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Who in a Fire Station should I contact about job-shadowing opportunities?

Hello, I'm 14 years old and will be job shadowing soon. I want to do it with EMS, specifically an medical first responder. I figured since I will likely not be able to do it with EMTs that use ambulances as I don't know how old I would have to be for a ride along, I would go for firefighters instead. I do not know how high up the list I should contact with something like this, but I was thinking administrative assistant. Any guidance before I try them?

#firefighter #ems #advice #jobshadowing

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Mary’s Answer

My husband is a fire fighter and has been shadowing etc since he was younger than you, actually! Call the firehouses around you and ask for the chief or whoever might be able to assist you in doing a tour/shadowing/etc! They are usually excited and happy to help, and once you get your foot in the door you can always ask more questions. Same kind of thing with ambulance companies! It truly never hurts to call and ask nicely. If the person you call can’t help you, ask if they might have any ideas to lead you in the right direction of someone who can. We all start somewhere and there are so many people who remember being in your shoes and want to help!
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Alexander’s Answer

Generally, the President of the organization would be the best contact. You can also call the station's number and ask for the person in charge of membership
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Megan’s Answer

I would suggest either contacting the firehouse directly and speaking with the Fire Chief. If that contact information isn't readily available then contact your local city, town or village leadership. I always find them a wealth of information and typically have a good working relationship with the other municipalities. Job shadowing is such a good way to get exposure in helping make life decisions ahead. Good luck!
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Helene’s Answer

70% of fire departments are volunteer, so there may not be anyone on duty, unless they are in training or handling an emergency because they are not staffed. Paid Fire Departments are easy to contact because they will be staffed 24/7 so you can call or go in person and ask who to ask for your shadowing.

If your area has a volunteer department, the best time to talk to them is when they hold their monthly meeting because the leadership will be there (for this call the station or your local government Clerk's office, for example). Either the Fire Chief or Assistant Chiefs and Captains are the ones who can approve your shadowing.

If it's a full day shadowing, try and find a paid department, easier to find in cities, big and small. You can also find junior programs but often they are only available starting at age 16 because of liability. Whether the emergency is fire or medical, it is difficult for a ride-along. You are correct about the EMS ride-along because of COVID and patient privacy concerns it would be more difficult.

However, I encourage you strongly to contact the agency in your area because the decision is always up to them. Even if you just get to check out the station and the equipment and talk with firefighters and medics, this will help with your understanding about these professions. See optional next steps below:

Helene recommends the following next steps:

Finally, I strongly suggest you can get started by taking a CPR and First Aid course. Try and find a free one if you cannot afford one. Some organizations might offer it for free like the Red Cross, university extension programs, military youth programs, etc.
For firefighting, try checking out the National Junior Firefighting Program at https://www.nvfc.org/programs/national-junior-firefighter-program/
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