1. #1
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    Default Firefighting career after the army?

    I was wondering how city fire departments generally look at army firefighting experience and training as opposed to civilian training via classes/volunteering. What are the chances of a fire department hiring someone straight out of the army?

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    Default Think about DOD!

    Ever thought of having a DoD civilian firefighter position. If, I was you I would think very hard on it.

    You can email me for some details..

    TonyBlaze
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    Career Fireghter/EMT-B
    Volunteer Firefighter/EMT-B

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    I was in the Army as a medic. I think more than anything the fd's like hiring someone with military experience in general. From what I've seen as far as having fire experience, whether it be military or volunteer, varies from dept to dept. Some prefer it, some could care less. I can't see it hurting though! Best of luck either way.

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    Default Excellent Chances

    Many in private industry look for ex-military because of the training received. If interested in Island living, proceed to www.computersciencesraytheon.com and search the openings. There are several positions you may be interested in

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    Just remember not all states take Pro-Board or IFSAC certs so make sure you check with that.

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    On my job..they could care less even if you were a BC in LA...., everyone starts from the same level...TOGETHER.....BUT....with that said....being military is a PLUS in the academy...however Marines do get first preferance on being squad leader , but none the less, military guys are generally looked upon as having the skills for teamwork, discipline, and esprit-de-corps....so its a plus...and you get 5 points on you final score.
    IACOJ Member

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    I definatly recomend going federal. usajobs.com is a great place to look, go to series search and type in 0081. The pay is great, and will be most likely the same hours your used to, and the bennifits are great. I made the transition from the ARMY to a civilian slot at the same base, and its much better, you actually get paid for your overtime. It's defanitly worth looking into. This is just my opnion, I know many people would rather work for a city department, but DOD is the way to go from my experiance.

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    I was a FF in the Navy and thought I'd have a good chance at a career dept when I got out. Wasn't so, for the most part you have someone in a Human Resources dept going over the applications. If the quals are not met, or like the military likes to do, call it something else, your chances are slim.

    Best bet would be, use that GI Bill money, go to school for your fire science degree (if you don't already have a degree). The military experience will help you in an interview, but you have to have the qualifications their looking for. Just don't depend on your military experience to get you a job.

    Some departments do look for general qulifications, HS dip/GED, Driver Lic, etc. There you have the same shot as anyone else.

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    About the most preferance you will get is 5 points on some of the enterance exams. After that.... a good motto to be prepared for is that: Any experience before you get hired really doesnt matter.

    What that means is done go half cocked into where you get hired thinking your Number 1 because of your experience.


    Now, with that being said, being a military firefighter, you will have several things going for you, most likely your knowledge of more haz-mat crap. Your knowledge will be very benefical. But the most important deal you learn from the military that you can take into the civilian world is following orders and the chain of command. You do those two things and your good.

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    It depends.....

    In this area, KCK, Wichita, KCMO and the larger cities don't give a damn about previous fire experince no matter where it came from. You will start at the bottom, go through thier academy, and put up with all the probie duties even if you were a chief somewhere else.

    Now, if you're going to a DOD department, yes, that experince will count - maybe. Depends on the base, and the attitude of the people who will hire you. Oh, and just because you have DOD certs to the station chief level (for example) don't think you will be fast-tracked to that position. I had a guy from the Air Force Reserve who was certified to this level, but NEVER fought a fire in his life beyond training weekends or worked as a firefighter ANYWHERE. He was ****ed because after 2 years on my base he wasn't promoted to a captain.

    A smaller city with a few paid personnel may welcome you and your experience. My current department did, and I was more of a lateral transfer than a trainee. I did not have to go through their academy, if you can call it that. Some other things that applied to trainees did not apply to me either.

    Now, there are some Army firefighters that have retired and have been hired into officer positions with other departments. CONTRACT departments come to mind, and one fellow went to a training officer positon in a medium sized department up north. So, it all depends on the department and thier philosophy on hiring.

    When I am chief here (hahahahahahaha) military fire experince will definitely be something I will look at for hiring, but you won't be a captian right off the street.

    Oh yeah....get a DEGREE. A Bachelor's Degree. Anymore, and Associate's Degree is getting to be like a high school diploma. It's expected, but the Bachelor's means you put the extra effort in. Matter of fact, I know of one department in Kansas that requires a Bachelor's to be promoted to a captain.
    Last edited by Tiredoldman; 02-01-2007 at 12:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jccrabby3084 View Post
    I was a FF in the Navy and thought I'd have a good chance at a career dept when I got out. Wasn't so, for the most part you have someone in a Human Resources dept going over the applications. If the quals are not met, or like the military likes to do, call it something else, your chances are slim..
    What exactly are you saying? You were/are IFSAC certified by the Navy by attending the DoD Fire Academy, or you were taught basic damage control by the division you were in? All the teachers down here say that this academy (DoD Fire Academy) is the "Michael Jordan" of Fire Academys and it's almost guaranteed to land you a job with a department.

    -Damien

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiredoldman View Post
    It depends.....

    In this area, KCK, Wichita, KCMO and the larger cities don't give a damn about previous fire experince no matter where it came from. You will start at the bottom, go through thier academy, and put up with all the probie duties even if you were a chief somewhere else.
    Right..........

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    DFurtman..... thats why all your instructors are still in the military???? Dont get me wrong... its a good school but DUDE... most civi departments dont give a rats about previous exprience. Perhaps vet points on the exams but other than that our cert dont mean a whole lot when you try and score a job on the outside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFurtman View Post
    What exactly are you saying? You were/are IFSAC certified by the Navy by attending the DoD Fire Academy, or you were taught basic damage control by the division you were in? All the teachers down here say that this academy (DoD Fire Academy) is the "Michael Jordan" of Fire Academys and it's almost guaranteed to land you a job with a department.

    -Damien
    It is not even close to being the "Michael Jordan" of fire training. It will not land you a job with a department. Figure it out for yourself and call various city departments and they will tell you that volunteers are trained better.

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    Default Again, whiners about military training

    Colorado....

    I noticed that you only have 6 years experience in the fire service. I was wondering, those 5 VET points you are entitled to, did you use them when applying for a civilian position? I bet you used the training you received in the military as well.

    As for the DoD training being the Michael Jordan of the fire service, that honestly depends on who you speak to and what department accepts DoD certifications. What I can tell you is that at the NFPA, IFSTA, and other fire service organization conferences, they are constantly giving praise to the DoD for its extensive fire training progression. The military is able to acquire assets that most departments only read about. That's why most departments like most police departments want previous military applicants. This is because most have the discipline those agencies are looking for.

    AFFDSUCKS....

    Just curious, are you a volly? Let me explain something regarding vollies. They make up the majority of the fire service in America. Without them, fire protection would be in jeopardy. However, regarding training, I have to object by your statement that vollies are better trained then military. Volly departments do not have the resources nor the financial backing to establish and perform the massive training programs commonly found in the military. Is that a problem, hell yes. That's why volly departments need to apply and reapply over and over again for grants to boost their training programs. If city departments are telling you that volly departments are better trained, then obviously those city departments training division is doing their departments an injustice by not providing the training that they require.

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    Default army firefighting

    I was a 51M for 8 years before getting off active duty. Got a job as a federal FF 3 months after getting out. 1 year after that, got a job with Colorado Springs. Was offered a job with Glendale, AZ and Phoenix later that year but turned them down. I'd say that was all DEFINITELY due to my Army firefighting experience. National certs, veterans points, AND military experience?.....do you really think you wouldn't be head and shoulders above other applicants?

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    Default Nimrod

    Quote Originally Posted by ColoradoFireGuy View Post
    DFurtman..... thats why all your instructors are still in the military???? Dont get me wrong... its a good school but DUDE... most civi departments dont give a rats about previous exprience. Perhaps vet points on the exams but other than that our cert dont mean a whole lot when you try and score a job on the outside.
    Colorado, you're a putz. Another ignorant answer from a person with 2/20 disease (has 2 years on, acts like he has 20.) Don't go dogging things you have no clue about. I've sat on hiring boards and we DEFINITELY look at your military training and background. Putz.

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    Talking My gut hurts

    Quote Originally Posted by AFFDSUCKS View Post
    It is not even close to being the "Michael Jordan" of fire training. It will not land you a job with a department. Figure it out for yourself and call various city departments and they will tell you that volunteers are trained better.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!! This is the funniest thing I've read in years! Hey kids! Come here and read this....this is good stuff!
    Thanks.
    It may not be the "Michael Jordan" of schools, but it beats the hell out of Joe Snuffy VFD's "recruit training" which is one or two nights a week for 4 hours (and no, reading these magazines does not constitute "quality training.") You're hard pressed to find any volunteer department that can match up with a professional training division. Seriously, how many national certs can your VFD accredit?
    "Life is tough, but it's even tougher when you're stupid."
    John Wayne

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    Military Experience
    Candidates who have served our country in the Armed Forces have a huge advantage over those who have not. It is generally believed that while a military veteran may not have as many certificates and fire science units as the other candidates (you were busy serving our country), you offer so much more.
    There is no substitute for life experience. The growth a young man or women experiences in the military is second to none. This growth is of course magnified depending on the assignments held.
    The fire service is a Para-military organization. Many of the common terms in the fire service, such as Captain and Battalion Chief were taken directly from the military.
    Men and women with military background are usually very mature, regardless of their age. They understand the need to get along with others, especially with people who come from different backgrounds from them. They understand commitment and the need to work until the job is completed. They are used to working for long periods of time in less than ideal conditions.
    Physical fitness is a big part of the military. As a result the group is usually in very good shape. This is particularly important to the fire service because the number one reason entry-level candidates fail out of the academy is due to poor physical fitness.
    Military people demonstrate respect for authority and they understand the chain of command. The group clearly understands code and honor. These qualities are extremely important in the fire service.
    They are used to working in a structured environment and the importance of doing something right the first time. They are able to work unsupervised and that completion of a job or task is a reflection of them.
    Basic training taught them the importance of cleaning up after themselves.
    If you are still in the military and are interested in a career in the fire service, it is important that you start making provisions NOW. Start taking online classes NOW.
    If possible, put yourself in a position to get fire service-related training such as Medic or Corpsman. Hazardous Materials and firefighter training will also be beneficial. Lastly, work on general education courses so you can earn your Associates degree.
    Do not be intimidated by all of the candidates who have every certification under the sun. They were able to obtain these as full time students while you were busy fulfilling your obligation to the American people.
    A candidate who is an EMT, possesses related experience as a reserve or volunteer firefighter and is active taking fire science courses is usually at the top of his or her game. Get your qualifications, learn how to take a fire department interview and earn your badge.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by DFurtman View Post
    What exactly are you saying? You were/are IFSAC certified by the Navy by attending the DoD Fire Academy, or you were taught basic damage control by the division you were in? All the teachers down here say that this academy (DoD Fire Academy) is the "Michael Jordan" of Fire Academys and it's almost guaranteed to land you a job with a department.

    -Damien
    Damien...I never received any IFSAC certifications, nor attended the DoD Fire School. Not everyone will go to that school. My fire training was from my Damage Control "A" school, OJT, and chem warfare school. (definately helped with today's terrorism spin on everything).

    The issue is most human resources departments that do initial screening of fire dept applications do not know how to translate military certifications to meet that to the requirements for the job. Basically if the job requirements requires you to be Wisconsin FF1 and FF2 to apply for the job, and all you have is military experience...chances are you get a thanks for applying letter, but...
    Same thing for IFSAC certifications, although those should reflect well with most state certs. Bottom line is, don't rely on military experience to get you a job today. Get your education, get an associates or better, get your state FF certs, EMT. Trust me, it looks better having all that along with military experience.

    Great Post BC Lepore!!!
    Last edited by jccrabby3084; 03-06-2007 at 05:24 PM.

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    Smile A bit confused....

    This is a good "over a few beers" argument!!


    USArmy....OF COURSE I know it gets me ahead and It obviously did for you too. I'm pretty sure I know who ya are and know you dont take your service litely.... Im just a bit confused here..... Im simply stating that our military certs and the DOD fire academy wonít score you a job all by themselves let alone bypass a civilian academy..... And thatís what instructors were tellin' us when I went through. As a matter of fact, I was told that same thing 4 years later @ rescue school and thatís just false.... Help you yes... but land you a job, come-on! Youíve got a great point about Joe blow vollie's academy and Im glad to have received those basic skills @ Goodfellow but my comments are stating the simple fact that when youre a new guy on a department... your just that... a new guy on a department. Donks a Donk. Guys didn't look at me and say, hey... hes got a Fire Officer 2 cert, make him a Captain. So no, all those certs donít do much for me as an entry level fella. It doesn't take 20 years to figure that out and I sure hope it doesn't take more than 2. For you to go and hurt my feelings and call me a putz stings a little. If you've read my other post about training, I really believe some of my AF training was a waste of time. As a 51M you probably aren't familiar with silver flag. Its contingency training....teaches you deployment firefighting. I saw myself and other guyís goto this school one month before we separated. I had already been before ( and deployed 3x) and there were guys with years left on their commitment ( never deployed ) who would be deploying soon and werenít going to this training. To me.... thatís a waste of time. A big waste. Even the insructors said so! I go back and look at some of the certs I was given too. I was way behind the power curve when I was supposed to know what I was doing. Sure I knew some basics and could take a test but I've seen some much better training by some much more experienced people since leaving. I know I'm not the only one either. Specifically HazMat! My pratical involved no detection or monitoring and the pratical lasted about 20 minutes w/ a simulated level A. Yes sir... that was a waste of time. My Driver Certs on the other hand were a gift that kept giving. I learned tons from that traing and apply it to many parts of my job right now.

    Ferrara- yes and yes... of course I used my service to my benefit. I NEVER said it was ALL a waste or that I wouldn't be proud of it (both training and service) tell me this though, how many DOD departments respond to US&R events??? Then why Rescue 2 school? Seriously... isnít that over qualing your folks? I just saw way too many guys showing off that certslike it was a prize knowing darn well they'd never use it. Thtas just an example. You canít tell me youíve never seen that. Certs are everything in the AF. If you say thatís a lie then were on two different planets not just countries. When I was an AF supervisor we tried to de certify a guy and were laughed at. Im serious... this kid was litterally mentally handicaped , I dont say that lightly either. He couldn't show me half hitch from a hose lay! So for you to say "poof" your certs can disappear.... thats proablly incorrect and isn't a something you should scare folks with.


    NE thing else folks??? I gotta get some dinner in me!

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    Colorado...I agree with both your posts.

    As I have stated being a FF in the military does not mean you can walk right onto a fire dept. Majority of the time a fire dept does not do initial screening of applications...human resources usually does. If the application does not meet the stated requirements it is tossed. Those depts not requiring anything more than 18, HS or GED and drivers license...then you have the same shot as anyone else.

    As for an interview and such, then your experience and military qualifications come into play. Then that will help you into the door. Like Colorado stated though, even if you have every certification under the sun, doesn't mean you won't start at the bottom. Every dept has their way of doing it and you will be trained their way. Even if you put up a roof ladder everyday, you still do it again. Even though you were a Sgt in the military...you're still cleaning the bathrooms.

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    Default Good debate!

    Colorado,

    First let me inform you and everyone else that I am still active duty Air Force. Second, not sure what the 51M is, however I am also a Silver Flag Instructor. Iíll comment on that later. You are correct when you say that I do not take my service lightly. I agree with you when you say that certs and certs alone will land you a job in any department (civilian or military). However, I have to debate the statement that the military fire training academy wonít bypass a civilian academy. However it bypasses the majority of civilian academies out there. I have to be honest and say that I have seen and attended several civilian fire academies that would simply blow away the military fire academy. But overall, the military provides training that you cannot touch on the civilian sector. If the instructors told you that their academy is not up to par with the civilian academies, then they provided you and the military an injustice by not devoting themselves to making the academy the finest around.

    Some departments do offer a lateral hiring process, meaning that if you have the qualifications, you can apply as a newbie into the department for an officer slot. Not a guarantee that you will get it, but certifications do help. The argument that you bring up and it is a valid one is that just because you have the cert, does not mean you are proficient in that area. Take Fire Officer as you stated. If an individual has the cert because he is an aspiring learner, but is someone that never fills those duties, then yes it is a waste of a cert and time for the instructors.

    As for calling you a putz, I do not recall making that accusation. If I did, I apologize. You brought up the Silver Flag training. I agree with you that the majority of the current Silver Flag training is not up to par as it should be. But to call it a waste of time is a bit over the top; not by much mind you. We have been working diligently to revise and re-revise the Silver Flag curriculums to reflect situations that troops are finding downrange. Unfortunately, that takes time and money of which as military members ourselves know is diminishing for firefighters daily; hence the 1/3 manpower cuts for the Air Force beginning this year.

    As for certifications and being behind the power curve, I have to state that the present method of promotion and certification is something that needs review. We push our subordinates to progress but never give them time to become proficient in their skills. Take a 5 level in the AF for example. In order for that individual to be awarded the 7 level, he need to have Inspector I, Officer I, and Instructor I. The individual takes these certifications back to back or sometimes at the same time to expedite his training. But where is the hands on training? Immediately after he receives his ď1ísĒ he is working on his twos and threes. Iím sorry to hear that you had to simulate equipment for your Haz Mat training. That is definitely the training officerís fault. But my question is why did you stand for that type of training? You as a career firefighter should have thrown the penalty flag and stated that the training being provided was inadequate and you were not gaining any knowledge by simulating equipment. In the case you explained, I agree whole heartedly that it was a waste of time. Particularly should you operate at a real Haz Mat emergency and something goes wrong, OSHA and every other Environmental and safety agency will be looking at your training records and interviews you regarding the training. Itís too late to say that you simulated the wearing of a level A suit.

    Finally, the last paragraph you wrote, I have to agree with its entirety. The Rescue Technician II course is a waste of time for the military. What amazes me is that we have resources and manpower here in Europe that can be deployed anywhere in Europe or Asia but are never utilized. Waste of money for the militaryÖdefinitely! Yes the AF prides itself on certifications. As we both have mentioned, that can be a good thing (statistics) or a bad thing (ability to retain skills and knowledge). As for decertifying an individual, yes it can happen. Iíve done it myself and have worked for a certain Chief who made no bones about de-certifying a firefighter if they cannot demonstrate the skills associated with a particular cert. We had one firefighter who was Fire Officer II trained and could not perform as required on an exercise. It was basically watching an eight year old child operating. The Chief immediately pulled his certs, notified AFCESA and the individual had to retake the Officer I and II training. So yes it can happen. Regarding you being laughed at for the individual you mentioned, thatís a management issue that was obviously catering to their bosses (yes men).

    I would love to sit down and debate over a beer sometime. Again, Iím not knocking your abilities because quite honestly I do not know your background. I am debating the comments that I have seen in here which pinched a nerve because I take the fire service very seriously no matter career, military or volley.

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    I wish I could be a Silver Flag instructor.

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    Default Too sensitive

    ColoradoFireGuy,
    If you know me, then you know I have 2 speeds: anger and rage and I idle at annoyed. I call everyone a putz, including myself, at times. I give it to you that all new guys start out cleaning ****ters and pouring coffee. But that was not the topic. Reread the opening post and follow-ups and see if what I'm saying makes more sense, you putz. HA!!! I won't lie that the individual has alot to do with getting hired, but military AND professional experience has to give you the edge. You understand the basic daily schedule around the fire station and what it means to follow orders. C'mon, now, give yourself some credit.
    "Life is tough, but it's even tougher when you're stupid."
    John Wayne

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