Government Spending

80% of Firemen Are Fat and Out of Shape, Except When It Comes to Compensation


This post has been updated with new compensation figures that are even more frustrating! Scroll down for new info.

You know the ideal of firemen as swoonsome, stoic hunks who keep us all safe from burning buildings, are gentle enough to rescue kittens from tall trees, and could easily step in to any of the male-stripper roles in Magic Mike 2.

Yeah, not so much. Via the Twitter feed of Omar Wasow comes this interesting New York Times reality check on the morphology of firemen:

Four out of five firefighters nationwide are overweight or obese, and roughly half of all firefighters who die in the line of duty each year are killed by heart attacks.

The Times caught up with Robert Piparo, a fire fighter in New Brunswick, New Jersey who heads up the nonprofit 555 Fitness, which designs full-body workouts that are inspired by Crossfit and other exercise programs.

Q. Why are so many firefighters out of shape?

A. People have this image of the firefighter running out of a burning building holding a baby in this super athletic state. But we're just your everyday Americans who have chosen to do a very dangerous job. And we fall into the same pitfalls as everyone else. We work crazy schedules and our sleep cycles are very interrupted.

I'm a father of two. My wife works full time. I could be up all night at a fire and my wife has to work the next day. So when I go home I'm Daddy Day Care, and I may not be going to the gym that day or having a good nutrition day. It's really hard for us to get into a routine of diet and exercise.

Full Times story.

Piparo further notes that when firemen do swing into action, it's typically under extreme conditions where you go from zero to 100 percent, thus increasing the risk of cardiac events.

That's all well and good and 555 Fitness posts its routines online for us civilians too.

It's worth pointing out that the often romanticized danger surrounding fire fighters is every bit as mythical as the idea that most of them sport six-pack abs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, neither fire fighters nor police officers are on the list of the deadliest professions in the U.S. That list is topped by loggers, commercial fishermen, aircraft pilots and flights engineers, roofers, and garbagemen. Nor are fire fighters in the top reaches of occupations with non-fatal injuries. More good news: The rate of injury among fire fighters is declining.

Yet it's the heightened sense of danger, risk, and sacrifice that is a major reason why public-sector fire fighters and police are able to extract relatively generous collective bargaining agreements with government negotiators and exemption from reforms of the same (recall that Gov. Scott Walker's showdown with Wisconsin public employees over benefits excluded police and fire fighters).

In California, for instance, fire fighters can retire with full benefits at age 57 (recently increased by a few years, incidentally) and the average retirement pension for a 30 year vet is over $86,000 police and fire fighters in the CalPERS system is $99,908. See below for more information and links.

One of the ways fire fighters negotiate better deals is by arguing that public safety workers have shortened lifespans—in effect, they are not simply sacrificing themselves on the job but by taking the job in the first place. Yet a 2010 study by CalPERS, which covers public-sector workers found that "the life expectancy of safety members is slightly higher than the life expectancy of miscellaneous members."

It's great that people such as Piparo are helping their coworkers get in shape to meet a stressful and demanding job—and it's great, too, that 555 is sharing the workouts with everyone. But the real contribution might be in helping to demystify the lives of a particularly venerated set of public-sector employees during an age of widespread budget tightening.

For more about fire fighters and new, more efficient ways to fund public safety, check out Reason Foundation's archive on the topic.

Update: Here are more accurate figures for CalPERS, courtesy of Robert Fellner, who runs the watchdog site Transparent California:

Hi Nick,

My name is Robert Fellner and I run the website. We cover California's pension issues quite extensively.

In your article on firefighters today you link to an article we helped to write and stated that "the average retirement pension for a 30 year vet is over $86,000."

This is not true. That is the average pension for ALL members the Marin County Pension system ONLY.

The author of that article asked us for data on Marin County only. The average pension for full-career firefighters is much larger. Statewide, here are the relevant numbers:

CalPERS avg pension for full-career safety retiree (police/fire): $99,908 per year.

For Orange County, for instance, avg pension for full-career firefighter is: $117,934

For LA its $110k for both police and fire (I'm unable to break them out individually):

Also, many fire employees can retire as young as 50, not 57 as you wrote in your article. That new retirement age is for new hires as of Jan 1, 2013 and beyond. So for every firefighter who is currently working and was hired before 2013, they are almost all working under the 3% @ 50 plan.


Robert Fellner

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  1. But the real contribution might be in helping to demystify the lives of a particularly venerated set of public-sector employees during an age of widespread budget tightening.

    But, but, but… First responders are heroes! Nine-eleven! Why do you want the terrorists to win?

    1. I recently had a drag out argument with a retired firefighter about this very subject. He was spouting the Union talking points line by line… “I ran into buildings while people like you ran out!”, “Do you realize how much training and education it takes to be a firefighter?”, “I was exposed to hazardous chemicals that negatively impact my health!”. I told him that I manage a laboratory, did he realize how much training and education that takes? I’m exposed to hazardous chemicals and carcinogens on a daily basis. My lab supports power production and without me he would be without electricity!

      His final retort was, “Do be mad at me, your employer is fucking you over. You should also be entitled to a six figure pension!”.

      1. What a self-entitled dick.

      2. Eh, I had a similar ‘discussion’ with a civilian firefighter. One of (several) jobs I did in the Navy was fight fires – its something we *all* have to know how to do – but he would swear that his job as a municipal required more knowledge and was more dangerous.

        I pointed out that we also had train to deal with burning explosives and metal fires, along with normal hazmat and fuel fires, control flooding, rescue injured people – oh, and we couldn’t back away if the fire got out of control, there’s no place to run to on a ship.

        1. Also the civilians get oxygen tanks. We got OBA’s.

          /has PTSD flashback to the time in the smoke trainer when he collapsed his air bags with a four level climb between him and breathable air.

      3. One of many reasons I prefer living in a small town with no police department and a volunteer fire department. I go to the firehouse fundraiser breakfasts – some are fat and some are fit. I don’t really care since I’m not paying for their healthcare or retirement unless they are actually injured fighting a fire.

        1. I discovered a drawback to living in a small town with no police department. For years the town provided salted sand at the transfer station, with the condition being that you can only take three buckets at a time. Well, some assholes decided to ignore this and fill up their entire flatbed, then go out and sell the stuff. When the attendants confronted them they threatened violence. Being that we have no police department to enforce the three bucket rule, and the state troopers / sheriffs won’t, they will no longer provide sand. Which really sucks this time of year when the driveway melts every day and then refreezes at night. Got to go buy the stuff now.

          1. One word solution:


          2. “they threatened violence”

            It worked.

            Your own fault.

      4. “You should also be entitled to a six figure pension!”

        Do you want a 6 figure pension? Whining about someone else’s 6 figure pension isn’t going to get you one.

        1. Umm.. Im pretty sure he was whining about having to pay for someones 6figure pension who doesnt deserve one. yknow, cause hes a tax payer?

  2. The efforts of 555 Fitness is commendable, but only one dimensional. Reno police/fire are really ahead of the curve on this:

  3. Nick, why do you hate fat overpaid men?

  4. At least they’re not tasing people to compensate for their inability to perform the physical aspects of their job.

    1. I suspect some places with old industry, etc might have better conditioned firedudes. If you have a bedroom community, the biggest thing you have is a CO alarm going off or someone having chest pains, maybe a kitchen fire.

      My town’s fire guys are generally fit – but they have to actually contemplate going in to a 100 year old building that may have odd, highly flammable things tucked away. Of course, the last chief looked like Santa, without the beard.

    2. Tasing people? Don’t you mean shooting people? The police don’t use their tasers.

  5. Michael Bloomberg, not always a pain in the ass, noticed in his first term that the number of fires in New York had dropped 40% over the past three or four decades while the number of firefighters had dropped 0%. Mike must have been wearing his crazy hat, because he suggested that, you know, New York might not need so many firefighters. Naturally, he lost that one.

    Oh, in other news, unemployment fell to 5.5%, inflation remained low, and the stock market approached record levels. Damn this Kenyan socialism!

    1. While Bloomberg was mayor they started riding with one less firefighter in engine companies every tour.

    2. If you are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, do not waste your time with this book. The timeless characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are completely unrecognizeable and have been twisted to fit the modern idea of a mystery novel. The book also makes a vain attempt to fit these fictional characters into the real-world events of pre-WWI in a manner that leaves much to be desired. Do not waste your time with this book. I only gave this book one star because it won’t allow you to assign zero.

      1. I am a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve read all of Doyles’ Holmes stories many times. I have also read numerous Holmes stories by other authors. There’s no end to them. The literary exploits of Sherlock Holmes continue year after year. There’s always a new Holmes book, but I wish that most of them were as lively as this one. I discovered Hapsburg Tiara after reading several other less entertaining Holmes pastiches and it knocked my deerstlaker off! This is a ripping yarn indeed!

        Sherlock Holmes and the Hapsburg Tiara is one of the most entertaining, and surprising, Holmes stories I’ve read recently. This a delightful ride if you don’t expect it to be dry, typical, and deathly serious. It is not the same thing done the same way all over again. Vanneman has a unique and entertaining perspective on Sherlock Holmes. I hope this isn’t the last Holmes adventure by this author. I’m looking forward to reading future adventures in this series.

        Oh, and, by the way, where’s your book, pissant?

        1. 2/5 stars, baby!

        2. You’re supposed to post reviews written by other people.

        3. Oh, and, by the way, where’s your book, pissant?

          Who gives a shit you pretentious jagoff? If he doesn’t do a once a month inane drive-by comment complete with blog whoring he is infinitely more tolerable than you.

        4. You can’t even stop misspelling your own first name, pissant.

    3. not always a pain in the ass

      In his first term he also scrapped some of the recycling regs for being a money loser until someone (I’m guessing city council) went eleventy-Gaia apeshit and he put it back. He didn’t start out an uber-nanny – that came later.

    4. Oh, in other news, unemployment fell to 5.5%, inflation remained low, and the stock market approached record levels.

      The unemployment number is still total bullshit, as the percentage of the population in the workforce is still near forty year lows, and the stock market is the most inflated it has ever been in American history, thanks to the endless money spigot of the Federal Reserve.

    5. Meanwhile, the labor participation rate also dropped to record lows.

      1. While the disability rate skyrocketed.

        1. Why do you hate disabled people? Obo just wants to make sure they are taken care of and don’t have to stand at the street corner and beg! How could you oppose that, you heartless scum?

          /Anal Vainman

  6. I gotta believe that 4 out of 5 number is bullshit, unless they count volunteer departments where pretty much anyone can join. In New York most guys are in good shape, and if you arent you you get your balls broken 24/7.
    That being said, we are way overpaid, and the pensions I see some retired guys walking away with are obscene.

    1. Some idiot might be using the BMI scale, which is good for office workers but terrible for folks who have muscle.

      1. The BMI is solid science. You’re just anti science.

        1. Can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not.

          1. Fist isn’t ever not being unserious.

      2. That’s what I was thinking.

    2. I can’t get to the 80/20 number, but a significant number of NYFD members I’ve ever past the age of 35 are fat. I’m willing to bet that it’s probably at the same rate as any other blue collar gig adjusted for age.

      My cousin’s ex-husband is walking tub of shit that goes 6′ and somewhere between 280 and 320. But that’s on Staten Island where the culture may be a bit more lax.

    3. Chicago FD put out a car fire right in front of my building yesterday so we all watched. Those guys were a caricature of fat and lazy municipal employees. There were twice as many as needed and they took their sweet time getting there and putting the fire out. I got the impression that looking like you’re trying is very bad form.

      1. Just to play Devil’s advocate here. Things are not always what they seem.
        1. Car fires are not the crisis to the Fire Department that they are to the witness. They are self contained, minimal external hazard, and are essentially a training exercise and equipment test for the Firemen. As long as nobody is in the car and the car is not threatening a structure or other property it is a yawner. How professional do you look in the staff meeting discussing the latest corporate policy on filling out office supply reports?

        2. It’s Chicago, in the middle of the worst winter in centuries. Believe it or not pouring water onto the car and into the street is a much greater threat to lives and safety than simply standing around and watching the car until it burns out. That whole “don’t cover the active roadways with 3″ of ice” thing. And standing around watching a car burn itself out is boring as hell. They will stand around chatting etc. they are maintaining public safety, not doing performance theater.

  7. Early retirement for firefighters makes sense. They may not spend most of their time pulling babies out of burning buildings, but when its my baby I don’t want the geriatric to be the one that is trying to do so. Firefighters aren’t cops (don’t have to be in any shape but round to be a detective), there aren’t enough jobs for the young guys to move into as they grow older.

    1. The County will send you an invoice for that. You drop your baby off a cliff while hiking, and he breaks his arm, you will get fully billed for the helicopter ride to the hospital. Half of his college tuition gone right then.

    2. No, early job exit may make sense for the reasons you describe. But that applies to a zillion other occupations too. Retirement at 90% pay, usually on disability and tax-free, makes no sense.

      Like every other commercial transaction which the government muddles, the true pay necessary to hire firefighters is impossible to know. But I bet it’s a lot less than now. The Sacramento Bee had an article about the poor underpaid Sacramento firefighters — only $98K a year, in comparison to neighboring cities, where Davis, for instance, was paying $136K.

      I do not believe that in a free market, firefighters would be paid anywhere near that much and work so few hours.

      1. OK, I also live in the Sacramento area and I read about the Davis fire department trying to fill a position or two.

        They knew they would get too many qualified applicants if they did it on-line, so they told everyone to be there at 8:00 am.

        Hundreds of qualified applicants with all the certs slept in the parking lot over night to get a chance to be one of 100 people interviewed.

        And that’s when you know they are paying far, far too much. Again, the guys in line are all fully qualified. And willing to drive to Davis, CA and sleep in line.

        The article also said Davis FD understood it was paying too much.

        So, its hilarious that Sacramento used that as a justification.

        Also, the other issue is that we have too many FD stations. A friend is SFPD and he says they have too many for the current level of fires. So, maybe the pay is not even the biggest issue but the number of people getting it.

        1. I may have my numbers wrong…maybe it was 100 guys sleeping for 20 chances for an interview. The point is the same. Wehn you are willing to sleep overnight just for an application chance, its crazy.

    3. Early retirement for firefighters makes sense.

      Fine. Let them collect at 65 like the rest of us.

      1. Good point. They can find another job in between.

        Or we should have a program where the switch out at 40 to other county/city jobs, thus only pulling danger pay for 20 years max.

        Hey, its for their own safety.

  8. It’s worth pointing out that the often romanticized danger surrounding fire fighters is every bit as mythical as the idea that most of sport six-pack abs.

    And then, on the weekends, they drive to the lake with cigarette boats in tow.

  9. Q. Why are so many firefighters out of shape?

    If you sat around all day watching TV, playing cards, and eating junk food, while waiting for a fire to break out, you’d be out of shape too!

    Maybe these fine public servants could be busy cleaning the parks or running street-cleaning trucks (absolutely non urgent activities) so they would be more active and not get super out of shape. With cell phone communications they could still get to fires pretty damn quickly. After all, haven’t you seen these fine fellows in the grocery store when they claim to be ready at a moment’s notice?

    1. Firefighters respond to a lot more than just fires. Gas leaks, car accidents, medical emergencies, carbon monoxide, stuck elevators, water leaks, plus we do building inspections three days a week and drill at Randalls Island weekly.

      1. This is correct. Firefighters haven’t the foggiest idea how to fix a gas leak or high voltage wire that has fallen to the ground, but they will tell you to stay away until someone who does know, at half his pay, shows up.

        1. Many do know how to handle thise problems, but the city doesnt let us actually fix the problem, we have to wait for Con-Ed or whoever the agency is thats coming.

    2. Q. Why are so many firefighters out of shape?

      I call bullshit on that specific point. It’s rare to see an out-of-shape firefighter in California. They are almost always high school athletes and they have some time on their hands to keep fit . And some money. They don’t buy 20% fat ground beef at the Ralphs supermarket..

      1. [citation needed]

        IOW, you are full of shit and spouting it like a whale.

      2. Let me know when roofing contractors retire at 55 with medical for life and a $100,000/year pension. Hell, I think every hard worker should be so blessed in the Emerald City.

    3. that porn ain’t gonna watch itself.

    4. They don’t actually sit around. Daylight hours are filled with constant maintenance training and inspections. Plus many routine operational and administrative tasks are done by the Firefighters. Building and hydrant inspections, iT systems evaluations and data entry, record keeping and requests. Typically each Firefighter on a shift has an assigned “non firefighting” job that takes up the waking hours.

  10. “555 Fitness, which designs full-body workouts that are inspired by Crossfit and other exercise programs”

    SSSSHHHH! Warty will hear!

    1. Crossfit is a lie propagated by Broki, and it is only right and just that followers of the Way of Iron would disparage the Crossfit Heresy.

    2. Cultfit is big among firefighters and pigs. Something about the RAH RAH GO GO HARDER HARDER FASTER DON’T THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING GO FASTER FASTER mentality appeals to them.

  11. My city use to have some fat fire fighters, some even obese, but a few years ago they disappeared and the present ones now weigh a lot less. Don’t know what happened to them, either fired, retired or hiding in the fire station

    As to pensions, no government employee should get a pension which anywhere near equals or exceeds their full time working pay.

    1. If you live in NJ they retired before the new pension rules got to them.

  12. One of the ways fire fighters negotiate better deals is by arguing that public safety workers have shortened lifespans?in effect, they are not simply sacrificing themselves on the job but by taking the job in the first place. Yet a 2010 study by CalPERS, which covers public-sector workers found that “the life expectancy of safety members is slightly higher than the life expectancy of miscellaneous members.”

    I don’t mind early retirement in that job (the nature of it demands it), but the idea that they are sacrificing themselves is bullshit. Being a professional fireman leaves plenty of time for you to learn a trade to an expert level (and earn decent supplemental income), and by the time you retire as a fireman you can seamlessly transition to working full time, often as the boss.

    My father spent 20 years building houses. Roughly a quarter of his subcontractors at any given time were NYFD or ex-NYFD and in every trade. There’s no general need for the pensions to be as fat as they are.

    1. We had a minor fire and the local FD showed up and took care of things.

      When the remediation company showed up, the first thing he said when he saw the house was, “How far outside of Cook County are we?” I pointed to the end of the street and asked, “Why?” He explained that in Cook County, the Union/pension situation is set up such that the firefighters are do literally nothing except *fight* *fires*. They show up, bust in all the windows, smash doors and furniture as necessary and hose *everything* liberally.

      1. When the insurance adjuster showed up he said, “Wow, we’re not in Chicagoland anymore, this place looks great.” With salted and muddy footprints everywhere, furniture in disarray, and a hole in the roof I said “Whadya mean?” He said, “Did you cover this furniture and move it away from where the fire was?” “No.” “Did the remediation company?” “No.” “Well then… your firefighters took the time and energy to move tables, furniture, and dishes away from where the fire was before they hosed it down. That sort of thing doesn’t really happen except out here in the ‘burbs.”

      2. When the inspector/fire chief showed up, I asked him why they did what they did. He said, “Well, a lot of the guys we have on staff are real pros, when they aren’t working for your Village, they’re working to help crews the next one over. They’ll cover 50-100 fires a year. Several of the others are homeowners and skilled tradesmen in their spare time. They see a hardwood table or recognize a DIY addition and are careful about smashing it up as little as possible.”

        One of the shining examples, IMO, of why libertarianism is preferable to anarchy. There are people who genuinely do, and want to do, a good job in service of the public.

        1. And many who are either ambivalent or malicious and will gravitate to professions with no competitive pressure (union-dominated) or free license to conduct themselves as sociopaths.

  13. I work for another first-responder type business, and the obesity rate is astounding. It amazes me that any of them can actually do their job.

    Budget wise, we’re a little less fat. We’re not state-owned or unionized, and honestly at the rate our guys are getting paid, I wouldn’t blame them (and it pains me to say this) if they tried to start a union. These people do some pretty important shit and we’re paying them less than a McDonald’s shift manager.

  14. Based on my purely anecdotal observations, I can’t see how that can possibly be true. I had a friend go through the fire dept. training school (and graduate) a couple of years ago, and she said they would basically start every day with a 3-5 mile run. Hauling 150-200 lb. sacks up and down stairs in full gear. Crawling through small, dark tunnels filled with smoke while in full-gear plus their breathing tanks. I met several of her classmates and some of the instructors. They were NOT out of shape. This was for a major metro county fire department outside Atlanta.

    I would be more likely to believe this stat if it referred to cops instead. I see out of shape cops ALL THE TIME.

    1. I’m sure most cops are in shape fresh out of cop school, too. Not so much a few years later.

    2. Many college grads are svelte as well.

      People of German/UK extraction tend to get fat as we age.

  15. Unmentioned in this discussion is the horrible gender discrimination in all of these careers. I mean, please = “commercial fishermen, firemen, garbagemen” There is no reason we can’t have fat lazy women doing these same jobs.

  16. not adding anything to the discussion on whether fire-people are fat or not….

    …but odd thing = kid i went to high school with? Not a jock at all, was like the drama-club president… … was mr ‘soft and gentle’, mostly friends with girls…i was pretty convinced he was gay, but he wasn’t, apparently…. I thought he went to Harvard, but apparently he went to B.U. and got a masters degree in something particularly useless….. anyway, so I meet the guy at my high school reunion? he’s a fireman in Mass. and he’s gunning to make Chief. We talked about it for like an hour. He @#($* loved the job. Apparently the career had some kind of philosophical appeal which eluded me. He sort of reminded me of the 1 or 2 other kids who had some kind of “conversion” in college and ended up becoming Rabbis, or devoting their lives to Yoga, or some shit. I think I told him that Fireman was definitely 10x cooler than the other options though. He demurred – apparently the job of Fireman is 80% non-fire related, and they get called out to ‘stand around and look like they’re doing something’ pretty much anytime there’s anything ranging from a leaky water main to any kind of auto accident. (someone’s got to hose the oil up?)

    It was a nice change from the kids I grew up with who became cops -who were, without fail, every single one of them, violent juvenile delinquent idiots that I wouldn’t trust alone in a room with a pack of matches.

    1. I live across the street from a sober living home. Basically its a normal home that houses 6-8 guys trying to go straight. Yay property values. Anyways, these guys don’t always stay straight, so we have ambulances come every month or so.

      And a fire engine.

      And sheriff cars.

      And they sit there and watch the ambulance guys cart out someone in a not so urgent manner.

      The best was when the fire engine backed into the ambulance.

      So, before they took the guy to the ER, the gaggle of highly paid workers spent 15 minutes looking at fender bender damage, scratching their heads.

  17. Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing jobs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8012 a month. I’ve started this job and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…

  18. just before I looked at the bank draft ov $5874 , I have faith that…my… brothers friend woz like they say actualie bringing in money parttime from their computer. . there brothers friend started doing this for only about a year and as of now cleared the loans on their house and bought a new Honda . why not check here……


  19. Odd because firefighters stay in good enough shape to be able to haul people out of burning buildings because it is in their best interest. And my old man is retired SJFD and I used to go up to the station and play basketball with them and the majority of them stay in shape. Now they aren’t cut like male strippers..but the majority of them are deceptively agile because their lives depend on it. There was one guy who looked like Babe Ruth but hooped like Charles Oakley

  20. god damned libertarians always pickin on America’s heroes!!!





  21. my friend’s mother-in-law makes $68 every hour on the computer . She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her pay check was $15127 just working on the computer for a few hours. see post……………

  22. my friend’s mother-in-law makes $68 every hour on the computer . She has been out of a job for 5 months but last month her pay check was $15127 just working on the computer for a few hours. see post……………

  23. Even worse, in parts of California, you can’t build a home unless it is accessible to firefighters; you don’t have the option of taking care of your own fire safety.

    1. I believe this is a sign for you to leave California.

  24. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,

  25. Here in Novato Ca.(northern Marin County) our fire district is an independent body with little to no oversight. Recently the board granted firefighters a 7% raise, 3% COLA and to top it off an $8,000 bonus. They get all of this on top of this: http://transparentcalifornia.c…..-district/

    I feel as if firefighters in San Francisco, Oakland, NY and other large cities should be paid well for the work dangerous work they do. That is not the case in suburban areas like Novato where our fire department is mostly an EMT/ambulance service, jobs that don’t warrant six figure salaries with 13 sick days, 11 paid holidays,4 weeks vacation and 30 year retirement at 90% of pay.

  26. Here in Novato Ca. (northern Marin county) our brave firefighters make twice what their NYC counterparts, who actually fight fires, make. The fire department is an entity separate from the city and has little or no oversight. They recently gave firefighters( mostly emt/ambulance drivers) a 7% raise, 3% COLA and an $8,000 bonus on top of their already six figure salaries along with 13 sick days, 11 paid holidays and 4 weeks vacation.


  27. Can you tell me where you get the 80% figure from?

    I went through the references and can only find one place (The Obesity Epidemic and Future Emergency Responders) that gives this number, and that report refers to firefighter and EMS recruits in one area of Massachusetts, not actual firefighters.

  28. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,

  29. To be fair, I must point out that California is WAAAAYYYYY out of line with the rest of the nation’s compensation levels. We ARE nuts in California.

    FACTS: Average California firefighter paid 60% more than paid firefighters in other 49 states. CA cops paid 56% more. CA 2011 median household income (including gov’t workers) is 13.4% above nat’l avg.

  30. About 72% of our nation’s firefighters are VOLUNTEERS. THOSE are my heroes — not the urban union firefighters who think everyone should lionize them.

  31. While I’m a hated critic of California urban firefighters, I must say that the fitness of these folks is good. I can’t speak to the fitness of pros in other states. After all, like professional athletes, our coddled CA pro firefighters are paid a boodle to work out.

    When we had petition drives for pension reform, the off-duty firefighters would turn out in force to harass petition gatherers, telling people wanting to sign that “we were stealing their identities to use to empty their bank accounts.” Many petitioners quit from the harassment (we still passed the reforms, though it was expensive to get the sigs).

    But it was easy to tell that they were firefighters — they we almost all white males, often had bushy mustaches, were fit and had lots of time to spend harassing petitioners. After all, they work only 10 days a month. It used to really irritate them when I told them that they were firefighter bullies — they thought they were in anonymous mode.

  32. How arrogant those firemen, thinking they should be exempt from the
    low standard of living that is being imposed on most Americans!
    Don’t they understand that non-plutocrats ought to be poor?

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