1. #1
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    Default which is the best Military branch for a FF

    I am interrested in finding out which military branch provides the best FF training, and certification, that would provide me with the best qualification to make the transition from military to civilian FF.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appriciated
    THanks

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    Thumbs up Military Firefighters

    I am an active duty Marine Corps Firefighter 7+ years. You may want to search the "hiring/employment" or "Military" forums. A lot of guys on here like to give you crap if you post on the wrong forum or don't search instead of helping you. Anyhow, all military firefighters go through the DOD fire academy in texas. you may want to google "louis F garland fire academy" and that will explain it. you leave with IFSAC certs to include FF 1 and 2, a bullsh*t first responder, hazmat ops, airport firefighter. I think thats it. its a good time and actually a really respected academy. very physically and academically demanding. I made "honor graduate" out of my class. To answer your question it all depends on what you want. Im not going to get into a ****ing contest over which branch of service is the best. In the Marine Corps you become "crash crew " on the airfield and most places have a limited mutual aid agreement with the civilian structural fire dept. I have a couple buddies in the Airforce who work strictly with the structural fire department. I think the Army is getting rid of thier Firefighters and going strictly to civilian. Navy I don't know much about. Also you will have a lot of opportunities for continuing education. college work and certifications such as EMT and fire officer or instructor classes are available and encouraged. As for transitioning, a lot of guys end up working for the DOD as a civ. FF on base. I'm currently working on transitioning to civilian life in the next year or so. Not to sound negative but a lot of guys think they are going to get out and walk onto a job. Your certs and experience will help you at the end of the hiring process/interview phase but for most of it you will just be another applicant. also you won't get your veterans preference points until you actually seperate so if you are counting on those you have to wait to apply. The biggest thing to remember in the military is " the military's needs come first over yours" I had applied for a test. told I could take time off to find a job prior to applying, paid the 50 dollar application fee. passed the written test. attended all the phases of practice for the CPAT. ( driving 9 hours each way). and then was told I couldnt go to the CPAT because we were going on a weeklong field op. You can imagine how ****ed I was when i got a call the next week asking why i wasnt there and was told i had a pretty good shot if i would have passed the CPAT, which wasnt even an issue. now Im just ranting. overall, I like what i do and its a good job.

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    I'm a Master Sgt in the Marine Reserves, and basically function as the fire chief for a Marine Wing Support Squadron, which is basically the only type of unit Marine FFs are assigned to. I am also a civilian FF/Medic. I have been to many of the conferences where the training standards have been discussed, and am in the loop on most of what happens in the field, as far as the Marines are concerned.

    Why the resume? Because I'm going to tell you that the Marine Corps is not the place you are looking for. If you want to become a Marine, then it is the place. Being a Marine-annual rifle qualification, close combat training, field ops-take precedence over fire training. Marine Firefighters almost exclusively work the airfield side. There are few emergency calls and lots of cleaning and polishing.

    The Air Force is the closest you will come to a military service with military members who are pure firefighters. It is also far easier for them to upgrade their qualifications than it is for Marines. Part of the reason is money (the Air Force has much more), part of it is the Air Force has more equipment, part that they run all the certification programs.

    An example-most DoD civilian GS positions now require Pumper Driver/Operator certification. The Marines don't have any, so they are reliant on the base structural department to teach and certify that-and since it does no good to the Marine unit to have that cert, it will be a very low priority.

    Use the search function here, and look up "air force firefighting" or "military firefighting"-you'll have more info than you can stand. You can also look at military.com.

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    I gota friend thats a firefighter in USMC
    Firefighter for Vestal 32-2

    American Red Cross Volunteer

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    i was an Air Force firefighter for a few years. the Air Force was real good about keeping us up on our training. it's mandatory that you get your ARFF, pumper, and tanker driver/operator certs within your first year as a firefighter. after that you move on to instructor, officer, inspector with hazmat tech, rescue tech, and EMT-B as options thrown in here and there. most bases will cover the flightline and structural and medical for the base. you'll work 24 on 24 off, mandatory PT at the fire dept. 3 times a week (which was basically just lift weights or do whatever you want to do) and that's pretty much it. the biggest downside is that you won't see a lot of fires in the Air Force or DOD system at all really. if you want fire then do your 4 years, get your veterans preference and apply for a city. all of the certs you get from the Air Force won't transfer to a city fire dept. so you'll be starting from scratch, but at least it will all be in your head already.

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    I am a retired USAF firefighter(20 years). I agree with all on this website that you go through a very well respected fire academy and it is demanding but also fun. I can only talk about the Air Force. After basic and tech school you will go to your base and be put into a training program to further your certs. After about a year most bases will allow you to take your EMT which takes about 3 months and what you need as a minimum to get hired on a civilian fire dept. Many ways of thinking, my 20 years were good to me and I love collecting the pay check every month, but back then are education benefits sucked. Now you can also take college classes and get 100% paid tuition for a fire science degree(Alot of online degrees now). After 4 years you could get out and take paramedic school and the Montgomery GI Bill will pay you just over $1000 a month while you are in class. Like gunny said, we are 100% firefighters and they bring alot of classes for us. I deployed about every other year to the desert unless I volunteered. In my last 10 years I was over there 5 times and once to honduras, I volunteered some to make extra money. I would recommend doing 4 yrs, then pursuing fire science degree, and when u get out you are way ahead of alot of people who just sit back and do nothing. If you do decide to stay in, you will train and learn alot. Any way you do decide I think you will no lose out.

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    I'm a prior Army FF, current Air Force FF. I can't speak for the USMC, but I can tell you this for fact:

    If/When depolyed to an area of combat, Army has got it hands down!! Air Force sits on base and watches planes come and go, while the Army is going out offbase for wrecks, fires, building collapses, IED's, etc... We ran just over 1100 calls in the 10.5 months I was there. Keep in mind there are no fire alarms or CO detectors, so we stayed pretty busy.

    Stateside, the AF has the Army beat though!

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    I never served, but being a civilian Federal Firefighter, I was told this numerous times- The Air Force.

    Why? They have more money. They are big on education and make sure their people go to school.

    The Navy dumps all of their money into things that float. So fire protection isnt #1 on their priority list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firedawg34 View Post
    I would recommend doing 4 yrs, then pursuing fire science degree, and when u get out you are way ahead of alot of people who just sit back and do nothing.
    Didn't I read somewhere that a Fire Science degree is one of the courses that the Community College of the Air Force offers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KnightnPBIArmor View Post
    Didn't I read somewhere that a Fire Science degree is one of the courses that the Community College of the Air Force offers?
    It is........

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    We've got several former Air Force Jakes. Their performance and integrity sways me to say Air Force. However, we also have one Army FF, he's right there with them. So, wherever you go, have determination and most importantly the heart to do right. I'd take any of those Brothers on my crew and would go through anything with them.
    FTM-PTB-RFB
    IACOJ

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    An Army guy huh? I'll bet I know who you're talkin about. He's a hell of a guy, and had my back numerous times in a real nasty place about 6700 miles away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jbub04 View Post
    I am interrested in finding out which military branch provides the best FF training, and certification, that would provide me with the best qualification to make the transition from military to civilian FF.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appriciated
    THanks
    I've worked with guys from all of the branches, and they all have excellent training and have numerous certifications. Experience is very important, but none of the guys I know really had any good structure fires. You may want to look into which branches see regular action.

    Which branch? The one that will help you get some college. If you want to make a career as a civilian firefighter (where you may want to eventually promote through the fire service ranks), college will be a huge advantage.
    "...there isn't a firefighter in the free world who is forced to join this profession." -John Norman

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