POSTED: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 7:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 7:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Since the economy’s downturn the Baton Rouge Fire Department has seen more and more applicants coming from all walks of life, many times after they had followed their first career path for years.
For some the choice is the realization of a life-long dream.
“My previous career I was there for nearly eight years. It was very secure, reliable, safe, but I knew all along it wasn't something I wanted to do my entire life," said Orlando Wallace, a new recruit with the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
"This has been a life-long dream, something I’ve wanted to do since I was very, very young. And it's all about following your dream," explained Warren Martin, another new recruit and former educator.
For others their motivation for the career change was a little more practical.
“With health care, the way the economy was set up, it wasn't real secure, things were starting to get a little shaky, and the opportunity presented itself to join up with the fire department, so I jumped on it as soon as I can," shared Terrance Dunn. Dunn spent his first career working in a psychiatric hospital.
Regardless of their reasons for joining the fire department, the reality is more and more people are choosing it as a second career.
"There’s a multitude of things that we're required to do as recruits, so it was a huge, huge sacrifice my family had to make," shared Martin of the decision to switch.
Orlando Wallace said he had a comfortable career as an insurance auditor, and though the choice was a tough one, he said he's never regretted the switch.
“It was a very scary decision, as I’ve said, my previous career was very good to me, but I knew it was something I didn't want to do long term. It wasn't fulfilling in every way, like this has been for me so far," added Wallace.
And for the three new firefighters we spoke to, the plan is to make this second career their life-long job.
"It’s not just going to be a short term thing. It’s going to be long term, so I am going to stay here as long as I can," shared Dunn.
"When you really want to do something like this, you'll find a way to make it happen, you know that's what I really believe and so I did," Wallace shared.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department is accepting applications for their latest class. Click here to find out how to apply.