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Second Job


Old school sign

As I’ve mentioned before, many firemen have a second or part time job.  There is no limit to what one can get in to with as much time off as a firemen has.  We work 48 hour shifts and then get four days off in a row.  So if you don’t have a part time gig, you are going to become quite bored.  Believe me.  I’ve been there!

So what kind of part time jobs are we talking about here?  Well, a lot of guys actually work for private ambulance services as Paramedics.  There are several companies in the area and the pay is actually not bad.  Shifts are usually 12 or 24 hours, so you can work one or two shifts on your four days off and make a nice little second income.  For me, I am not a big fan of ambulance work.  I have to deal with the ambulance enough at my primary job, so the thought of spending any additional time in that box of death is not appealing to me at all.

A handful of guys at the firehouse are quite handy, so they do things such as rehabbing old houses, or redo kitchens and stuff like that.  One guy actually does some woodwork.  He makes chairs and cabinets and those kind of things.  I spent a day in his “shop” and was quite impressed with all of the equipment he had in there.  Some really expensive stuff in there!  I asked him how he paid for all of the stuff and he said he was actually able to get a small business loan.  The name of his company is backdraft woodworking.  Kind of cheesy if you ask me.  Anyway, he makes some cool stuff.  He also works at his dad’s auto detailing shop a few days a week.  His car always looks amazing!

So what about me?  I design websites.  Yeah, that’s right.  Bet you didn’t know a firefighter would know anything about designing websites.  I design websites for all kinds of small businesses in the St. Louis area.  I’m getting pretty good at it and the money is outstanding.  Its nice having some extra cash to go on vacations and things like that.  I actually have a bachelors degree in Information Systems so I feel like I’m putting my education to use.  Might as well, after paying all that money in tuition.  I actually am working on the website for Backdraft Woodworking.  Its going to look great and hopefully send a lot of business Brian’s way.

So as you can see, there is no limit to what a firefighter can do with his off time.  Some of the younger guys just hang out and party with their free time.  Not a bad way to go either, but I’m getting too old for all of that partying nowadays.  Ha.  Talk to you soon!

A Day in the Life



One of the most common questions I hear as a firefighter is, “What is life like at the firehouse?”  That’s a great question and although there is no such thing as a “common day” at the firehouse, there a few everyday activities and routines that I will tell you about.  The best part of this job is that no two days are exactly alike…believe me.

The work day starts at 7am.  The first thing I do when I arrive at the firehouse is find the person who I will be relieving.  What does that mean?  Well, I relieve the person who is in the same spot on the truck that I will be in.  So if someone is driving the pumper, and my assignment is to be the pumper driver, then I relieve him.  Basically, he tells me all about his crews’ shift and if there are any important things about the pumper that I will need to know.  Once I am done talking to him, he goes home and I put my gear on the truck.  My gear consists of bunker pants, a coat, helmet, gloves, and mask.  I check the SCBA that I will be using on the truck to ensure that the air bottle is full and all of the gadgets on the airpack are working correctly, including the alarm that sounds if the airpack is on and I don’t move.  It is a built in safety device.  If  I get in trouble or injured on a fire scene, the alarm will sound so other firefighters can find me and rescue me…god forbid.

After I complete getting all of my stuff on the truck I head to the kitchen to make some breakfast.  Yes, all of my meals for the next 48 hours will be at the firehouse.  We make our own breakfasts and lunch.  Dinner is a group effort and everyone pitches in to make a delicious dinner.  I usually drink a cup of coffee or two with breakfast to get going and watch some local news.  My breakfast of choice is usually eggs and yogurt. At 8am, everyone meets at the kitchen table to discuss the plan for the day.  We usually discuss what the training for the day will be and what buildings we will be inspecting that shift.  We perform building inspections at every business in our district on a  yearly basis to make sure they are compliant with all fire codes.  It is a great way to meet the local business owners.

After our morning meeting, we go out to check all of the equipment on the truck.  This includes chainsaws, K12 saws, portable lighting, rescue tools, and the hydraulic pumps on both of the trucks.  We have two trucks at my firehouse.  One is a pumper that is also referred to as the engine.  The other truck is a 75 foot ladder truck with a retractable ladder on top that extends 75 feet into the air.  This is considered the “truck” and is used for fire suppression and rescue.  It is an enormous truck.  Once we complete the truck checks, we go to the fuel pump to make sure our trucks have plenty of fuel.  Then, its off to the store to buy the things we will need to make dinner.

Throughout the course of the day, we will perform the already mentioned inspections, train on our firefighting skills, and run calls when they come in.  We typically run between 5 and 10 calls a day between medical calls and fire related calls.  We also run on a good amount of car accidents in our district.

Dinner is the final part of the day.  We all eat together and then have a cup of coffee while we watch the evening news.  We call it “family time”.  After family time we clean the kitchen and then the rest of the night is up to you.  Lots of the guys watch movies in the TV room while others retreat to their bedrooms to try and get some sleep before the next day when it all starts over again.  Personally, I work on my part time job as a financial consultant.  I advise people on their personal finances and even assist with the occasional small business loan.  Its something I picked up in college and provides me with a great second income.  That’s another thing about being a firefighter that I love.  The schedule allows us to pursue other interests in our off time or take on a second job.  Most of the guys at the firehouse have at least two jobs.

Well that’s just a little about what a typical day is like at the firehouse.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Talk to you soon!

Lynn Pligg at your Service

Into the fire

Hello.  My name is Lynn Pligg.  I am a firefighter with the St. Louis Fire Department.  I have been in the fire service for 20 years and have seen it all.  The purpose of this website is to give a behind the scenes view of the world of firefighting.  Most people do not realize all of the things that firefighters do and rarely get a candid look behind the garage doors of the fire house.  There is no better job in the world and I will attempt to show all of you at home just why that is.

A little more about myself…  I grew up in Crestwood, MO and had a great childhood.  I attended St. Louis University HIgh School.  I then went on to attend the University of Dayton.  I majored in computers of all things and graduated with a bachelors degree several years ago.  I entered the workforce upon graduating and never felt like the 9 to 5 world was for me.  I hated the office environment and spent all of my days staring at the clock, waiting to get the hell out of there.  I worked for several companies for a few years and never felt like I fit in that environment.

I had a family friend who had been a firefighter and now works full time as a Paramedic in St. Charles, MO.  I spoke with him once at a wedding and expressed my distaste with my professional situation.  He told me that I should be a firefighter.  At first I was like, “yeah right. Me?”  The thought of being a firefighter had honestly never even entered my mind before that night.  However, he described the profession in such a way that I could tell that he really loved it.  The ability to only work 10 days a month and actually pursue another career in my off time was very appealing.  I always wanted to start a towing service, and thought maybe this could actually work.  I was excited!

The next day I got on the internet and figured out exactly what I needed to do.  I enrolled in EMT school a few days later and I was on my way.  EMT school was rather easy and only took 3 months to complete.  I got a job with a local ambulance service and started getting some experience.  I then enrolled in Paramedic school.  Paramedic school was a bit more intense and took 2 years to complete.  After that I was lucky enough to get a spot in the Fire Academy.  The rest is history and I plan on telling some interesting stories about my career with the fire department on this very website.  Feel free to ask questions and make comments on any post on this page.