Where did you go to school?
I went to a high school that had a magnet program for public safety, then proceeded to First Coast Technical Institute for my initial firefighter and EMT certification. Following this, I attended Florida Medical Training Institute for my paramedic certification and finally received an A.S. degree in fire sciences through Keiser University.
What inspired you to become a firefighter?
Since I was young, I found myself playing with toy fire trucks, and I always had a smile on my face when I would hear the sirens or see the fire trucks pass by. Fast forward into my teenage years, I moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and became a fire explorer – a program where teenagers get to ride in fire trucks and run calls to learn from professionals on the job. Almost a year after graduating high school, I was turning 19 in the field as a professional firefighter.
Why would you recommend a career in skilled trades?
I believe that America is run on “blue-collar” work. Even with all the technology out there, there is a person behind the power tools who’s making them work. The jobs we do in fire service are borrowed from different skills and trades. Most of the firefighters on the heavy rescues/special operations units are skilled professionals on their days off or have a trade that they worked on before becoming a firefighter. And most of the emergencies that we encounter are fixed with hand and power tools and the ingenuity of the personnel handling the emergencies.
“Even with all the technology out there, there is a person behind the power tools who’s making them work.”
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were looking at career opportunities?
A degree makes you marketable, but continuing education/seminars and hands-on training builds your experience and makes you more attainable. Get good at your craft and go for a degree when you want to move up the promotional ladder, or to become a subject matter expert in your field.
What are your future aspirations?
Finish school to become a small engine technician, to better serve the maintenance portion for my business and for my fire department.