MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Alabama —
For some, it may seem careless to crawl through the flames and save someone you’ve never met. It can seem daunting to hoist tools through a window you’ve just climbed into using a single ladder with flames and smoke all around.
Being in charge of lives and mitigating tasks in a chaotic environment can distress the average person. However, the 908th Airlift Wing is not looking for the average.
If you possess a stellar attitude coupled with a desire to serve and protect, then you should consider becoming a Fire Protection Specialist (Air Force Specialty Code 3E7X1), with the 908th Civil Engineer Squadron.
To become a fire protection specialist or firefighter for the U.S. Air Force, you must first meet basic entry requirements and complete 7.5 weeks of basic training and 68 days of technical training at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.
“For someone interested in this career field, I would say come mentally prepared,” said Senior Airman Coryan Carter, 908 CES firefighter. “About 80% of firefighters knowingly find themselves in dangerous situations and don’t let stress overwhelm you.”
Generally, a firefighter’s priority is to protect people, property and the environment from fires and disasters. They could deal with anything from bushfires to hazmat fires to emergency first aid to casualties. They also perform a significant amount of training, study, and administrative work such as writing incident reports, keeping abreast of policy and protocol changes, reviewing fire prevention plans, or taking development for promotions.
Firefighters are expected to know a wealth of information relating to the area and their respective fire departments. They should be familiar with their department’s mission, security requirements and objectives, as well as the internal rank structure and incident command system. In addition, they must know the proper use of equipment, fire hose apparatus, safety ladder procedures, forcible entry and ventilation tactics, and the proper wearing of protective gear. Individual protection.
Firefighters are also trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation rescue, basic emergency medical technician skills, and other means of rescue. Some examples where this training may be necessary are traffic incidents, gas leaks, elevator malfunctions, or aircraft fires. Although the priority of a firefighter is to protect people, property and the environment, this would not be possible if the firefighters had not prepared in advance.
On a typical day when firefighters aren’t responding to a call, they can inspect and maintain their equipment, vehicles, and PPE, ensuring they’ll be able to execute the mission when the time comes. Routine checks help firefighters track inventory and what needs fixing or cleaning around the fire station.
“One of the biggest responsibilities as a firefighter is to check the truck,” Carter said. “It is vital to our work that we have sufficient water supplies, enough gas and equipment that works as it is supposed to, to avoid unnecessary hazards on the premises. It’s a small thing that many people may not think about, but it’s crucial.
Firefighters also engage with the local community, providing information and safety demonstrations, or promoting awareness, safety and fire prevention.
To access this specialty, a secondary school diploma with courses in chemistry, general sciences and mathematics is desirable. Some useful attributes to possess are discipline, stamina, and a sense of motivation to perform each operation.
“I believe joining the military as a firefighter gives an invaluable resource to start a career because of the knowledge, certifications and training you receive,” said Senior Master Sgt. 908 CES Fire Chief Aaron Bebernitz. “When we all put on this uniform, we are serving the same country, fighting the same enemy and all united as one.”
If you are interested in a part-time career with full-time benefits as a Reserve Citizen Airman with the 908th Airlift Wing, please contact our recruiting staff at 334-953-6737.