1. #1
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    Default Prior Military Firefighters? and anyone else...

    Basically wondering where you started when you got out?

    For you none military folks that have some priors at your station do you know their story?

    If neither, do you have any advice as to where I should start?
    Last edited by Perferd; 10-29-2004 at 01:22 PM.

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    Go Air Force. (I was Army)

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    Hmmm... I guess I'm not sure what you're asking. Do you want to know which service I was in prior to joining the department? Or do you want to know what I did once I got out of the service?

    Well, I was in the Navy. While I was there I became a volunteer firefighter. When I got out of the service I was going to go to college to become a forester. Soon afterward I realized that firefighting was kind of fun and that I could get paid for it.

    Before joining the department I worked a lot of odd jobs, the worst was as a substitute school bus driver. That was a "cleansing period" in my life.

    Clear skies.

    Greg
    What if the hokey pokey IS what it's all about?

    Apparatus Operator
    Salem Fire Department
    IAFF Local 314

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    I'm an ex Air Force Firefighter, when I got out I went back to my hometown vol dept for a few years, until I got hired with a smaller combination department. It was a fun place to work, however I was living paycheck to paycheck and couldn't pay all the bills.

    Then I went back into the Federal FD as a Civilian, this was almost perfect, Was making great money, great benefits, but wasn't running the calls. But the great thing about the DoD fire service is that you can transfer to another base if they have an opening. Which is what I did.

    Now I'm in a large fed department, we run tons of calls, yes even "ACTUAL" calls its not uncommon for us to run several traffic accidents per shift, usually a structure fire every other month or so, and anything else that a big city dept runs on. But yes we still do the 3-4 fire alarms every shift as well.

    If you go civilan fed fire service, do some research about each place you're interested in, how many stations, training & advancement opportunities and just make some phone calls and talk to the guys on shift, they'll tell you how it really is. Apply for all job that are out there, get in the system, then transfer to the place you really want to be. And if you end up not liking it, you can transfer again.

    Oh, and even though I'm ex AF I suggest going civilian for the ARMY, they're not as regulated as the AF fire depts are, they usually don't have as many enlisted FF's working the floor, and of course the mission of the army overall helps with call volume.
    COFire
    PROTECTING THOSE WHO DEFEND AMERICA ============================== =====

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    Yes...Army CIVILIAN firefighter positions were better. As a civilian, there was no way I would work for the AF. Military however, is a different story. Active duty Army you may not even get assigned to a fire department. After 23 years of being a greensuiter, and 12 years as a GS Civilian, I went to a municipal department. Pay, call volume, and working hours are main reasons. I make more now as a tailboard firefighter than I did as a GS-7 for the Army, even WITH the new upgrades if you factor in time worked. Plus, I work the modified Berkley schedule and have 4 days off.

    That being said, I miss the Feds. There were unique opportunities available that you just don't get in a civilian department, unless it's a very LARGE department. And the money for equipment flowed (at least in the Army). Our Colonel would constantly call our chief and say "we have this much $$$ to spend and we have to have it spent by Friday or we'll loose it forever". How many city managers have ever done that?

    Being on a military base, and itself being a paramilitary organization, the base fire department I was on had high standards, was disciplined, and had some good leadership (not all). In the civilian world, I've seen things happen in my department that if they occurred on the base, that person would be employed by the Burger King next week.

    If your looking for action, better find a LARGE base, like Ft Hood. I'm guessing COFire is at Ft Carson, which is pretty good sized and is a very progressive department. Some former Ft Carson guys came to my base and had good things to say about it. BUT primary responsibility of the base fire department is PREVENTION. If a structure fire a month is occurring on a base, some General somewhere is going to want to know why, and he won't be very polite when asking. Our base had 3 in one month and the sh** hit the fan. Prevention and inspections were the name of the game for the next year, even more so than before.

    I'll say it again, if your going active duty, go Air Force. Do your time, and if you like it, hell, re-enlist! You can make it all the way up to an E-9 (the highest enlisted position). Active Army you'll be lucky if you see an E-7 position. I toped out at an E-6, and could go no further unless I changed jobs. No way in hell that was going to happen. If the civilian side is for you, all the DOD fire certifications and veterans status will get you hired on the civilian (DOD) side. As for municipal departments, some will accept your military training, some don't care what you have. Talk to a recruiter about enlistment and benefits, but talk to some AF firefighters to see what life is like before you raise your right hand. There is also the Marines. They have firefighters, but are mostly aircraft firefighters. Check with a recruiter on that.

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    I can verify that the Marines are all Aircraft Firefighting (mos 7051).
    "When you are safe at home, you wish you were having an adventure-when you're having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home"

    --Thornton Wilder

  7. #7
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    My bust should have broke it down a little more...I meant prior military as in got out and became FF's. I am getting out and looking into FF'ing but have no experience in it so thought I would ask see if there are any guys that came from my kind of background.

    Thanks for the info from the previous posts...

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