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Job Summary

Although my job title is Firefighter, public safety better summarizes what I do. A Firefighter assists across several different aspects of public safety:

  • Health: an example of this could be assisting someone who's had a heart attack.
  • Physical: an example here could be assisting someone who's fallen from a roof or been in a car accident.
  • Fire: fighting residential or commercial property fires.

Mainly due to the advancement of residential and commercial building codes, 90% of what I do is non-fire related.

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Sheri's Career Path

Before becoming a Firefighter, I had a personal training business. I started the business because I loved fitness, and I still do, but eventually, the idea of being a Firefighter was much more appealing than continuing to run my business.

It was a long-time friend who encouraged me to pursue or at least consider firefighting. This went on for a couple of years (thanks, Keith). He was persistent and insistent that I at least take a few steps to learn more about it. After all of this, I decided to attend an open house, and it was there that I knew firefighting was for me.

One key aspect of my decision to become a Firefighter was opportunity. There are several different career paths available to Firefighters: paramedic, pump operator, driver engineer, lieutenant, captain, battalion chief.

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Hard Skills

  • Fire Science

  • EMT

  • Fitness

  • Report Writing

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Soft Skills

  • Relational

  • Communication

  • Patience

  • Composure

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Work/Life Balance

My work schedule is 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours back on, 24 hours off, 24 hours on, and then four full days off before starting the cycle again.

Just like any other job, there are pros and cons to a Firefighter's schedule. I've always enjoyed the consistency of having big chunks of time off. Now, I did miss some of my kids' games when they were young and some holidays, but my husband was a teacher at the time, so the flexibility really worked well for us.

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Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national estimate (US) for Firefighters is $49,080 annually (median). National wage estimates by percentile:

  • $24,490

    10th Percentile

  • $33,400

    25th Percentile

  • $66,610

    75th Percentile

  • $83,570

    90th Percentile

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