Hundreds Line Up For 35 Firefighter Jobs In Miami

This news item was posted this morning on Drudge as a sign of the times event. The truth is there is always big interest whenever a city hires firefighters.

When I was 21 years old I stood in line for hours with hundreds of others for a shot at working for the San Jose Fire Dept. The department had 8 positions open, what was I thinking?

In line I met an attorney who wanted a career change. There was a CHP officer in line too. He was telling us he wanted the firefighter hours. I got through the written exam and came back for the physical test. Since I was a college athlete I was strong so I could drag the dummy and pull hose packs OK.

When it came to the oral interview I was over matched, I had no experience to fall back on, no practical firefighting knowledge. All I offered was a strong work ethic and moral code. I made the list, 200 something but it was pretty clear I would not be a finalist for one of the 8 positions.

This is the reality for most of the guys in Miami this week. It’s tough to break in to this line of work.

My advice for someone looking for a city job is to learn as much about the department as possible. Have some fire science classes or better a degree under your belt. Study the department manuals cover to cover. If you can’t find them in the library then ask someone in headquarters if you can borrow them or at least read them on site.

Know the history of the department, the larger fires, the names of the fallen and the circumstances that led to their deaths. If the department has a volunteer force, join it.

Persistence is the key. Overlook the fact nepotism is still alive and a fair share of jobs go to kin. Remember many of those hires are guys with a lifetime invested in learning the job.

I wish the men and women lined up in Miami all the best. Firefighting is an honorable and rewarding career.


  • Jason says:

    That’s Awesome! But i hope to see the count 47 rolling up more in the days to come. i’ll keep in touch for sure.

  • Mike says:

    Retiredfireman, your quote;”watching the lights flash in the darkness on the way to God knew what and where”An all time great line. I miss the thousand campfires on the forest floor at 2:00 am. Thank you for the comment.

  • retiredfireman says:

    When I was trying to get hired, I gave myself 3 years. I tested all over California North of Bakersfield and even into Nevada. I remember camping out in a parking lot in Vacaville, trying to get a couple of minutes sleep on the sidewalk, seeing the same faces time and time again at place after place until we knew each other by name.Sure, there were those that would show up for the chance at the plum job with the great hours, yet who had no clue as to what it took just to make it to an academy, let alone all the way through it. It was the ones who went the extra mile in working out, running, schooling, and who wanted that job bad enough to put family, friends and everything else on hold just to go and put in an app and test.It has been a couple of years now since I sat on the nozzle, watching the lights flash in the darkness on the way to God knew what and where, and there has not been a second of the day that has gone by that I have not missed it. Just the smell of walking into an apparatus bay will make me long for it and my ears still perk when I hear a siren going by.My advice for anyone who wants this career…go and get your paramedic license. That is the surest, best way of getting in. Any department anywhere, whether they transport or not, will take a medic over an EMT or anyone else any time and any way.Good to see this blog, and love your posts on MM.

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  • Cpdcoppurr says:

    thanks for the add………. I put you up on my blog roll……….Stay safe out there.Pepper

  • Mike says:

    Great advice on your site. Forty-seven, that is incredible!

  • fireblog says:

    47, that is my number! 47 tests to get hired. I too stood in line fore San Jose, Stockton I camped out for 36 hours for an application, I was a part of the Oakland mess, and I tested in other states. Never give up, be better than your competition, and know what makes you different (in a good light) than everyone else. My blog will help you get hired. For free unlike some other sites. I share because I want to help. In fact I am coaching our current volunteers and explorers on the how to’s to getting hired with Cal-Fire. They are a great step into the fire service and you never know you might stick like many of my friends. Get your app now and turn it in early.