I am 23 and will be applying to fire departments soon as a career ff. I have a bachelors in business and met license. I have never been arrested and have a clean record with 3 speeding tickets resulting in suspension (3-4 years ago). But when I was 16 I worked a clothes store and gave my friend a large discount that gave him more than $100 dollars in clothes (unpaid) I did it a few times, and I ended up stealing a belt, I was 17 but have learned so much since then, and don't surround myself with anyone that steals or does drugs. I have stopped smoking weed 3 years ago but have tried acid and cocaine once or twice, I was wondering if pursuing a career as a fireman would even be worth it.
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If your record shows it then don't try to hide it. If you tried drugs but it never made it into your record, keep your mouth shut! When you supply references do not supply names of people who know about those things. If the clothing store incident made it into your record then don't hide it. They do background checks and sometimes polygraphs.
I just want to give you a heads up. Considering the state of the economy, many fire depts have closed and some have merged with others. There are fewer jobs to be had. It could be very difficult to find a job in that field. I'm not saying don't attempt but don't expect it to be easy.