I'm 17 years old and a Junior in HS. I am almost 100% positive I am going to Join the AF when I graduate. I was looking into Security Forces but have been told by several peopel to stay away from that. My Second choice was Fire Protection Apprentice. I have read several threads on here but guess I just need to ask the questions myself to feel confident.
I just want to know if I am doing the right thing. What kind of training will I get in the AF. How easily will I be able to convert to a Civi. FF after my 4 or 6 years or whatever I do. Is the AF firefighting similar to Civi. Firefigthing? Anyone have any experiences they want to share to help me out?
Thanks in advance,
I was the same way 2 years ago when i wanted to come in. My first pick was a cop to but i'm glad I got to be a firefighter. I mean if you like sitting in a truck for 10 hours, guarding the base, working at the shooting range etc. then you might like security forces. But firefighting is a great job its like besides being part of the miltary you are a part of something bigger. Some bases is boring and some have fires and other emergencys out of the ying-yang. You get to do stuff and experience that most people dont get. You also get trainnig that can help you when ever you get out of the military. just make sure you are going to be a firefighter not open general. You should get with a recruter and see if he will take you to an air force base and go to the fire department if one is close by. Just dont make your desision on one base because all bases is not the same and its not promissed that you are going to go whereever you want to.
If you want security forces, you will probably get it (and if you don't have a guarantee of something else, you have a good chance of being a cop too). The career field is undermanned and overtasked. Unless you get a missile base, you can expect to deploy for six months, be back for six, and go out again. Keep in mind that the 'six months back' will include anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months of pre-deployment training for your next rotation. Of course, it's all a matter of how you look at it; a lot of single guys like deploying and would rather be making tax free money in the desert fighting the enemy than working a 12+ hour shift on the gate at Tumbleweed AFB.
SF if undergoing a transformation towards a more deployment focused force. More and more, law enforcement is taking a back seat to base security and combat skills. Not that that is a bad thing, but some people still are surprised when they come in and find out that they aren't running radar and breaking up domestics all day long.
I'm in tech school right now for Fire Protection. I love it. The school here in San Angelo is top notch. Ask just about anybody and they'll tell you that we have one of the best jobs in the air force. Especially compared to Security Forces. Not saying that SF isn't a good job, I know alot of people who like it. But this comming december when I'm in England and there's 2 feet of snow on the ground I'll be standing inside the firehouse drinking a cup of coffee watching the Security Forces guys stand around balls deep in snow on the flightline.
...both jobs have thier quirks. but regardless of SF quirks I still would rather have the FF job. to answer your questions about getting into a civilian dept, it really depends on whee you are. there have been numerous discussions on firehouse forums about repricocy and lateral hiring, etc. going from active duty to gs civilian would be easier than most, especially if you have served in a combat zone, and i can almost guarantee you will during your enlistment.
We all do the same job, but your main mission will be whatever the bases mission is. if you work at a base with an airfield, those planes will be the priority. dont get me wrong, you will have a structural mission, but if a planes is burning, and a school is burning, you are going to the plane.
really every cert you can think of you can get through the air force. from all the basic like FFI, FFII, ARFF, HAZ AWARENESS, HAZ OPS... to advanced HAZ TECH, HAZ IC, HAZ TtT, RESCUE TECH I, RESCUE TECH II, EMT-B, EMT-I. then you have all the certs you will accomplish during your regular upgrade training DRIVER/OPERATOR ARFF, PUMPER, MWSA, AERIAL (if you base has one), FIRE INSTRUCTOR I,II,II, FIRE INSPECTOR I,II,II, FIRE OFFICER I,II,III,IV, and there are a few more. if you want to get a college degree, that is simple too with 100% tuitions assistance while on active duty, then you have your montgomery g.i. bill after you separate or retire.