1. #1
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    Default McMurdo Fire Dept, Antarctica

    Hey all, I've done a bunch of searching around this site, but I wanted to see if I could get some more recent information about firefighting down in Antarctica. I know it's run through Raytheon, but I would love to get some first hand information from people who have been down there about the application process, tips and tricks on getting hired, and the inside scoop about their time down there. I'm looking forward to hearing from any of you who've been down there. Thanks!

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    Default

    There's a member of the IACOJ who worked there this past year. I've sent her the link to your thread.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Default

    A few regulars from here worked there. I think there is still one or two folks working at Kwaj who used to work there as well....

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    Default

    I'd like to get information as well. I'm chomping at the bit for this job the minute I get out of college.

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    I hear the jobs changed from what it used to be. Its no longer 24 on ,24 off. Your now working a 12 hour shift and then getting off work in the evening. At least I think its 12 hours, it could be 8 and I have been misinformed about the actual duty hours. But either way, its not much compensation. Nor is it enough time to recover from a long night.
    Which do exist down there.
    Overall you will find the travel worth most of the time spent on the Ice, and the people you meet. Its a shining comunity. But your going to run out of that feeling within the first two weeks. So try to explore the area. At times I felt like I was stuck in a isolated college town in Colorado. With way less girls. (cool if your a female firefighter) But, Its cold as hell & you grow tired of eating the food from a dining hall.
    Beware Raytheon likes to treat thier employees like children. If you laugh at this stuff, trust me in a few months Im sure there will be replys to this email Saying "dude you were right on!" But stupid people have made the company overly cautious in a way that makes the more responsible adults annoyed.
    Do it if you get the chance, embrace the uniqueness of the entire adventure. New Zealand is a great experience some travel around the world, but easily jump over to Australia, and stop over in Hawaii.
    The community often depends on the firefighters as a moral boost. If your good to the public on and off-duty. You will be invited to social events galore. The fire department has had a bad rap down there for years. But we worked hard to enjoy our time down there. Also, the Kiwis will shine to you if you are liked, invite you to thier base for dinners, etc.
    Theres alot of truth to what Ive said, maybe not exact to some of the other peoples experience down there. But one season on the Ice and you will understand. Six months was more enough, and the majority of my friends who've been there longer wished they had seeked other employment elsewhere mainly for monitary purposes.
    Sharon Digiacomo used to be the Chief, she was supportive and very involved with the crews. Not really sure who is running the ops now. But he/she would have to be a hell of a chief to replace her. The company drives out good employees to save money. Good supervisors get tired of the spending habits of corporations who don't wish to fund or support their operations. Which leads to slots needing to be filled.
    Sometimes it doesn't matter what you hear about a place, you just have to see for yourself. If you can get in touch with someone on the Ice this year get ahold of the crews there now and ask them. Im not going to answer any questions personally. Ive offered all the feedback and examples I wish to on this position. Good luck to anyone applying. And if you get hired stay away from the skuas.
    Last edited by Jetsettingfire1; 01-02-2010 at 02:56 AM.

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    Default Here are two blogs

    This guy is there now and has an interesting blog:

    http://mcpenguin.livejournal.com/

    This person spent a few years there:

    http://peak38.livejournal.com/

    I've emailed both of them and they have been friendly and helpful.

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    Default Here are two blogs

    This guy is there now:

    http://mcpenguin.livejournal.com/

    This one worked there for a few seasons:

    http://peak38.livejournal.com/

    I've emailed both of them and they were very friendly and helpful.

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    Cool Winterover?

    Hello there...did you do a winterover or were you there for the summer? Thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by Jetsettingfire1 View Post
    the jobs changed from what it used to be. Its no longer 24 on and 24 off shift cycles. your working a 12 hour shift and then getting off work again to do the same thing again tomorrow. At least I think its 12 hours, it could be 8 and I have been misinformed about the actual duty hours. But either way, its not enough to compensate what your expected to do on the job. Nor is it enough time to recover from a long night. Think about it. 8 on and off for 6 months. Lame.
    Overall you will find the travel worth most of the time spent on the Ice, but your going to run out of that feeling within the first two weeks. Its like being stuck in a isolated college town in Denver Colorado. With less chicks. (cool if your a female firefighter) But, Its cold as hell & you grow sick of eating ****ty food from a dining hall, and the best thing to do when you're not at school...uh hmm. I mean work is to get drunk in your dorm or at the bars. Raytheon also likes to treat thier employees like children. If you laugh at this stuff, trust me in a few months Im sure there will be replys to this email Saying "dude you were right on"
    Its pretty lame the way its worked out these days. But if you get the chance, embrace the uniqueness of the entire adventure. New Zealand was a great experience on the way home, so was Australia, and Hawaii. And you never know. You may end up finding that dream gir/guyl you always wanted. It happens down there, trust me.
    The community often depends on the firefighters as a moral boost. If your good to the public on and off-duty. You will be invited to social events galore. The fire department has had a bad rap down there for years. (Except for the 2005 season. I will blow my season up a bit). But we worked hard to enjoy our time down there. Also, the Kiwis will shine to you if you are liked, invite you to thier base for dinners, etc.
    Theres alot of truth to what Ive said, maybe not exact to some of the other peoples experience down there. But one season on the Ice and you will understand. Six months was more enough, and the majority of my friends who've been there longer wished they had seeked other employment elsewhere.
    Sharon Digiacomo used to be the Chief, she was supportive and very involved with the crews. Not really sure who is running the ops now. But he/she would have to be a hell of a chief to replace her. The company drives out good employees to save money. Good supervisors get tired of the spending habits of corporations who don't wish to fund or support their operations. Which leads to slots needing to be filled.
    Sometimes it doesn't matter what you hear about a place, you just have to see for yourself. If you can get in touch with someone on the Ice this year get ahold of the crews there now and ask them. Im not going to answer any questions personally. Ive offered all the feedback and examples I wish to on this position. Good luck to anyone applying. And if you get hired stay away from the skuas.

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    Cool Hello

    Hey guys how is life at the bottom of the world?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetsettingfire1 View Post
    the jobs changed from what it used to be. Its no longer 24 on and 24 off shift cycles. your working a 12 hour shift and then getting off work again to do the same thing again tomorrow. At least I think its 12 hours, it could be 8 and I have been misinformed about the actual duty hours. But either way, its not enough to compensate what your expected to do on the job. Nor is it enough time to recover from a long night. Think about it. 8 on and off for 6 months. Lame.
    This is not correct. There was a winter crew that worked a town schedule, but the summer schedule on the Ice is still 24 on/24 off with a K day. The normal town schedule in McMurdo is 9 hours a day, 6 days a week. The fire department is 24 on/off with a K day. They have about the best schedule of anyone on the Ice.

    I will try to post some info here later, but if you have any questions e-mail me at airrj1@gmail.com I have several years on the Ice not just in the FD. The first step is submitting your resume to Raytheon through http://www.rayjobs.com/ One simple little thing is be sure that your resume states that you are a firefighter specifically. RayJobs is really bad at searching peoples resumes.

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    Exclamation Raytheon is still hiring to fill firefighter positions

    I am the new fire chief for Raytheon Polar Services Company. I recently retired from Air Force, Civil Service, fire protection and decided to take on this challenging job. The world of Raytheon hiring and how they do business different than what the Air Force was. So, if I can be of help answering your questions, please drop me a message. For now I'll post some basic information.

    Chief Lawler:

    -- Mission: To support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), United States Antarctic Program, (USAP) http://www.usap.gov/index.cfm

    -- Raytheon Polar Services Company: Contracted by the NSF to provide fire protection, inspections, rescue, structural, ARFF and HazMat services

    -- Department: 55 members; 2 permanent full-time; all other's seasonal (contract) full-time;3 fire stations; McMurdo Station, Pegasus Airfield (~15 miles from McMurdo), & South Pole Station

    -- Aircraft: LC-130’s, C-17, DC-3T (Basler), DHC-6, Bell-212, Eurocopter-AS350

    -- Living Conditions: Free room & board, dorm style living, central dinning facility, small store, fitness area’s, limited recreation area’s

    -- Web Pic’s: wttp://www.newzeal.com/theme/bases/Mcmurdo/MaccaFire.htm

    -- Main Base McMurdo: Volcanic island, no vegetation, gravel roads, average
    summer population:~1,000, located next to Ross Ice Shelf (77 degrees 51 minutes S, 166 degrees 40 minutes E)

    -- Firefighter Seasonal Work Periods: (Approximate Dates This Season)
    Win-Fly Deployment: 3 August 2009 – 20 Feb 2010 (25 Weeks)
    Main-Body Deployment: 14 Sep 2009 - 20 Feb 2010 (20 Weeks)
    Winter-Over Deployment: 3 Feb 2010 - 8 Oct 2010 (33 Weeks)

    -- How We hire: We hire within two basic categories “Primary” positions are guaranteed jobs, “Alternate” positions are needed to back-fill primary positions, some recruits get “cold-feet” and/or can’t complete the medical- exams and back-ups are needed. Those accepting alternate offers will process up to the point of travel.

    -- Physical Qualifications: NSF requires (and reimburses for) strict physical examinations and dental evaluation for all personnel going to Antarctica. Physiological exams required for winter-over positions

    -- Free trip to New Zealand, twice: Deploy and return through Christchurch NZ!

    -- Benefits: Health, Life, ADD, and Vision Insurance, Optional 401K program available

    -- Once in a life time experience: Support American Scientists and contribute to strengthening the Antarctic Fire Department. Good seasonal job!

    -- Questions: Contact Captain Neel Pahl at neel.pahl.contractor@usap.gov or Fire Chief, Mark S. Lawler at mark.lawler.contractor@usap.gov

    -- How to apply: Sign up at RayJobs: http://www.rayjobs.com/ Use requisition numbers to search for positions: Captain: TSC113618, Lieutenant: TSC113620, Firefighter: TSC113619, Dispatcher:TSC113622, Dispatcher Supervisor: TSC11347
    Last edited by mslchief; 06-09-2009 at 10:13 AM.

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    Hey, welcome Chief!!

    Sounds like you have a very interesting job. I have one question though....

    Don't get a headache from being upside down all the time at the bottom of the earth???





    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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    Chief,

    Whats the turn around time like once we submit our resume? I just put mine in today, so im not expecting anything to come back to me immediately. Thanks ahead of time, maybe i'll see you down there if all goes well. Take care and be safe.

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    Smile Antarctic headache?

    Typical firefighter humor....Not so much of a headache for that reason but some people have a difficult time adjusting to firefighting at the South Pole with an elevation of 10,000 feet AGL the thin atmosphere does cause some headaches for some. Big challenges with the cold weather as well.

    We are in the final stages of filling our ranks, we are about 60% complete. The process to get an interview is to go to RayJobs, setup an account, enter your resume and answer the online questions. Once that is completed you well be in the system. Our HR staff evaluates your information and advances a "few" candidates to us at fire everyweek. Based on how deep you are listed the system realy determines when you might get advanced. Get you information into our system early is my recommendation.

    Aloha for now...
    MSL

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    Default

    Just wondering what are the required certs to even apply for a firefighters position in Antarctica? Also I made a "profile" on Raytheon's site however, is there anywhere we can submit an actual resume?

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    Default Just happened to find this post

    Strangely enough, I actually just stumbled across this post while I was applying for the McMurdo Fire Department.

    Chief, I was just wanting to double check what you meant by the "online questions" in your post above.

    I have the the resume and cover letter submitted, but I just wanted to be sure that I haven't missed a step. Are those questions simply the "job profile" and "login preferences" information?

    Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

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    Default On-Line Questions

    These are the on-line questions I am referring to:

    1. This position will deploy to Antarctica for a period of time. Are you willing to work in Antarctica?
    2. To be eligible for employment with the Polar Services Program in a position that deploys to Antarctica, candidates must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or be a citizen or a residence permit holder of New Zealand. Do you meet this requirement?
    3. Do you have a High school diploma or equivalent?
    4. Do you currently have your Firefighter I certification?
    5. Do you currently have your EMT-B (or higher) certification?
    6. Do you currently have Hazardous Materials First Responder certification?
    7. Do you have at least two years of firefighter experience?
    8. Did you read the description and the requirements for this position, and do you agree that you have the basic qualifications?

    These questions should be on the RayJobs site at the same place where you "attach" your resume.

    Our fire recruiter is Ms. Audra Ader. Contact her if you have any RayJobs hiring questions. The web based hiring system can be a bit daunting so follow-up if you are not sure...You should be getting an auto-rply e-mail if you have accessed the system correctly.
    E-mail, audra.ader.contractor@usap.gov
    1-800-688-8606 ext 32163
    1-720-568-2163

    Chief Lawler

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    Thumbs up on-line process - refinement

    Hey I am new here as well and offer some additional detail.

    Do this:
    Step-1: Set-up a RayJobs account and attach/post your resume
    Step-2: Find the "Button" to search for jobs. In the key words field type in firefighter or type in the requisition number for a position you’re interested in and qualified for. You submit for each category separately, e.g. fire captain, fire lt, firefighter, and dispatcher etc. I posted the requisition numbers earlier in this thread. Open the job, you will see a job description, click apply to this job and the questions will become visible. Complete your questions and enter submit.

    Chief Lawler

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    mslchief: Question... Does the two years of firefighting experience only count for career firefighting or does volunteer count too?

    EDIT: Please don't start a volly vs. career argument.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireWA1 View Post
    mslchief: Question... Does the two years of firefighting experience only count for career firefighting or does volunteer count too?

    EDIT: Please don't start a volly vs. career argument.
    FireWA1: Volunteer time counts. Volunteers are the backbone of the American fire service.

    MSLChief

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    Default help

    cant find any firefighter jobs listed even with number

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    They should have already completed the hiring for this year. They usually start the hiring process in January for the upcoming summer season which starts in August/October.

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    Default experience necessary?

    I'm straight out of the academy. Is it possible to get a contract job without having any experience?

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsmeltz View Post
    I'm straight out of the academy. Is it possible to get a contract job without having any experience?
    Nope, you need exp.

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    Actually, you can get hired without experience. Not at all of the places out there (Iraq for one), but I worked in Antarctica with a few people who had no experience other than their academy. Naturally, they prefer people with experience, but as long as you have the minimum certs (for Raytheon these are: FF I, Hazmat Awareness, and EMT Basic), then you may get hired.

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