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Career Story: Firefighter

Ky-ree is a firefighter and is considering buying a house. Hear how he’s preparing to fulfill long-term goals while paying off his car loan and credit card debt.

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My name is Ky-ree Toadvine.
KY-REE, 25
FIREFIGHTER, LOS ANGELES

I'm a firefighter,
and currently I make anywhere

from 65 to 70 grand a year.

As a firefighter
every day is different,

there is not really a routine to it.

We could be going to a
medical emergency at one moment

which we're in someone's home
and helping them.

Or we could be going
to an actual structural fire

in which we will have
to utilize fire suppression efforts

to put out the fire effectively.

Or even, we could respond
to a traffic accident

in which there is a trapped,
pinned victim

and we need to unpin them.

There's a lot of different things
going on, and it’s always different.

Well right now
I'm just a probationary member,

and it’s not necessarily
a bad thing to be

a probationary member.

It just means that
I'm still learning at the moment.

I'm actually in the field,
I've passed the academy,

and I'm learning the ropes of what
to actually do while in the field.

And my main role I will say
is to learn as much as possible

so that I could be as effective
at my job as I possibly can

after this probationary year.

So, as a firefighter I currently
make 65 to 70,000 dollars a year

just for my probationary year.

There are pay increases
that come in through over time,

about six months in
I'll get another pay increase

and then a year in
I'll get another pay increase.

And then there are other
certifications that we could get,

like our paramedic certification
which will give us a bonus.

If you like to be USAR,
Urban Search and Rescue Certified

then you can also go
and take the classes to get

that certification which will also
give you sort of a bonus.

Same thing for hazardous materials

if you're at that specialized station
then you can get those classes

taken care of and receive
those certifications for that bonus.

I study as often as I possibly can.

There's loads of information
that I don't know anything about.

One such example is
building construction.

I didn't have a building
construction background

coming into this career field,

so I have to take the initiative
to make sure I study it

as often as possible just to make sure
that I don't let the knowledge,

or skill set, slip away from me.

I'm studying
building construction because,

say if we're on top of a roof
during a fire,

we have to ventilate the building.

We have to know what
typical rafter direction is

so that we can effectively
cut the roofing off of the roof

and allow the fire to ventilate
outside of the roof,

or to ventilate vertically.

That will allow us to also tell
if there may be

signs of collapse going on.

Also, I mentioned
being physically and mentally fit.

We have to make sure that
we take on a set of fitness

that's not just aesthetic.

You have to make sure
that its actual, functional,

actually functional, excuse me,
and take that and make sure that

we're actually adaptable
in the field as well

with our fitness and
what we can do in the field.

And it keeps us mentally fit as well

because it allows us to
keep the edge off

and takes off the stress
a little bit as well

so we can continue
to think effectively,

and be effective
in our field as well.

Within our work week,
we work three 24-hour days

out of a five-day work week,
typically.

From that we start our week
with working one day, 24 hours,

having one full day off,
working the next day 24 hours,

having the next day off,
and then working one last day,

and then having four days off.

But that's also not
counting any overtime

in which you may want to pick up
and which we also work 24 hours.

And within that 24 hours like I said

we would be responding
to a number of amount of incidents,

non-emergency, emergency,

maybe doing
community service as well.

So, during our 24 hours
we are at the station

a majority of the time.
That's if we're not running calls.

If it's not a busy day, that we may
be out running calls or

if there is an errand to be done,

then we may need to go out
and do an errand,

or if there's training to be done
we will be out doing our training

with another company.

When I'm working for 24 hours
at a time on platoon duty

we're not awake for exactly
24 hours throughout the day.

We do have times
where we can rest,

and cook or do whatever
we need to take care

of what we may need.

The station is basically like a house,
and we're all there together.

The challenges of a firefighter
within the city

versus say the country,

say LA versus,
like you said, Boise, Idaho,

would be the first thing I think of
is Downtown Los Angeles,

high rises,

they're tough to climb.

It's a lot of different construction
aspects to go into,

it's a lot of different
elevator problems

you will go into as well.

There's a totally different,
well not totally different,

but there is a different approach
you take to structural firefighting

within a high rise as well.
That's the first thing.

And also, a denser
population of people.

You have a lot of
different type of people,

you have a lot of tourists
coming through

so at any moment
you could be responding

to a medical call which we run
80 to 90 percent of

within the department.

But you may be running
on someone who's from Italy

and doesn't even speak English.

Okay, so different skills
and mindset that you need to have

is just more likely
just being adaptable.

You have to know that
there's never going to be

a been there, done that situation.

You have to be committed
to taking in loads of information

that you may know nothing
about at the time.

And also make sure that
you're able to comprehend

what may be going on at the time.

And not freeze up
or anything of that nature

when it's time to perform.

My name is Ky-ree Toadvine.
KY-REE, 25
FIREFIGHTER, LOS ANGELES

I'm a firefighter,
and currently I make anywhere

from 65 to 70 grand a year.

As a firefighter
every day is different,

there is not really a routine to it.

We could be going to a
medical emergency at one moment

which we're in someone's home
and helping them.

Or we could be going
to an actual structural fire

in which we will have
to utilize fire suppression efforts

to put out the fire effectively.

Or even, we could respond
to a traffic accident

in which there is a trapped,
pinned victim

and we need to unpin them.

There's a lot of different things
going on, and it’s always different.

Well right now
I'm just a probationary member,

and it’s not necessarily
a bad thing to be

a probationary member.

It just means that
I'm still learning at the moment.

I'm actually in the field,
I've passed the academy,

and I'm learning the ropes of what
to actually do while in the field.

And my main role I will say
is to learn as much as possible

so that I could be as effective
at my job as I possibly can

after this probationary year.

So, as a firefighter I currently
make 65 to 70,000 dollars a year

just for my probationary year.

There are pay increases
that come in through over time,

about six months in
I'll get another pay increase

and then a year in
I'll get another pay increase.

And then there are other
certifications that we could get,

like our paramedic certification
which will give us a bonus.

If you like to be USAR,
Urban Search and Rescue Certified

then you can also go
and take the classes to get

that certification which will also
give you sort of a bonus.

Same thing for hazardous materials

if you're at that specialized station
then you can get those classes

taken care of and receive
those certifications for that bonus.

I study as often as I possibly can.

There's loads of information
that I don't know anything about.

One such example is
building construction.

I didn't have a building
construction background

coming into this career field,

so I have to take the initiative
to make sure I study it

as often as possible just to make sure
that I don't let the knowledge,

or skill set, slip away from me.

I'm studying
building construction because,

say if we're on top of a roof
during a fire,

we have to ventilate the building.

We have to know what
typical rafter direction is

so that we can effectively
cut the roofing off of the roof

and allow the fire to ventilate
outside of the roof,

or to ventilate vertically.

That will allow us to also tell
if there may be

signs of collapse going on.

Also, I mentioned
being physically and mentally fit.

We have to make sure that
we take on a set of fitness

that's not just aesthetic.

You have to make sure
that its actual, functional,

actually functional, excuse me,
and take that and make sure that

we're actually adaptable
in the field as well

with our fitness and
what we can do in the field.

And it keeps us mentally fit as well

because it allows us to
keep the edge off

and takes off the stress
a little bit as well

so we can continue
to think effectively,

and be effective
in our field as well.

Within our work week,
we work three 24-hour days

out of a five-day work week,
typically.

From that we start our week
with working one day, 24 hours,

having one full day off,
working the next day 24 hours,

having the next day off,
and then working one last day,

and then having four days off.

But that's also not
counting any overtime

in which you may want to pick up
and which we also work 24 hours.

And within that 24 hours like I said

we would be responding
to a number of amount of incidents,

non-emergency, emergency,

maybe doing
community service as well.

So, during our 24 hours
we are at the station

a majority of the time.
That's if we're not running calls.

If it's not a busy day, that we may
be out running calls or

if there is an errand to be done,

then we may need to go out
and do an errand,

or if there's training to be done
we will be out doing our training

with another company.

When I'm working for 24 hours
at a time on platoon duty

we're not awake for exactly
24 hours throughout the day.

We do have times
where we can rest,

and cook or do whatever
we need to take care

of what we may need.

The station is basically like a house,
and we're all there together.

The challenges of a firefighter
within the city

versus say the country,

say LA versus,
like you said, Boise, Idaho,

would be the first thing I think of
is Downtown Los Angeles,

high rises,

they're tough to climb.

It's a lot of different construction
aspects to go into,

it's a lot of different
elevator problems

you will go into as well.

There's a totally different,
well not totally different,

but there is a different approach
you take to structural firefighting

within a high rise as well.
That's the first thing.

And also, a denser
population of people.

You have a lot of
different type of people,

you have a lot of tourists
coming through

so at any moment
you could be responding

to a medical call which we run
80 to 90 percent of

within the department.

But you may be running
on someone who's from Italy

and doesn't even speak English.

Okay, so different skills
and mindset that you need to have

is just more likely
just being adaptable.

You have to know that
there's never going to be

a been there, done that situation.

You have to be committed
to taking in loads of information

that you may know nothing
about at the time.

And also make sure that
you're able to comprehend

what may be going on at the time.

And not freeze up
or anything of that nature

when it's time to perform.