I Wish to Go Into the Military as a Firefighter but Which Branch?

I like the action but wanna get out alive w/o having to kill the whole time as firefighter i want to save lives as a milatary personnell i wish to serve and protect my country under all costs whether it be with a gun in my hand or a hose. So i guess its hard to explain but to put it simply i wanna save more than i kill HOORAH!

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The Navy and Air force have the better fire fighting opportunities than rest
OK, here's my advice. I was in almost your same shoes back in 1990. I was a junior firefighter getting ready to graduate high school in an area where your only option was pump gas, work in a coal mine, go to college, or join the military. I had no desire at that time to go to college or the other options available -- all I wanted to do was continue being a firefighter. I spoke to all the branches as my dad required -- except the Air Force since I had no desire to fly -- education later proved that a totally uneducated decision (there was no Coast Guard recruiter in the area at the time).

I picked going in as a Navy Damage Controlman. I LOVED it! It not only taught me more about firefighting, but I learned a lot about actually repair, maintenance, and operation of pumps, fire main systems, etc. as well as basic firefighting equipment. I also got to literally see the world that I would not have been able to see any other way -- and not just the parts where you could get shot at all the time. I also had three (or 4) hot meals every day, a shower every day, and a somewhat comfortable bed to sleep in. I did 8 years in the Navy. The bad part was the job closed up pretty tight and it was hard to advance. So I got out and switched branches.

I then did 8 years in the Coast Guard since I finally learned they existed. LOL I was a Damage Controlman there as well, but only rarely worked in that field. However, I did get to work a lot in Hazardous Materials and got experience in that field that is VERY hard to get in any other venue -- even a big city fire department. I also was able to work as an EMT, and in my opinion the Coast Guards EMT school is the best out there. I also gained not only NIMS ICS Training, but a LOT of experience in putting the sytem to use and seeing how it works in real life instead of just table-top excercises and small scale incidents. I only left the Coast Guard due to wanting to spend more time with my kids while they are young.

At the moment I am a Combat Medic with the Ohio Army National Guard. Although the training is outstanding, and the potential of experience is tremendous, I would not recommend any part of the Army to anyone. They are way too uptight, the leadership and management ideals are totally opposite of what I have learned in the other branches and the fire service as well. Not saying the Army is bad or that I don't support them, I just wouldn't recommend them to someone such as yourself looking to further a career towards firefighting. I will not be doing it anymore after this year.

The Coast Guard would probably be your best bet to go along with what you mentioned about wanting to save more than you kill, and you would still have the opportunity to protect your country (the Coast Guard is part of the Dept of Homeland Security). Their outlook and mission more closely resemble that of the fire service. You also are not as likely to go to such exotic desert locations as the other branches and you can get some pretty primo duty stations in some really nice resort like areas. They however are very strict on who they will take -- way more picky than the other branches, but honestly thats a good thing.

In the event that the Coast Guard is not to your liking, I would advise the Air Force or Air National Guard --- IF they will guarantee you the firefighter position. Don't sign papers for ANY branch unless they will guarantee you the position you want. The Air Force firefighter training gives you Pro-Broard and IFSAC certifications for firefighter -- the other branches do not. Those certs you can use no matter where you go when you get out.

My third choice for you would be the Navy. You get great training and learn to be a pretty agressive firefighter (no place to go except swim if you can't get the fire out!), and learn more about how installed fire systems work, unbeatable travel opportunites, and all sorts of other stuff that I mentioned above.

I would also advise that if you want to stay actually DOING the job, don't do the officer route. They get stuck behind a desk all the time, and you don't the same kind of experience you get as an enlisted man.

Don't let the recruiters fool you either. They CAN guarantee you the job you want -- either that or you don't have to join. Plain and simple. Just don't sign ANYTHING until you have that guarantee on paper. It also doesn't matter which branch you choose, the educational, medical, and any other benefits are the SAME not matter what branch you go into. The only difference is with the national guard where most states offer some extra benefits in addition to what the active duty counterparts offer.

Hope this helps. I wish you good luck in whatever your decision may be. Sorry I was so long winded!
And you only need a 2 year degree to make WO-1 instead of 4 to make Lt.
The Air Force firefighter training gives you Pro-Broard and IFSAC certifications for firefighter -- the other branches do not. Those certs you can use no matter where you go when you get out
Yes and no, because it is up to the dept and or state to accept such certs. I know in WI the last time I checked some IFSAC certs would transfer, some didn't. Just looking at FF jobs in FL, they asked for certs from the state fire academy and some certs did not transfer. Can't say for sure about IFSAC, but too ofetn I see the same stuff from the AF that the certs you get are golden and you can go anywhere, not really the case entirely. The other issue is that sometimes the certs don't really matter to get hired, it helps to not have to go through a tech school or something, but formal education (degree) and vet points stick out moreso than fire certs in many cases today.

Don't let the recruiters fool you either. They CAN guarantee you the job you want -- either that or you don't have to join

Not true. I can't speak for all recruiters, but Navy recruiters can NOT guarantee you a job. Any job selection comes from the classifier at MEPS. You have to take your ASVAB and do your physical before they sit down with you. It then depends upon your score and physical if you are elible for certain jobs and then some jobs may not be available. The recruiter really has nothing to do with what job you get and is why they tell people to look at a few different jobs they may want to do.
I would say Navy. That is where my father got his initial training, and in his "civilian" career became fire chief and then commissioner. Alot of the men I have met in the fire service are Navy veterans.
I would tell you to go with the Air Force being that I am Active duty right now. With that said though they are not only reducing the number of active duty Air Force right now but they are also shrinking the Fire fighting career field for Active Duty Personnel, so you may not be able to get in for quite a while. The benefits are good and the training is top notch. If you decided to join the Army as a Fire fighter be aware that you will have to maintain three uniforms, your army greens( like a business suit), your ACU's and your Blue slacks and t-shirt style Fire Fighter Uniform. I know this from the mouths of some Active Duty Army firefighters who currently work at my station on the AFB. They also told me that you can forget about any training advancement because the departments leadership is all civilian and that is who they look out for since the Army guys come and go so much. Whichever service you join keep in mind that you will at most installations do a 24 on 24 off schedule. Also if you want to get into the DOD civilian jobs, they are looking for DOD certifications which are easier to get as an active duty member. I wish you good luck and try to get your information for all this from someone other than a recruiter.
I agree that you have to initially qualify via MEPS and ASVAB to get the job that you want. HOWEVER, if you want to be Damage Controlman (for instance) and that is all you want to do, do not sign anything unless they (the Navy) has it on your enlistment contract that you are guaranteed the Damage Controlman "A" School. They CAN guarantee "A" Schools. Thats how I signed up, and after speaking with my brother-in-law who is currently a Navy recruiter, it is still done.

Just remember, you are in control until the enlistment papers are signed. If the branch of service does not have an opening in the job you want and are qualified for, you do not have to sign anything. Don't settle for anything other than what YOU want, no matter how much of an enlistment bonus the recruiter tells you you can get if you choose another job, or someting. If you pick a job in the military based on money, you're in for at least a 4 year tour of not being happy with what you are doing.

When you go talk to a recruiter, take an older person -- preferrably a veteran of the branch you are looking at, but definatly someone that you trust -- with you. If you don't know anyone, get in touch with your local Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion Post and ask them to help you. Most of them will happy to help you out.
ALL WONDERFUL ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL answers and only causing me more questions :P i unfourtanatly am 5ft i work out every day but nothing happens i increase tho as much as i can if this is my physical status now would you still suggest navy or airforce or coastguard cause thx to you all this is what i've narrowed down to! :Dthank yOU!
i unfourtanatly am 5ft i work out every day but nothing happens

Well working out isn't going to make you grow any faster. :-)

Say you don't hit a growth spurt and you are still relatively short, it doesn't make a difference what branch you go, you can still enlist.
thx just seeing if size actually matters in these branches
yea thanks
yea that what i was going to do

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