10 Sept 2014
Becoming a Fireman The cry of the city like a siren's song wailing over the rooftops the whole night long saw a shooting star like a diamond in the sky must be someone's soul passing by. Everyone is born equal than the finest become firefighters. I believe everyone is born with a special talent and mine just so happens to be firefighting. It has been my dream to become a firefighter ever since I was little, and now that I am about to graduate high school my dreams may become my reality. Fire has always intrigued me, which makes since because I was raised by a firefighter. Since before I was born my father has been a volunteer at the Porter Fire Department. The entire department is one big family, blood or not, and hopefully soon I will be a part of the family. I graduate from Porter High School in May of 2016 and hope to start my college life at Oklahoma State University. I plan to take the FST (Fire-Service-Training) courses, which requires 924 hours of educational time (OSU-FST). Oklahoma State University has a wonderful firefighting program, half is spent in the classroom and the other half is hands on in the field. Courses include but are not limited to are Fire One, Fire Two, live burns, learning equipment, learning the truck, hazmat, fire behavior, firefighter academy, first responder, etc (OSU-FST). This course will help students develop a strong set of core PIO skills and the ability to apply them within the context of an AHIMT, All-Hazard Incident Management Team (OSU-FST).
The campus is located in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Campus life is quite simple. Follow the rules, participate in class activities and out of class activities such as sporting events, social gatherings, etc. In class we will have equal parts of book work, hands on work, and life burns. First you must pass safety tests to participate in such activities. Class size varies. There are different instructors for each lesson. The entire course is based on training for all hazardous situations. I will be specializing in firefighting and search and rescue. The entire course will only take 924 hours to complete, it will take me roughly two to six months to complete based on classes I decide to take. My time at OSU-FST will be short lived but that just means I start my career sooner than expected.
I will only be in college for about four to six months, so I will more than likely drive from my home in Porter to Stillwater on the days we have class. Or if we have class everyday or special training on the weekends, I would find a hotel room or an apartment. I don't like being alone, so I would probably take my dog with me and maybe find a roommate if I decide to live in an apartment. Even though I dislike being alone, I would deal with it for the short amount of time because I want this career more than anything. I am hoping to make many new friends and possible family members. Who knows, I may become an instructor myself.
Once I graduate college, I will find a department with decent pay. The average salary for a paid firefighter in Muskogee, Oklahoma is $34,759, which balances out to $668 a week or $17 an hour (salary.com). Whereas annual salary for firefighters in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma is $40,908 (salary.com). Which balances out to $787 a week and $20 an hour. Firefighters in Aurora, Colorado have an annual salary of $43,462 (salary.com). Which balances out to be $21 an hour, which isn’t a big difference compared to Oklahoma salaries. But, firefighters in Vallejo, California are making, on average, $59,370 (firelink.monster). And Oakland, California firefighters are bringing in the big bucks with, on average, $80,700 a year (firelink.monster).
After college I plan on joining a department in Oklahoma to gain experience and eventually moving to California to a larger and well paid department. While I am gaining experience at a local department, I will start training for wild land firefighting. Also, in