mean if you can

get in if you can get in hired with the

department when you're 19 or 20 you know

you only served 20 years and you're out

you can retire you could retire at 40

with a pension and all those things that

that's what you want but those 20 years

you're gonna have to deal with probably

a lot of the things that I did and it's

even more political now it's gonna be

more politically correct in sensitivity

training and all of that stuff that all

takes away from your joy and takes away

from being able to do the job

effectively so that's it

and I will I'll finish this video was

saying you know it's I am 50 percent

responsible for this negative experience

with the fire department because going

in as a as an as a more of an

entrepreneurial type of a person a

person that likes to be rewarded for

actions and deeds rather than seniority

or just time spent in a particular

position it was not a good fit for me

so if you're that type of person I

probably wouldn't recommend it if you're

the type of person that's happy to have

some monotony and and security and

nothing very exciting and slow promotion

all those things I'm not really selling

it very well am i yeah I do have a bias

I didn't enjoy it I don't recommend it

for me that was it that's all thanks for

watching we'll see you guys in the next