I am considering joining the airforce as a fire protection apprentice. Has anyone here been in or is currently in the airforce? Is this a good way to go?
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Thread: Air Force
02-24-2004, 11:11 AM #1CTFD52Firehouse.com Guest
02-24-2004, 11:56 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
The Air Force has an outstanding Fire Protection training program. So much so, that some on this forum have cautioned that you need to get a committment in writing that you will get into Fire Protection. Apparently, some recruiters in the past have promised recuits the Fire Protection program but have not put it in writing.
I had an occasion to visit the school at Goodfellow AFB and was very impressed.
02-24-2004, 12:14 PM #3
- Join Date
- Sep 1999
The Air Force has some good oppurtunities as a firefighter. I went through the school last spring into summer. Depending on your background as a firefighter you might think that some of the training is below you due to the fact that 90% of the people that go through there have never stepped foot in a firehouse before. This isn't a bad thing though, it's great to review the basics.
Some of the training I got down there was great. The ARFF training was good and something that's very difficult to get other places. The HazMat training was very good, better than what I've received prior to that. The structural training is where I feel that they lacked a lot. Some of the instructors there have very minimal real world firefighting experiance. They can recite the IFSTA manual word for word but lack experiance to teach off of. Some of the things they taught there were slightly questionable in the ways they were taught I felt.
Overall, you will get good training, from some good instructors, not all there are some bad ones, but you get that anywhere. Good oppurtunities also if you want to go active duty, I have friends all over the world now. You will meet some good guys and have some good times. San Angelo TX is where the academy is, it's a different place, you kind of have to make the best of it. It is a very small AFB and not much to do in the town.
02-28-2004, 12:29 AM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2004
Well I have spent the last four years or so as an AF FF. First thing is if you have any idea that you will be running calls in the AF forget. The average base will run about 180-200 calls a year. I could talk to you all day long about the pros and the cons. I will say that it is the most rewarding experiance I've had. I have been all over the world and just returned from over 4 months in Iraq. The idea of combat FF is a reality. I would recomend that you ask your self one question. Do you want to be a Fire Fighter or an Airmen? Guys who join to be a Fire Fighters end up hateing this carrer feild. The instructers at Garland are real good guys. Several are close friends, the problem is we dont run the calls to get expericanced instructers. Let me know if you have any questions.
02-28-2004, 01:46 AM #5
I dont know how old you are, but if you are younger and are looking to go on a career dept later, going in the military wont hurt you. Alot of depts give veterans points and your firefighting training and EMS certs will only help you if you have oral boards getting on a dept later on.
02-28-2004, 10:17 AM #6
I am currently an active duty USAF firefighter stationed at Charleston AFB, South Carolina. I highly recommend joining the AF to get the various training certifications that are afforded to our guys. Without trying to repeat everything that has been posted so far... Remember, you are an airman first, and firefighters get no "special treatment" because we are on 24 hour shifts i.e., appointments for typical mandatory AF crap are usually on your "off" days. You have to put up with all that the military forces down your throat, but after having endured it for 18 years, it's second nature to me. AF fire protection has started a "new" program for guys who really want to be high speed. There is something called airborne firefighter, and they are normal AF firemen, who get to attend jump school and are "first in" to establish fire protection at austere base sites. There are so many opportunities that will come your way as an AF fireman, they are too numerous to go into here. Send me an email if you want all the details. Beware of recruiters, they'll tell you anything to keep their numbers up. Get it in WRITING! If you're already a ff somewhere, keep it to yourself when you get to the academy at Goodfellow AFB. In every class I've ever attended, there have been the standouts in the class "with all the T-shirts to prove it" who've done it all. That wastes valuable time. I fight more fire at my volunteer company in a month than I'll see in a couple of years at an AF base. That being said, I'll obtain more certifications in the AF in a year or two than I'll attain at a civilian dept in many years! If you decide to join, you can leave in 4-6 years with more certifications than you need to join any civy dept. That is the current "problem" with our training. We certify guys to such a level, the reenlistment time comes up, and they're offered civilian employment that simply is too hard to turn down. Best of luck with your decision!!!Brian Rowe
Colleton County Fire/Rescue
02-28-2004, 10:58 AM #7
Two of the jakes on my FD have USAF fire training, one is still active in the Guards with the 104th fighter wing at Barnes ANG base in Westfield, MA aka "warthog country".
Both of them were able to challenge the firefighter 1-2 exam and did not have to go through the State Fire Academy (*note: that is a local option in my community)"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
02-29-2004, 05:37 AM #8
I was not in the AF, but have heard and seen
numerous good things about them. Their bases
are clean and top notch. Same for the equipment.
Also, from I have been told, most people come
out of the AF with a 2 year degree. Hello?!?!
Nice deal, plus you get the veteran points
along with some life experience.
The only flip side is if you decide to join
a municipal FD, you will have to mentally
"change gears" and learn their new ways vs.
the past AF ways. (Something we experienced
in our FD)
AF is a positive way to go I think. Good luck!
02-29-2004, 10:11 AM #9
Well, they have crappy SCBAs.
And like was mentioned, dont believe a work the recruiter tells you.
Get it in writing that you will go fire.-Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
-Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.
-Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.
-Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.
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