What Draws People To Join The FDNY?

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Nearly 10 years ago, the New York City Fire Department lost 343 of its members but that hasn’t stopped others from joining  New York’s bravest.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell On The Story

The danger of the job isn’t necessarily what draws them in. For many, being a firefighter isn’t just about the job, but the life.

“It becomes not just what you do. It’s what you are,” said Lt. Joe Huber.

When he was a gym teacher on Long Island, he thought he had the best job in the world.

But then almost as a lark, he became a firefighter.

“The experiences were great and what you get, in terms of the satisfaction and the thrill, all of that stuff, there’s something to be said for that,” he said. “But I think there’s at least as much to be said of the people that you’re working with.”

He says he feels the most important thing is the brotherhood.

“It has everything to do with the people that you live with and you learn from, and when you see and respect, as a young guy, the older guys that have been in a long time, you see their life and think ‘That’s something that I could aspire to,'” he told WCBS 880 reporter Peter Haskell.

Huber has been doing this for 27 years and now says this is the best job in the world.

Would you ever become a firefighter? Share your thoughts below.

More from Peter Haskell
  • John


  • Surfin Bird

    lots of time at the firehouse to have beer,

  • michaelfury
  • Don't be bitter

    20 hours of sleep? Where do you get your info? They not only go on calls, they have to go on building inspections and have required drill time every day. Speeding in a truck? Do you mean responding to an emergency call in which they are permitted to “run” red lights? The dept is 94% white because thats who takes the test, minorities make up a small percentage of the people who even take the test. A test which is open to the public. And to Politics as usual the union in no way bans the firfighters from living in the city. In fact city residents get extra points on the test. I don’t understand the hate. 10 years ago you all kissed the ground they walked on. And since that time the job has done nothing but take from them.

  • Vienna Joe

    ‘John’, clearly you are a coward who feels emasculated by the bravery of the men and women of the FDNY. If you are going to make negative comments about these hard working, middle class decent people then try being truthful. The truth will destroy the bashing that you are doing. Out of the 11,000 members of FDNY the occasional ‘bad apple’ who sneaks through the system is fired as soon as they become apparent for what they are. What do you do for a living ‘John’. Speak up and let’s see how your occupation can be truthfully torn to shreds … You coward.,

  • Anne Hill

    if i were a guy i would be a firefigher – but i don’t ever see any women firefighters.

  • Politics As Usual

    What draws the fire unions to ban its members from living WITHIN the city limits? If they’re so eager to serve and protect us, why do they (1) refuse to live here and (2) look down on anybody who does live here?

    • KPMc

      That’s a lie. there is no ban and many firefighters live within city limits.

      Have any more lies you want to spread?

      The fact that many firefighters choose a middle class, suburban, white picket fence lifestyle is up to them and at one time was something to aspire and respect… not look down upon.

      Bitter much?

      • Politics As Usual

        Here’s another lie: I’m not gay!

  • Phil

    I wish I had a nice guaranteed stable paycheck for the next 20 years, and 1/2 salary pension for the remainder of my life, that would be nice!

    • Howard Sprague

      That’s not a problem ‘Phil’ as long as you are willing to do what it takes [study & workout] to get on the civil service list. Then you have to attend probationary firefighter school. Then you will get assigned to a company in the field and respond to fires and emergencies for 20 years if you are lucky enough to not have your career cut short by injury, illness or death. Just step up and do what is necessary, clearly none of the haters here are willing or able to do so, they so they attack good people of the FDNY based upon jealousy and lies.

    • KPMc

      What have you done to achieve those goals besides sit on your fat a$$ with your hand held out and complain about the hard work and good fortune of others?

    • John

      Have no respect for any paid firefighter. It’s just a job. On the other hand, the volunteer fire fighters are the real hero!

      • Mrs. Pembroke

        Incorrect. Meatball parmigiana, that is the real hero!

  • Jack

    You people being negative toward FDNY need to go find out what the job really is. Your making comments on 1/1000 of the job. It is THE hardest, most dangerous job in the world. Do we do it 8 hrs a day? No, many of us do it 24 hrs. Sure it’s quiet at times. We eat and sleep just like you but we’re not at home and it could be interrupted at any minute. We are paid to be the smallest amount of minutes away from your house and family as possible. But we are humans, with all it’s blessings and errors. We ask for forgiveness for our weaknesses and for peace of mind from what we’ve seen and experienced. Yes there is a lot of nice bonuses of the job. But I would trade them all to NOT have experienced the losses of life and property in my time.

    I’m a 33 year veteran firefighter. (non-FDNY)

  • Vienna Joe

    Clearly you used the wrong letters to identify the agency you belong to [coward].

  • Here's some real reasons.

    Part Time work for full time pay and benefits. The ability to break the law and say 9/11 did it. Their Fathers who did the same things they are doing. Disability Pensions for almost everyone.The ability to fill bunker gear with “Pirates Booty’ and still be intoxicated while doing it. I think that about covers it.

    • Vienna Joe

      More total lies by a hater:

      1) Firefighters work more than 40 hours per week.
      2) Firefighters are held to a higher standard than private citizens. They are subject to fines and dismissal for off duty misconduct [are you?]
      3) Lot’s of folks follow in their father’s footsteps [not just firefighters].
      4)Disability pensions are not given to “almost everyone”. Many firefighters are forced to retire with line of duty related illness & injuries & never get a disability pension due to the ‘3rd party’ doctors who lie to save the city money.
      5)Theft is not tolerated & anyone caught would be arrested & fired.
      6)Firefighters (entire companies) are routinely spot checked (must provide urine sample) Are you?
      7)Yes it does “about cover it” All of your statements are exaggerations and lies. Grow up, or pick your profession apart and leave the decent working people alone.

    • Pat Hughes

      Part time work, two 24 hr shirts are part time work, nights weekends birthdays holidays and I forgot one little thing when everyone else is running away from danger these guys are running towards danger.
      Disability pensions for everyone. My brother in law was on the job 33 years he had a wall fall on him. He had the operation and went back to work.
      How about you putting on the bunker gear and run into a building. Pirates Booty my ass. Your a coward and a liar

      • John

        Running into danger? They are not allowed to go into building if they the fire department believe it is not safe.

    • Don't be bitter

      Since when is working 48 hours a week part time? Just because it’s shift work and not 9-5 Mon. to Fri. doesn’t make it part time. Have no response to the Pirates Booty you speak of. The drinking may have gone on 30 years ago but the checks they have in place at the firehouses now have no tolerance for alcohol, drugs or any other vices. Those who play do pay. Show me an instance (factual not just your opinion) where a firefighter broke the law and was exonerated due to 9/11. And if you pay into a pension fund and then become disabled shouldn’t you be able to collect on the money you have invested?

      • FDNY Realist

        My brother is in the FDNY He works 7 24 hour tours a month and takes the whole summer off every year. He routinely gets hurt in June and see what he jokingly calls “Dr. Summeroff” and doesn’t go back to work till September. The FDNY allows you to flunk a drug test, go to rehab and then go back to your firehouse with no punishment. disability pensions should not include any disability that you can get a full time job say, roofing, doing carpentry or entering Marathons and Iron Man contests. We all read about supposedly disabled firemem doing so and it is sickening to those of us who actually go to work five days a week.

  • Egor

    With the new hiring policy hope a liquor store or crack den doesn’t go on fire.

  • Mr. Mister

    Volunteering is one thing. But getting paid to sleep,shop,have sex on job time,drink and stuff your boots is another. Fdny heroes are a big waste of $$$$$

    • Howard Sprague

      Two questions:

      1) What do you do for a living?

      2) Why are you making such a derogatory statement about 11,000 people who have a difficult & dangerous job [and your statement is based upon your hatred / jealousy rather than fact]?

  • BF

    “It becomes not just what you do. It’s what you are,” True words, brother. But if the powers that be have their way, it will become “just another job”. They are trying to rob the FDNY of it’s soul. Think for a minute folks, do you think men & women will put themselves in harms way for strangers if the FDNY becomes, “just another job”. The current system has worked for 200 years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Don’t turn the, “best job in the world” into “just another day at the office.”

    • Jj

      Boo hoo don’t change my beloved fdny. You my friend are another arrogant cry baby fdny loser.

      • Howard Sprague

        BF is 100% correct. There is no room in the FDNY for whining, unmotivated [lazy], ignorant, do-nothings who want to have a job handed to them rather than to have to earn it. That may be a workable means of hiring employees to do whatever it is that you do for a living [Jj] but it’s completely unacceptable for the firefighters who must rely upon each other for survival in very dangerous [life threatening] situations as well as for the trapped victims who need motivated, strong [physically as well as mentally] individuals who will risk it all to save a life.

      • BF

        Why do you label me so? Aren’t there things you value in life that others might be trying to change or undermine that you feel are fine the way they are? If so, I hope people are more sympathetic towards you when you voice your concerns. Stay safe, Jj.

  • iggy

    back in the 70’s people were sabotaging houses and setting fires to draw the firefighters, then shooting at them from sniper posts. it was easier in the army.

  • steve

    True enough. I volunteered for 12 years and it was terrific. Its not about glory or money, but the satisfaction of making a difference in the community and protecting your neighbors. Its about being a positive role model for young people. Its about being able to stand with your brothers and sisters and say, no one gets hurt today, not on my watch.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live