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  • joining the army reserve need advice

    i am currently in the process of joining the army reserve i plan to enlist for 4-6 years as a 68w(health care specialist/ medic) i am currently an EMT-B and have my FF1 and a bunch of other certificates my plan is to do all my military training then go on to civilian paramedic school but i am worried that once i am finished with schooling fire agencies wont be willing to hire me due to my military obligations witch would be 1 weekend a month a 2 weeks training in the summer every year and of course the chance of deployment. so my question is has anyone else been in this situation or maybe know if there are fire agencies out there who will work with military schedules?

    any input is appreciated thanks

  • #2
    Originally posted by ErnieG View Post
    i am currently in the process of joining the army reserve i plan to enlist for 4-6 years as a 68w(health care specialist/ medic) i am currently an EMT-B and have my FF1 and a bunch of other certificates my plan is to do all my military training then go on to civilian paramedic school but i am worried that once i am finished with schooling fire agencies wont be willing to hire me due to my military obligations witch would be 1 weekend a month a 2 weeks training in the summer every year and of course the chance of deployment. so my question is has anyone else been in this situation or maybe know if there are fire agencies out there who will work with military schedules?
    Legally they can’t use your being in the reserves to hire you or let you off for monthly and annual drills but I’ve talked to too many who have had problems. This shouldn’t be hard to figure out in this economy. They have to hire back when you have drills and deployments.

    Are you going into the military thinking this will help you become a firefighter or are you just a warrior at heart?

    One medic candidate could not get hired after a lot of testing. Yes, they knew he was in the reserves. He told me he had served his time and could get out anytime. I advised him to tell the panel on his next interview that he would resign if offered the job. They offered him the job and he resigned.

    Another medic candidate was on several hiring lists. He had always wanted to be in the military, soooo being a warrior at heart he enlisted in the Marine special opps. Reserves. He missed two solid job offers during his 6 months active duty. Then, he hasn’t been able to get high enough on any lists to be considered. He’s been asked in his orals, have you been deployed? How much time do you have left on your enlistment? He now wishes he didn’t go in the reserves.

    I’ve been in the military. I often hear from candidates asking if going into the military to become a firefighter is a good idea. They’ve heard you can gain training, experience, extra military points on the test, it will great to put on their resume and talk about in their oral. The ones that decide to go into the military I seldom hear from again. What seems to happen is they don’t get the job specialty, low pay, station assignment, get trapped with bills, get married, have kids and a slug of other diversions.

    I recently heard from a guy from Penn, who wanted to be a firefighter, thought he was too young and went into the Airforce thinking it would help. Nine years later this Sergeant is stationed at a B-1 Bomber base in bum Egypt ND trying to keep his family of four together while he tries to test back home.

    I don’t believe it’s all about the certs, experience, military, or where ever life has led you. I really believe that where you make the cut or not has everything to do with if you learned how to take a firefighter oral board interview that is like no other.

    I think staying home and getting your medic certification and savvy street time on the box you will be able to take more tests. Then, as long as you prepare for every step of the hiring process before you show up you can maximize your opportunities and put you ahead of the “clone” pack candidates even if they have the extra 5+ military points.

    Do the math. With most tests the oral board is usually 100% of your score to get hired. Everything else is pass/fail. So candidates go in and get an average oral board score of 80 - 85+ including military points. If you prepare yourself properly to take a firefighter interview you could end up with a score of 90+ to place you at the top of the list going to the chief’s oral to get a real shot at that infamous badge!

    I've seen candidates with great credentials. They had degrees, certificates, paramedic, volunteer, experience and every other merit badge you could imagine. But they couldn’t present the package at the interview. And, if you can't present the package, you don't get the job . . . Period! Never! Ever!
    _____________________________________________

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
    http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Being prior service (and still serving), I know the difficulties of living at least 3 lives (civilian/family, military and fire dept). Thankfully, my dept is very supportive of our military guys. They have won ESGR awards the last few years and the ones that have been deployed have been well taken care of.

      I was hired off active duty when I was stationed locally. I would get those inevitable calls from the FD saying "you need to be here here in 30 min" or "you have a medical exam in the morning." Luckily, my last duty allowed me to flex my schedule to meet these demands. But there were times when I had to inform the Asst Chief that was calling me that "I was on base and 70 miles away. I can leave now and be there in about 90 minutes. Will that work?"

      You will gain a lot of experience, leadership and maturity (even as a junior enlisted if you mind yourself) from the military. These can be EXCELLENT stories during your interviews. However, I would NOT go in there and base every answer off your military experiences. One or two at most.

      As CaptBob said, it is ILLEGAL (federally) to not hire you due to a military service obligation (however, they can find a hundred other things to cite instead). Look at the nation's current political-military situation in the world. During a 6/2 contract, you can expect to be deployed AT LEAST ONCE, if not twice as things stand now. I believe that if you are a probationary employee, you do not have job protection guaranteed by federal law yet (but most depts will still hold it for you or make arrangements should you get deployed). After that, you have 5 years total military duty time they MUST hold your job (and with all the caveats in the way the law is written, you technically end up with many times that).

      On another note, have you looked into the National Guard? In all states/territories except CA, they have substantial educational benefits over the Reserves. Many states offer 100% tuition paid at a state school for members of their Guard.

      PM me for more information about the military stuff.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by CaptBob View Post

        Are you going into the military thinking this will help you become a firefighter or are you just a warrior at heart?
        Thanks for the replies i really appreciate it and as far as my reason for joining the military its a little of both ive always wanted to join the army sense i was a kid and i am also trying to get a leg up on some of the people im competing with right now i see it as a good way to get experience and some help with school but at the same time i dont want to to be something thats going to prevent me from finding a job for a while

        i did also look into the National Gaurd i talked to different people about it and it seems that the fact that it is more state funded and the fact that i live in California with is a broke state means that its harder to get money for things and there are less opportunities available so thats why i leaned more toward the reserves

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        • #5
          While I cannot answer your question directly, I just wanted to say thanks for serving our country. I wanted to share with you an article that illustrates how you will be evaluated following your military commitment.

          STAY SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!
          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
          military veterans may not have as many certificates and fire science units as
          other candidates (they were busy serving our country), they offer so much
          more.

          There is no substitute for life experience. The personal growth a young
          man or woman experiences in the military is second to none. This growth is
          of course magnified depending on the assignments held. Many of those who
          join the military at a young age grow up very rapidly when put into dangerous
          situations.

          Being assigned to the front line is not required to get “credit” for serving in
          the military. Fire departments realize that there are many support roles that
          require dedication and commitment. While there is only one person on the
          nozzle that puts out the fire, there are numerous other assignments that need
          to take place on the fire ground. It is important that a firefighter be willing to
          work in a support role for the good of the team.

          The fire service is a para-military organization. Many of the common
          terms in the fire service, such as Captain and Lieutenant, were taken directly
          from the military. Words like code, honor, commitment, and integrity are
          clearly understood by those in the military. These qualities are also extremely
          important in the fire service, because firefighters are held to a higher standard
          than the average person in the community.

          Men and women with military backgrounds are usually very mature,
          regardless of their age. They understand the need to get along with others,
          especially with people who come from backgrounds different from their own.
          Military people demonstrate respect for authority and understand the chain
          of command. The fire service operates on the same hierarchy principle as
          the military.

          Physical fitness is emphasized in the military. As a result, military men
          and women are usually in very good shape. This is extremely important to
          the fire service, because the number one reason entry-level candidates fail
          out of the academy is due to poor physical fitness. In addition, a physically
          fit firefighter will miss less time due to injury than a firefighter who is not fit.
          Military personnel have been taught the importance of a life-long physical
          fitness program and the importance of proper diet. These good habits will be
          shared with the firefighters in the station.

          Military men and women are used to working in a structured environment.
          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.
          They understand the importance of doing something right the first time.
          Similar to the fire department, people’s lives are impacted if things are not
          kept in a constant state of operational readiness. Firefighters must check
          out their equipment each and every day. They must know the intricacies of
          each tool kept on the engine or truck. Training and continuing education are
          essential to the fire service. It is imperative that firefighters are able to work
          unsupervised; completion of a job or task is a reflection of them.
          Getting along in the fire station is critically important to being successful
          in the fire service. Courtesy to fellow firefighters is critical. Cleaning up after
          oneself is expected. This is one of the first things learned in Basic Training
          in the military.

          One of the strengths found in military men and women, however, is also
          commonly a cause of strife during their probationary year. People who have
          earned rank in the military are used to giving orders. As a rookie firefighter
          you are expected to take orders, not give them. Humility is an extremely
          important quality to possess as a rookie firefighter.

          Rookie firefighters who have spent time in the military are often older
          than the average candidate. It is not uncommon for an older probationary
          firefighter to be working under the tutelage of a much younger senior firefighter,
          engineer, or even lieutenant or captain. If the rookie firefighter does not have
          the proper mind set, he or she will be in for a difficult probationary year.
          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. 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. Start taking online classes NOW.

          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 commitment 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
          Division Chief
          Paul Lepore
          Battalion Chief
          www.aspiringfirefighters.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Im in the exact same dilemma. Im a emt and ff1&2. I work for an ambulance company. I really can't afford paramedics at the moment. Im interested in joining the air force reserve tobget the veterans preference and at the same time help me pay for my school. I want to be able to come back from boot camp and start medics and start applying here at south florida. At the same time, i dont want to be passed on an opportunity when these fire departments do open only because i has to an obligatory weekend out of the month. I dont know what to do...

            Comment

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