Expedited Firefighting Certification for Florida Veterans
Operation Dispatch is a special Florida program that eases the way for military firefighters to enter the state’s civilian firefighting workforce.
There are certain qualities and skills one must have to become a member of the Florida firefighting community—high levels of discipline and commitment, specialized training and extensive firefighting experience.
In recognition of the fact that military-trained firefighters are exceptionally qualified for civilian firefighting service, the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal partnered with the Departments of Military Affairs and Veterans Affairs to create Operation Dispatch—a program designed to ease and expedite military firefighters’ entry into the Florida fire service industry.
Before launching Operation Dispatch, the organizers developed pilot programs to confirm the viability of the concept as a pathway for military firefighters to transition into protecting Florida communities.
OPERATION DISPATCH applies credit for the training firefighters receive during their time in the military and encourages these exceptional men and women to come to Florida after completing their service.
OPERATION DISPATCH Program Details
OPERATION DISPATCH cuts out redundant training for military-trained firefighters by requiring only 40 hours of training specific to Florida standards. The program additionally reduces the cost of Florida-specific training and testing for military firefighters, and enables them to take the certification exam in a more timely fashion than the typical quarterly testing schedule allows. As such, those who complete the exam successfully can enter the workforce more quickly. The program curriculum also helps participants develop resume and interviewing skills to support their job search efforts.
This OPERATION DISPATCH video casts light on the immense value of the program for veteran firefighters. Brigadier general James Eifert, Commander of the Florida Air National Guard says: “Our men and women go through some of the most rigorous training available in the spectrum of our military jobs. To have the state recognize the training that our military firefighters have been through is inspiring.”
Pilot program participant, veteran Jonas Macskassy, adds: “After being in the fire service for almost 23 years, it’s amazing … that I don’t have to go through the basic firefighting academy again, but that we can have this transition program where we can just kind of fill in the gaps for the Florida requirements and become state certified. I really look forward to working in the state of Florida. I’ve been amazed at how veteran- and military-friendly the state is, and I’m proud to call it my home.”
For more information on Operation Dispatch, call 352-369-2800 or email OperationDispatch@myfloridacfo.com.