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  • 09/11/2003
  • WildlandFire.com Team
  • 242 views
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TazGirl,

I would be happy to talk to you and Ab can pass my email addy on to you. But here is the low down: you don’t really need any special qualifications to go out as a radio operator.

There is a self study course you can take to be a dispatcher, just call up your local Forest, BLM, BIA, NPS, of FWS district and ask to be referred to their fire program and they can tell you all about it.

If you want to apply to be a dispatcher or something of the like go and look in USAJobs and formally apply, but you can also just go out as an AD which is an emergency hire position. The way to do that is to find out the number for the regional dispatch center you want to work out of and give them a call. Let them know that you want to be made available as an AD radio operator and see what they say. Generally they prefer for you to be associated with an agency already, but it is really just a matter of getting friendly with folks.

Communications is fun and important. You usually work 15 hours a day in camp and will have hours of down time when nothing is happening (you read a book or write letters, whatever) then bam! You get a medical evacuation. You also have to get on good terms with Supply and Ground Support so you can expedite line orders efficiently and get the guys on the line what they need. You also have to write down EVERYTHING because sometimes Helibase or somebody will drop the ball and they are going “what were those coordinates again?”

I like communications but not everybody does, some people hate feeling like they are stuck babysitting the radio, but I feel like it is important work. Fire camp is awesome, I love it. The only bummer is that after working all day you just go to sleep after that so you spend all your time in the commo unit so you spend two weeks in camp talking on the radio being well fed and hence you put on a few pounds.

FireChica

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