Firefighters in Illinois want Governor Quinn to let trained military firefighters seamlessly transfer to civilian jobs when they leave active duty. The state is not among at least 38 in the nation that allow so-called automatic reciprocity for military firefighters. During a state convention in Normal today, U. S. Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, urged Quinn to sign an executive order.
"Think about a fire aboard a ship. You have a number of cramped spaces. It may be way more difficult to fight a fire on a ship, with ammunition and add fuel already. Those kinds of dangers aren't present in a civilian office building or house."
Kirk says, under current rules, ex-military firefighters are only offered a single opportunity to challenge Illinois' firefighter certification exams. He says the process in place often costs these men and women thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in time. The president of the Associated Firefighters of Illinois says he didn't have an opportunity to ask Quinn about the issue when the Governor appeared at the conference yesterday.
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