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Old 03-21-2010, 03:11 PM
Location: Sapulpa, Oklahoma
38 posts, read 107,039 times
Reputation: 87


Good afternoon... I was browsing this forum and noticed your query. My thanks to both you and your husband for service to our country.

I served as an Air Force firefighter and retired after 20 years of service so I'll add what I can to this thread. It looks as though you've already received some very good answers to your questions. The federal fire academy at Goodfellow AFB is a DoD level training school. It used to be located at Chanute AFB in Illinois but moved to Texas several years ago and was designed to train firefighters from all of the military services. Once your husband leaves Goodfellow, he'll be assigned to a fire department at an Air Force Base and his duties will primarily suit the local community as well as the mission there. For example, if he goes to an Air Base with no flying activity, he'll primarily be trained and used as a structural firefighter (much like the city departments), emergency medical responses, HAZMAT, and possibly wildfires. Now if he goes to a flying base, he'll probably be most active around the flightline and in situations involving aircraft. Each time he transfers from base to base, his job will change to suit the local conditions of the new base. Some firefighters love the airfield and some love the structural part.

He most likely will work a 72 hour week.... 24 hours on and then 24 hours off. Every two weeks will provide him with a three day break. Each day on duty will involve a training session and possibly a hands-on exercise. As his skills progress, he'll be responsible to teach and train others too. He will also be responsible for equipment maintenance... it's vital that all of your equipment works without flaw so each day, it's inspected, cleaned, and checked to make sure it works.... and if you do this each day, you become very familiar with how to use your equipment. The same will apply to his truck/engine/crash apparatus (depending on his crew assignment). The fire station and the grounds will require daily maintenance and cleaning as well. So you can see that he'll do a lot of housekeeping and maintenance but have you ever seen a dirty fire station or truck? It's all part of the job. As for how active he is, the Air Force has a very aggressive prevention program so there are far less incidents than the city will have. Now having said that... some of the big bases are very busy and require a lot of emergency responses each day. Most of the time, these responses require little first responder assistance and then other days, you may be out for several hours working an incident. He will become bored some days and question why he's in this particular field.

His average workday will be somethiing similar to this - 7:30 am - 4:00 pm: Start duty, inspect equipment, clean station, clean equipment, attend class, participate in exercise, and respond to emergencies as called. 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm: Work out in gym, self study, extra training on tasks that he's struggling with, watch television, and talk with his visitors. From 9:00 pm till 5:30 am: Standby time where you can watch TV, sleep, study, etc... wake up during middle of night for emergency responses, etc. If he is at a busy base, he will come home very tired in the morning after only a few hours sleep.

His grade of E-3 won't have much impact on his position... he'll be assigned to positions that he is qualified/certified to do and will start at the very bottom. My recommendation to him is that he work very hard to master his profession, show lots of enthusiasm and incentive, and start working on his degree. There are many advanced courses that he'll be able to attend as he progresses and usually the sharper, self-motivated performers are chosen for these. You only get back as much as you put in.

I have become very wordy with this and for that I apologize. I hope that I've answered some of your questions. Please do write if you have other questions or curiosities about it. Take care and best wishes.


Originally Posted by arodrigues88 View Post
Hello. This is for my husband who will be on his way to school in San Angelo, TX for firefighter training. I am looking to obtain more information on the firefighter position through the Air Force. So if you are currently in this job field or have done this in the past, please help me out. This will be the first/beginning job he gets put into so he will start off at an E3 (if that makes any difference as far as job functions go).

The things I would like to know are:

What do you do on a daily basis?
Are there different job functions within firefighting?
Are there enough "fires" on base? Or do you get sent off for other jobs?
What duty stations would you most likely be stationed at?

Things like that. Any and all information would be helpful.

Thank you in advance.
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