Hi DAve, you are so right about western Pa.
My husband was an airport firefighter in the USMC, when he got out we moved back to Pa. He was on the city of pittsburgh list for 4 years (number 4 on the list!) the darned list expired and they never hired from it. We hoped that the county would hire but we never could find out when the test was given. We gave up and moved out of the city, around that time Pittsburgh tested again, he didn't waist his time to be disappointed again...then they hired off of "this" list. Such as life. Where we live all of the other dept. are Volunteer and if you want a job in the only few small paid deptartment you better be related to someone. My husband was over qualified for all of the dept. he applied to but it was like jumping through hoops..the only places hiring were back down south and we didn't want to leave the area again. For any younger guy looking to be a paid firefighter, I say "good luck". He ended up taking a job he likes, but he really was an awesome firefigher and it's very sad that he could't continue to work in his dream job. Melissa