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Military Service and Firefighting

Paul Lepore

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 the 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 joined the military at a young age grew 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 as important to the fire service as they are to the military.

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 different backgrounds from them. 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.