Military Firefighting Careers
Fire departments and airports aren't the only places where you can find work as a firefighter.
Firefighters in the military perform similar functions to their civilian counterparts, including putting out fires on board aircraft and buildings, being called out vehicle emergencies to rescue trapped personnel, and fighting natural cover fires. They also conduct regular inspections of equipment and fire vehicles to ensure that they are kept in good working order. Fire prevention demonstrations are also part of the military firefighter's job description.
Military firefighters are also deployed to deal with leaks or spills involving hazardous materials. Senior firefighters supervise the work of lower-ranked personnel and may conduct initial fire investigations.
The work can be physically demanding, and would-be military firefighters must be physically and mentally fit to serve. A person with a history of mental illness, unless transitory in nature, would not be able to qualify for this position. Someone who has suffered from claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), pyrophobia (fear of fire), or acrophobia (fear of heights) would not be considered for this type of work either. Good vision and hearing are job requirements, and applicants must have a valid driver's license.
The training base for military firefighters is located at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. New recruits will undergo nine weeks of Basic Training and a further 13 weeks of specialized firefighting training. This portion of the training is a combination of classroom instruction and work in the field. The training includes the following components:
- Kinds of fires
- How to operate various kinds of firefighting equipment
- First Aid
- Firefighting procedures
Getting trained as a military firefighter is a good way to prepare for a future career as a civilian firefighter. Former members of the military can also move into job opportunities working for government agencies or industries in the private sector.