How To Be a Firefighter

I think most kids grow up to work dead-end jobs simply because they didn't know how to get to their dream ones.

So this one's for my nephew, Joel. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and when he quit hiding in the kitchen, he responded with 'fireman!'

Saving lives, operating heavy machinery, waking up to the world's loudest alarm clock. What's not to like?

Things You Can Do Now To Prepare For Your Future As a Firefighter
  • Work out. You've got to be in great physical shape to save lives. You may have to carry an unconscious fat man down six flights of stairs one day, so start your exercise regimen now. Remember: That calendar isn't going to make itself.
  • Play with fire. This is forbidden for most kids, but you? You're training. You will eventually put out far more fires than you create in practice. A word of caution - you should have an adult around for added safety / blame shifting. Your dad likes fire, Joel, so ask him. If your mom makes him say no, ask me or Aunt Jana. We're both pyros.
  • Practice getting dressed quickly. Emergencies are not time to worry about color coordination. Slap it on and go! You may not have your firefighter's gear yet, but I have an old baseball catcher's getup you can practice with. It's practically the same thing, except not.
  • Be calm. I've never seen a frazzled firefighter. You can't be jumpy in this profession. You're only three, but I already don't think this is a problem for you.
  • Play poker. While your folks don't condone gambling, you are going to have a ton of downtime. You'll spend days and days on call, just waiting for things to burn. This means TV, card games and firehouse chores. You can come practice the chores part at my house. I hear you're good at washing cars.
What tips do you have for Joel?