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  1. #1
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    Default Army firefighting

    I am prior service. I was a green beret medic in the army. I was medically retired for something stupid. I did my physical and am now fit for duty again. Since I've been out I've been working as an emt and have worked with fire departments and fell in love with the job. I want to be a firefighter but I also would like to go back in the military for financial reasons for me and my wife. I have heard it's near impossible to get a army firefighter slot. I just want to do EMS. In that I include firefighting. I liked being a medic but I really want to fight fire. I have been told it's near impossible to get into the air force as prior service. Someone help. I don't know what to do. I have a child on its way too. So the pay and benefits I really need. What are my best options?


  2. #2
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    Why do you want active duty firefighter? It IS a hard job to get, and there's no garauntee you'll be doing firefighting. Last I heard, depending on rank, they were not letting prior service be 21M firefighters unless you already have the certifications/training. Plus, Army firefighting is extremely boring since the primary focus is prevention. I did it for 23 years, and am now on a municipal department, and a team chief with the Army Reserve.

    Firefighting is something the Army lets you do until they need you to do "Army" stuff. I met plenty 21M in Iraq pulling convoy escorts. I would try checking into a federal civil service jobs (ww.usajobs.opm.gov) or www.cpol.army.mil (Army only).

    The Air Force is the best bet if you want to be primarily a firefighter. Contact your recruiters, OR perhaps a retention NCO from a local base if you have one.
    Last edited by Tiredoldman; 07-24-2008 at 02:24 PM.

  3. #3
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    Exclamation

    The reason I want to be an active duty firefighter is for the benefits. I liked the military before. But I also know I just want to be a firefighter. So I just thought it would be a good fit. So air force you are only fighting fires? What are the typical duties? What is the typical day like? I'll do whatever I need to do to be able to fight fire. But i have a wife and a child on the way. I need to make sure their okay. I just know that financially active duty will meet our needs because of pay, bah and medical insurance. I worked as a paid on call for a county department in socal. Is the air force most similar to that? What would the benefit of going reserve be?

    I talked to a af recruiter today and it sounds near impossible to cross train to be a firefighter after being an army medic. What can i do? I want to be an AF FF so bad. Please Help!!!!!!
    Last edited by djbaldwin2; 07-24-2008 at 06:20 PM. Reason: because

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    Well, I can't help ya with the typical Air Force day. I worked with a few at Balad, and they were treated well compared to us. I'm not saying you won't get lucky and find a position as a 21M active duty somewhere, but needs of the Army come first. My unit just deployed a 21M with an ordinance unit. They "needed" a 21M. Not sure why, since he's pulling tower guard and humping ammo. A few months ago, some A/D 21M guys woke up for PT and got reclassed to plumbers. What a way to start the day.

    There are some AF guys here that can answer your questions, but if a recruiter tells you "I can't", find another recruiter. I wish you luck.

  5. #5
    Worldwide Menace DFurtman's Avatar
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    a typical day in AF fire protection would be like any day at a career fire department.

    Roll call, truck checks, driver fam classes, training, lunch, drills, PT, training, dinner, personal time til morning roll call.

    -Damien

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    so whats the work schedule like? Is it a 3 platoon system like most kelly fire municipals? Is the shift like 0700 to 0700? Do all bases have active duty af fire protection? Do you have lockers and a gym and all the stuff a normal firehouse on the municipal side would have? What kind of apparatus do most af bases run? Are they peirce engine's or what kind of stuff do they use? Sorry I got a lot of questions.

  7. #7
    Worldwide Menace DFurtman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djbaldwin2 View Post
    so whats the work schedule like? Is it a 3 platoon system like most kelly fire municipals? Is the shift like 0700 to 0700? Do all bases have active duty af fire protection? Do you have lockers and a gym and all the stuff a normal firehouse on the municipal side would have? What kind of apparatus do most af bases run? Are they peirce engine's or what kind of stuff do they use? Sorry I got a lot of questions.
    Work schedule is based on what your station dictates. it all pretty much depends on your manning.

    Again.. shift hours mostly depend on manning. I've seen 24 on 24 off, 24 on 48 off, 48 on 48 off, 48 on 72 off.. I haven't seen a station that runs 8 or 12 hour shifts, but i haven't been to many other bases either.

    A lot of bases have AF Fire protection, but many are also going to contracting it out to civilians.. You may have a mixed department (AF running ARFF, civvies running Structural).. it all depends on what your station is doing.

    Station ammenities differ per station.. some are very well taken care of, some suck..

    truck choice depends on the station. Most of the time you'll find some sort of Oshkosh crash truck.. (The P-19 is a very popular crash truck).. at my station, we have a KME pumper, 2 Oshkosh P-19's and a Rosenbauer P-19H..

    -Damien

  8. #8
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    So af firefighters do basically the exact same thing anybody would at a municipal deapartment. Is that correct? Are there any differences? Has anyone done both? It sounds like I would love it but I just want to make sure. I love the military structure from when I was a green beret medic. I worked as a firefighter in orange county, CA. I had to move here to AZ for family reasons. Long story. I love firefighting and just want to make sure I'm making the right career choice. Also does anyone know if there are any bases in washington state that have active duty firefighters? Also how does the airforce do height and weight? Like what if I wqas one pound over max weight? Do they do a tape test or would I not be able to go in until im under the max weight?

  9. #9
    Forum Member sfd1992's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djbaldwin2 View Post
    So af firefighters do basically the exact same thing anybody would at a municipal deapartment. Is that correct? Are there any differences? Has anyone done both? It sounds like I would love it but I just want to make sure.
    I was 4 yr AD, then did 17+ in the Reserve, and I've worked for a city FD for 16 yrs, so I've done both, and for a long time I did both at the same time.

    The AF is going to get you tons of training and tons of certifications, that's the upside.

    The downside is the lack of actual experience. Depending on where you are stationed, and the type of a/c there, you may have a few inflight or ground emergencies, and you'll go on a few AFA's, but unless you have an off-base MA agreement, you're not going to catch much work. Most bases do very limited EMS, if any, as well. Couple the low run volume with the long hours, and it gets tough.

    My advice would be to try getting in the ANG/AF Reserve, and work toward getting on a muni. FD.

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    So it sounds like doing the reserve thing is a good idea. So whats the difference between if I go guard or reserve? Is there any difference in pay or any difference in my ability to go active duty? The main reason I would go active is to be able to get the medical benefits and make a decent wage. I also think my wife is tired of waiting for me to get hired. So on active duty how many bases have ma agreements? Also about how often do you get a trauma call like an mva? Also about how often do you get some kind of fire?

  11. #11
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    Just be warned that on most army bases the military firefighters don't work in the fire station. They are assigned to the EOD and the ordinance guys and end up on details all the time and don't usually get to do their job. Like anything else there are exceptions but it isn't normal to have active duty guys working in the station on a army base. The airforce is really good about keeping the firefighters in the fire station though. You could look for a air guard base and sign up with them as a firefighter. I know the one is charlotte has a handfull of them. Just a thought.

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    Also if the EMS side interests you more look into the air guard for that as well. They do critical care flights out of a few different state side bases that go overseas and pick up wounded and transport them back. it's usually a c-17 set up as a flying ICU. I looked into it (i'm a former JSOMTC instructor) but just didn't work out. i'm a Army civilian FF and the two together was just too much time away from my dog.

  13. #13
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    why not just come back in, maybe as 91W, and volunteer off base...i remember a couple of civilian firefighters from my last base telling me that there are 1 or 2 group guys where they volunteer

  14. #14
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    Well if youíre thinking about reserves id stay away from the Army. Not trying to put down the Army Reserves but my experience is that they never have enough money for certs. Iíve been waiting, and bugging them to send me to inspector 2 and officer 2 since Feb 06, and itís to the point im about to say F it and just pay for them myself. Iíve been with my unit since Dec 03 and I have yet to see them send someone for certs since then, except for the 05 A/T we did have. Besides that, nothing.

    I know of other units that get the same treatment. I know of one unit thatís stuck with an ordinance Co. that doesnít even have bunker gear (No money for the firefighters, go figure). Now on the other side we all have nice new TFFTís that no one really likes from what ive seen.

    Drill training is about 50% must get done stuff (make up crap from the past month, briefings, SRP, Medical, etc) 40% Soldier stuff, 5% B/S, and 5% firefighter stuff. But we donít have a place to train b/c they have us in the middle of town, and then nearest fire field is about a hour away.

    I guess if you just looking for your basic certs then the Army Reserve is the way to go, besides that id go AF if I could do it again.

    Just my 2 cents.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by djbaldwin2 View Post
    so whats the work schedule like? Is it a 3 platoon system like most kelly fire municipals? Is the shift like 0700 to 0700? Do all bases have active duty af fire protection? Do you have lockers and a gym and all the stuff a normal firehouse on the municipal side would have? What kind of apparatus do most af bases run? Are they peirce engine's or what kind of stuff do they use? Sorry I got a lot of questions.
    so u were a team guy? why'd u get out of that? what oda were u with?

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    how far are you from Tucson, AZ?

    Being that you are prior army, you wont get and afsc in anything you want unless they happen to be in need of it in the AF. so no fire fighing! most recruiters of the af will lie to you so they dont have to deal with you since you are prior and you dont count towards the quota....wast of time, lots of paperwork.

    your best bet and easiest way to become a FF is the ANG or AF Reserves. they take prior, and if u can get a good enough recruiter and seem worthy you can get in. what you need to worry about is getting in, and getting to the louis f. garland dod fire academy before u worry about jobs and benefits.

    once you get done with that you become hireable by the state so you can be a full-time ff at that base, you get great pay, full benefits, great retirement (two including 20 years of military) not to mention 24/48 off possible 12 hr kelly day, shift swaps, vacation, personal leave and sick leave.

    its better than active. i seen that the tucson ANG is a hotjob on the GOANG.com so contact a recruiter from there...and try and get on...

  17. #17
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    Default if you're in/near Tucson AZ

    Golder Ranch Fire district is getting ready to hire 6.

    starting is 38K + benni's and a state retirement

    But it's a transitional academy, so you need to be state cert. FF EMT or Medic. (since you were a medic in the Army, you might be able to cert as a Civ. medic)
    their REALLY lookin for medics right now too

  18. #18

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    Hey guys,
    Just here to clear some things up with Active Army Fire Fighting. I've been in the MOS for about a year now and am stationed at Fort Hood with the 507th Fire Fighting Detachment. Honestly, with the army, its all about whom you get placed with. With Fire Fighters in Active Fire Fighting Detachments (Those in Fort Drum, Fort Hood, Fort Stewart etc..) Are under Forscom who manage each respectfully (Although Each Detachment is under a Battalion or Brigade in their respective Duty Station.) For us, we work 24 hours on 24 hours off, having 3 days off after every 8 shifts or so. So yes, there are places that generously allow their fire fighters to perform the desired MOS.

    Now as for getting into the MOS is actually not hard, its whether you want it or not. A recruiter might tell you that the MOS is either A. Non exsistant or B. Being tossed out. Dont believe this, all it takes is pounding your recruiter that you're not there to help him fill up the other MOS's desperately needing people, and trust me if he needs you enough he'll hook you up.

    If your joining up as a prior service you do not need prior Certs, yet another lie so that you don't pick up the MOS. Just think of it this way, why would they send you to a school for the MOS that GIVES your Certs needed for basic military firefighting if they need you to have them first...doesn't make sense now does it. :P So don't let that discourage you.

    Just to wrap things up with the Army 21M series is all about luck of the draw and where you go, and I'll be honest with you theres quite a few places you might not wanna go. I hope some of this info somewhat helps you .

  19. #19
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    Default I just got back from school

    I am in the national guard and just got back from school I have heard the same about the air force but there was about 1 or 2 active Army guys so there must be slots just not many alot of instuctors came from similiar places. The only thing I would suggest is TRY what are they going to tell you other than sorry. I would definately suggest national guard over reserves but chair force is spoiled. If yor can atleast get in the school as a reserve or guard dod civilian is also an option. with those certs from the school you could probably get on especially prior service If i didnt want to stay in Idaho Id definately be a dod civilian but Im stubborn and keep trying for the same dept. Im close to the same boat your in except im not willing to move. Ill give it a few years before Ill either try active or dod civilian I hope I helped but not too much

  20. #20
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    My husband is 21M at Fort Rucker Alabama. The shifts here vary because there are so many stage fields since this is where the pilots are trained. There is basic 9-5 type, 24 hr, and 18 hr shifts. We were told no way no how would he be able to get 21m but they found him a spot and we have been at rucker for 2.5 yrs now. If you want to do medic type stuff then I recommend coming here and trying to get on at cairns stage field at flat iron. Thats where my husband has been for over a year. They are the medivac unit here and they have a firefighter on board the aircraft in every flight. He is basically a assistant to the medic as they only have a fire extinguisher for a fire! He loves it though and has been on several crashes. They do not only do military calls but they do missions as well for the 3 cities we associate with. He has been on search and rescues, vehicle accidents, hospital transfers etc. If you think you can handle flying everyday you might really like it here. There is only about 4 firefighters at flat iron at a time so as you can imagine its desired by most of the firefighters at the other stage fields. You do get the bonus of flight pay too which is nice.

    kristina
    Last edited by Kristmatt; 11-04-2008 at 09:46 AM.

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