Just wondering how many out there have made the transition from military FF/EMS to civilian FF/EMS, how hard was it, and did your military training help you prepare for the job.

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My Navy experience did not help me get a job in the civilian fire service. However, having an understanding of the principles of firefighting did help while attending fire related schools. While in the Navy, Damage Control was a collateral duty for me. I was part of the inport, and at sea fire party and I had the oppurtunity to be a member of the Damage Control Training Team while stationed aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67).
Hey FC Thorpe,
When were you on the JFK? I was on there from November '91 - June '95. I went from DCFR to DC3 on there. If it was anything when you were there like it was when I was there, you saw a little fire.
wasnt the jfk in dry dock in 94 in philly i was going to hta school i had orders to that ship then i got transfered to the uss peleliu (lha-5)
Sure was! I was on there through the whole overhaul in Philly. Lucky man to have got orders anywhere else. That old tub was a piece of junk back then. I was surprised it wasn't decom'ed before last spring.
Heck, I wished I could have stayed on a lot longer than I did. I was on Big John for 6 months before getting transferred to NOPF Dam Neck
I made the transition some years ago and my answer to the question is both yes and no. Most employers look favorably on military training during hiring but many municipaL fire departments want people with no fire training so they can train them the way they want them trained. In my department (a federal fire department)you had to have 2 years related CIVILIAN fire related training/experience to get hired. This can be obtained by joining a vol. fire department if you have the time. Now that is clear as mud isn't it? hope this helps
I didn't see my military training help me land a job at all. The military points, yes, but the job itself didn't matter to land a municipal job. Education is the key to getting a job nowadays, not the military training. So get as much education you can while serving, PACE, CLEP, DANTES etc. In today's world a FD rarely goes over the resumes and gets a chance to relate the military experience. Instead you get some college grad working in HR with no clue what a DCman even does, let alone evaluate the job. The Navy and military doesn't do a good job either of relating the job skills into civilian friendly descriptions where credits could be given for experience. Again education is the key to getting a job in the fire service today.

As for the skills learned while serving, that definately helped on the job. I can look at a system during inspections and understand them without thinking about it. You learn aggressive tactics, because there is no "surround and drown" on a ship. You learn public speaking because of training shipmates, which does go far in the fire service. Finally, there is stuff that does reflect from both jobs that helps. As a member of our USAR team, it is funny how I seemed to be the only one comfortable operating a PECU and trained others on it.


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