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Thread: Back to firefighting after the military...

  1. #1
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    Default Back to firefighting after the military...

    Brothers,

    I have a few questions I was hoping some of you experienced folk might be able to assist me with. At the present time I am an Infantry Officer (1LT) in the United States Army on active duty overseas in Germany. I used to be a Firefighter in California and enjoyed the job very much and I'm quite intent on getting back to it after my contract is up in two years. The problem I am facing is for one, I've been out of the loop for awhile and not quite current on what the hiring trends are like now, and secondly I am overseas which obviously makes the job hunt a bit more complicated. My qualifications are as follows:

    Formal Education:
    -AS in Fire Science
    -AA in Social Behavioral Science
    -BA in History
    -Minor in Anthropology
    -3.98 cumulative GPA, Summa Cum Laude

    Fire/EMS Experience:
    -Honor Graduate of Butte Fire Academy in California
    -Associate's Degree in Fire Science
    -EMT experience (2 years on a BLS Ambulance)
    -Firefighting experience (2 years as a Firefighter 1 at CalFire)
    -The following Certifications:
    *CalFire Basic Firefighter
    *CalFire Basic Wildland Firefighter
    *Low Angle Rescue
    *Incident Command System 100 & 200
    *Terrorism Consequence Management
    *Vehicle Extrication
    *Fire Control III
    *Confined Space Awareness
    *Swift Water Rescue
    *Rapid Intervention Crew Tactics
    *Hazardous Materials-First Responder Operational
    *Firefighter Survival

    Military Experience:
    -Distinguished Military Graduate from commissioning source (19th out of 4,500+ officers)
    -Airborne qualified
    -Safety Officer Qualified
    -Company Fire Warden Officer
    -Platoon Leader
    -Executive Officer
    -Officer Recruiter
    -Perfect Physical Fitness Record
    -Numerous Awards
    -Will achieve rank of Captain prior to departing the service

    I'm glad I joined the Army and the leadership, training, and comradeship I've experienced is invaluable and irreplaceable, however I feel that I have served my country in this capacity and can now return to the fire service knowing I did my part. From the perspective of a current Fire Officer, do I still remain competitive for a valued position back in the fire house? Would you look favorably upon a Veteran applicant with Officer experience even though my service time has kept me out of the loop in Fire/EMS?

    I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks, and be safe...


  2. #2
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    Sounds like you know what to do, so why did you come on here and ask? And to be honest no one here wants to see you bragging. You need to humble yourself and remember how to be a boot. Highlight your strong points but remember vets come a dime a dozen these days, competition will be fierce. Has your EMT lapsed? That would be the biggest obstacle.
    -Fellow vet
    Quote Originally Posted by InfantryLT View Post
    Brothers,

    I have a few questions I was hoping some of you experienced folk might be able to assist me with. At the present time I am an Infantry Officer (1LT) in the United States Army on active duty overseas in Germany. I used to be a Firefighter in California and enjoyed the job very much and I'm quite intent on getting back to it after my contract is up in two years. The problem I am facing is for one, I've been out of the loop for awhile and not quite current on what the hiring trends are like now, and secondly I am overseas which obviously makes the job hunt a bit more complicated. My qualifications are as follows:

    Formal Education:
    -AS in Fire Science
    -AA in Social Behavioral Science
    -BA in History
    -Minor in Anthropology
    -3.98 cumulative GPA, Summa Cum Laude

    Fire/EMS Experience:
    -Honor Graduate of Butte Fire Academy in California
    -Associate's Degree in Fire Science
    -EMT experience (2 years on a BLS Ambulance)
    -Firefighting experience (2 years as a Firefighter 1 at CalFire)
    -The following Certifications:
    *CalFire Basic Firefighter
    *CalFire Basic Wildland Firefighter
    *Low Angle Rescue
    *Incident Command System 100 & 200
    *Terrorism Consequence Management
    *Vehicle Extrication
    *Fire Control III
    *Confined Space Awareness
    *Swift Water Rescue
    *Rapid Intervention Crew Tactics
    *Hazardous Materials-First Responder Operational
    *Firefighter Survival

    Military Experience:
    -Distinguished Military Graduate from commissioning source (19th out of 4,500+ officers)
    -Airborne qualified
    -Safety Officer Qualified
    -Company Fire Warden Officer
    -Platoon Leader
    -Executive Officer
    -Officer Recruiter
    -Perfect Physical Fitness Record
    -Numerous Awards
    -Will achieve rank of Captain prior to departing the service

    I'm glad I joined the Army and the leadership, training, and comradeship I've experienced is invaluable and irreplaceable, however I feel that I have served my country in this capacity and can now return to the fire service knowing I did my part. From the perspective of a current Fire Officer, do I still remain competitive for a valued position back in the fire house? Would you look favorably upon a Veteran applicant with Officer experience even though my service time has kept me out of the loop in Fire/EMS?

    I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks, and be safe...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozennorth View Post
    Sounds like you know what to do, so why did you come on here and ask? And to be honest no one here wants to see you bragging. You need to humble yourself and remember how to be a boot. Highlight your strong points but remember vets come a dime a dozen these days, competition will be fierce.
    That was refreshing...... actually not really. If he would have stated the opposite and not told you anything about his experience you would have told him to use the search bar and asked what experience he has. Way to make a "fellow Vet" feel welcome on the forum and your post served nothing but to try and check an officer. Congrats on that.

    InfantryLT, first off if you went into the military from a paid fire department I am pretty sure that they have to hold the position you held do to soldier and sailor act. Now that maybe a myth but I would like to think it is true. Secondly, learn to deal with guys like the first that responded to you thinking that since they were enlisted and you are commissioned that they can give you a hard time during your probie years. Your service means a lot in the testing world! Typically 5 to 10 extra points on civil service tests. That wont carry you to far though, I have disabled vet points and scored 90%ish on the fdny test and I am number 5000. So most importantly, and this was the hardest part of my transition was dealing with the smartass answers from under qualified leaders (like the above answer) who have no experience except the fire academy classes they have and watching other company officers and mimicking them. The second one was transitioning from great pay to leaving on nothing, once you get past about 4 or 5 years then you will start to see decent cash dependent on where you get on. Good luck from another vet

  4. #4
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    Yes your service will at least look good, and some places give you points

    Is your emt current ???

    What state do you want to settle in

    You more then likely know calif is hard to get hired in

    If you do not mind Tx come on down

    http://www.tcfp.texas.gov/job_postings/jobs.asp


    http://www.tcfp.texas.gov/certificat...ansferring.asp

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    Most of my reply was in jest. But this guy has his head on, the only hang up he may have is if his emt cert isn't current, if it is lapsed, a semester+ of retraining. If the LT was in less than 5 years he absolutely has the rights to his old job. Keep on keeping on.
    Last edited by frozennorth; 12-05-2012 at 05:09 PM.
    CFD11 likes this.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozennorth View Post
    Most of my reply was in jest. But this guy has his head on, the only hang up he may have is if his emt cert isn't current, if it is lapsed, a semester+ of retraining. If the LT was in less than 5 years he absolutely has the rights to his old job. Keep on keeping on.
    That is if you are in the reserves and maybe guard

    If you quit a job and join active duty, your job is not held

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by frozennorth View Post
    Most of my reply was in jest. But this guy has his head on, the only hang up he may have is if his emt cert isn't current, if it is lapsed, a semester+ of retraining. If the LT was in less than 5 years he absolutely has the rights to his old job. Keep on keeping on.
    My apologies then frozennorth, I must have misread or perceived it the wrong way. To many times I feel on this forum can be a snake pit for people wanting to get into a career that we are lucky enough to have. To many times have I seen did you use the search bar or bashing due to other notes. Everyone has their own set of circumstances and the magic search bar doesn't really spell out what they are asking or looking for. Sometimes we, and I mean myself as well, seem to eat our own in the fire service and forget that we have the greatest job in the world and anytime that we may help someone else achieve that is a good day(as long as the person is worth their salt in a fire). So that is why I posted how I posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    That is if you are in the reserves and maybe guard

    If you quit a job and join active duty, your job is not held
    I did some quick googling and found this, now if its right is another story but it spells out that active duty guys rate to get there job back if the information is correct...........
    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justi...n/a/userra.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by CFD11 View Post
    I did some quick googling and found this, now if its right is another story but it spells out that active duty guys rate to get there job back if the information is correct...........
    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/justi...n/a/userra.htm
    LT I would strongly suggest you look into that link and talk with base legal to find out the exact details of what your previous department is obligated to do.

  10. #10
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    Law states 5 years. Even though you're AD check with the ESGR in your state or your county vet rep.

  11. #11
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    Gentlemen,

    Thanks for the info, much appreciated. Yes, even from you Frozennorth. Maybe once to many crappy officers in your CoC? Anyway, my EMT has indeed lapsed and will most definitely have be retaken. Is paramedic still the golden ticket? I don't think I'd take that route in any case though. Unfortunately, I cannot immediately return to my old job because it will be over 5+ years once my contract is up (that, and I'm not to keen on returning to California), but I could start as a seasonal wildland Firefighter again. I'm more interested in anywhere in the Pacific Northwest to be honest, however you have to go wherever you can get a job. Texas would be great actually, in fact its rather ironic because right now everyone is talking about whether you guys will secede from the union and my Platoon Sergeant puts "Secede" stickers everywhere haha. Thanks again guys...

  12. #12
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    Texas emt will get you in, paramedic cuts out a lot more competition !!!


    Good luck

    How soon do you rotate back to the states

    Also check some of the vet reemployment stuff going on, some place back east hired mainly vets for ff position

  13. #13
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    LT,
    Paramedic is a definite boon, but EMT-B is sufficient. With vets points you have a great shot at being on the top of any list. Be sure to get a VA physical, a disability rating could get you more points, and it can't be used against you. In my past I had to re-do EMT due to a lapse, not fun.
    If you have time do the NIMS 700/800 online. Your CAL certs might be tough to fly in another state, but it shows experience, and if your chosen dept does an academy it might not matter much anyway.
    Talk to a TAMPS/TAP rep on how to change your military experience jargon into easy to understand civilian language.
    Good luck and great job hunting!
    PM me if you want to pick my brain.

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    Thanks for serving our country! I am a current fire officer in California and I can tell you that we absolutely do look favorably upon people who have served in the military.
    In regards to holding your job, I would suggest you contact your former department. I can tell you though that if you were called up as a reserve then they have to hold your job (my understanding). However, if you electively joined the military I do not believe this is the case. Again, check with your military contacts.
    Paramedic license is certainly looked upon favorable and I recommend it to anyone who has a passion for it. Do NOT become a paramedic because you believe it will help you get hired.
    I recommend that you take full advantage of any training the military may offer including haz mat, corpsman or anything else that would be useful to the fire service. You will need to freshen up your certs as they have expired or become stale.
    Most importantly, stay safe!!!
    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    Aspiringfirefighters.com
    AspiringFireOfficers.com

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    I was an AD officer when I started applying to departments and was fortunate enough to get hired by a big NW department in time to put my terminal leave papers in and make the move. Hit me up on PM or on the board if you have any specific questions. I'm also on our recruitment team for vets. Whenever you can I'd knock out my EMT and keep it current. Realize that some departments will hold a list for 2 or 3 years and you can take a military deferment if you're still on AD, so the sooner you start testing the better your odds and less you'll have to wait. Good luck and thanks for your service.

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