1. #1
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    Question overseas recruitment

    I am a Firefighter currently serving in london. I would like to move to the US and carry on my career as a firefighter. Does anyone know if I can do this if so how?

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    Are you a US Citizen? Are you serving in the military?

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    I am also a London Fireman who would like to live and work in the USA.
    I am a British citizen and do not serve in the military.

    Would my experience in the London Fire brigade be relevant in the USA?
    What would the chances of me getting a green card be if certain Departments were having trouble recruiting from American applicants?

    Any info would be gratefully received.

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    Not sure how it is in Britain, but in the US there is no nationally accepted standard for firefighter qualifications. This is typically handled on a state by state basis. Each has it's own certifications and reciprocities. Your training would most likely be counted as experience, but unless you hold an IFSAC, NPQS or other certification, you may not be counted as qualified or certifiable.

    Now if you were going in as an entry level firefighter, you need no experience. You would just end up competing with literally hundreds or thousands of other people for a select few positions. With the competition for entry level firefighting jobs, it is quite hard to get on with a good department. Sheer luck seems to play a large part! There is no real shortage of applicants except for unpaid volunteer positions. The only real shortages I know of lie within the US Government Fire Service. It is a direct result of the number and type of certifications required to hold those positions. Few applicants possess all of the correct certifications required to hold these positions, and few positions are entry level. Not being a US citizen, I think you would be excluded anyway.

    Hope I could help! I know it sounds a bit disappointing, but I know it can be done. Research the area of the US you would like to live in to see if your training and certifications are transferrable.

    Sorry, I can't really help you with the Green Card issue.
    IACOJ Military Division
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    "There are three kinds of men: The ones who learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

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    I know you need to be a US Cit. Other than that you can take the tests as can anyone else. Most big citys take a while to start hiring anyway. For example FDNY just tested and the list wont be in use until Nov of 2004 or early 2005. Your certs from the UK will not cross over however. It is hard to cross over an american cert from state to state, due to the differences in tactics. Basically you need to become a citizen of the United states by time of hire. I know there is a guy on the job in the Bronx, NY who is from Ireland. How he did it beats me. GOOD LUCK.

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    Geoff & londonfireman-

    No, you do not need citizenship in order to work as a firefighter here in the US.

    I know of two depts in south east Michigan that require citizenship, but the rest do not. FDNY requires citizenship by time of hire (not by time of application), and many depts in colorado require citizenship as well. These are exceptions, most places only require that you be legally employable in the US.

    I hold a british passport, a New Zealand passport, and a green card, and I've been a firefighter here for six years (last 3.5 full time).

    Your training will not transfer, but experience will help to impress the board during an interview.

    The hardest part will be getting residency. Do not expect a depatment to pass over other applicants, hire you, and assist you in getting a green card- it won't happen. You need the residency before you can even apply.

    Other options:
    Get a job with a multi-national company, and get a transfer to the US. This could result in residency.

    Marry some super-hot, super-rich american lady. That way, you'll get citizenship, won't even have to work, and we'll all have a cool place to hang out and have parties at. (if you manage to achieve this, please let me know how)

    See if you can get on one of the "firefighter trade" things, where a US ff goes to the UK, and a UK ff goes to the US. That way, you could at least see if you'd like it here, and make lots of contacts.

    Any other questions? Please feel free to send me a PM (that's a Personal Message, not Mr. Blair- you can keep him)

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I have heard of possible openings in South Carolina that I'm following up at the moment.

    Why do the wages vary so much between different fire departments? I have seen jobs advertised for entry level firefighters ranging from $22,000 to $35,000. starting salary.

    Fergus, are you sure you don't want Tony bLiar? We don't want him here either, we have had enough of him.

    Any further information wold be gratefully accepted.

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    It depends upon the tax base of the town or city and how much they are willing to spend for fire protection. There is no standard "across the board" salary. Some are paid very well, others are not paid well at all!

    Many other issues with the US Fire Service are similar as well. Some get a lot, others get nothing. The bottom line is it's a result of American culture and the local economy. Choose your future department wisely, if possible!

    Good luck!
    IACOJ Military Division
    NM Office
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    "There are three kinds of men: The ones who learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

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    I came to the US in 92, having married an American, I got my residency with no problem. In 94 I applied to the Los Alamos Fire dept, they jumped at the chance of hiring me I was not a US citizen, but about a year after starting, the DOE would not give me a QA clearance, which meant that I was about to get canned, but fortuneatly they gave me 2 years to get my citizenship, so I now have Brit and US Citizenship, gotg my "Q" and am now firmly esconsed in the dept and will be till I retire. The other good thing about some of the depts here, is that there is no upper age limit, I was hired on at age 55. But of course my quals from the LFB did have some bearing, but I had to start at the bottom, and pass the f/f 1 and 2 quals, but if you are worth your salt as a lfb firefighter, it will be a breeze, sure there are some differences, but they can easily be sorted out. My best advice to you, if you are lucky enought to get here and get a job, then forget all about coming from the worlds 3rd largest dept, and realize you are now in a smaller dept, and adapt to their ways, dont try to change them to yours, iot just dont work. Good luck

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    You may have better luck with Canadian Departments since we are Commonwealth. If that interests you.

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