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Thread: Becoming a firefighter: 10 must-do things

  1. #1

    Default Becoming a firefighter: 10 must-do things

    Being a firefighter is not easy and neither is the process of becoming a firefighter. Competition is fierce and the hiring process can be very grueling and challenging, something many people do not endure or succeed at. More than 70% give up the pursuit of becoming a firefighter and move on to other career choices.

    There are likely many reasons for this statistic. Perhaps they did not know what they were getting into when they began the process, or they did not adequately prepare themselves.

    1. Become an EMT

    The great majority of departments are requiring an EMT certification to apply and more than 90% will require this certification after hire. Since most fire departments run upwards of 70% or more emergency medical-related responses, it only makes sense for them to require this as a prerequisite. Additionally, it is much less training they have to provide you during the recruit academy.

    2. Volunteer your time

    It doesn't matter if it is fire- or non-fire-related volunteer experience. Departments are looking for those with the desire and ability to provide community service and nothing proves this more than doing volunteer community service work. It is also a great way to build your resume for those just getting started and get great references.

    3. Take fire technology classes

    Even though this is typically not a requirement to apply for a fire job, it sure looks good on your resume and prepares you for the career. It shows some dedication, commitment and initiative toward your career of choice.

    4. Maintain a clean background and lifestyle

    Whether you agree or disagree, it doesn't matter. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

    5. Understand all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process

    If you do not understand what phases you will have to successfully pass, and pass well, to become a firefighter, how are you ever going to succeed? The selection process will vary in different regions and even from department to department, but there are some basic similarities across the board.

    6. Start taking firefighter tests

    What better way to understand all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process than taking firefighter tests? Each test better prepares you for the next. Who cares if you fail a portion of the test; what matters is that you have exposed yourself to the process and more importantly, have a better idea of what to expect in the future, since most fire departments have very similar hiring process components.

    You may fail most do at some point in the process of becoming a firefighter. I failed a physical ability exam, a written exam and even an oral interview because I did not truly prepare and was not sure what I was getting into. Learn from your mistakes and don't make the same mistake twice. You'll never know your strengths and weaknesses in the hiring process unless you start taking tests.

    7. Stop by fire stations

    Take the time to visit your local fire stations, especially those that are a part of the fire department you are applying for. Talking to firefighters is a great way to find out more about the career and specific department as well as any programs they may have such as cadet positions, reserve firefighter or other opportunities.

    Your local firefighters are a great resource for you to learn from and start networking with. These firefighters obviously had what it took to get through the hiring process, and they may have also sat on oral boards or have been involved in their department's hiring process in some capacity.

    8. Get some life experience

    The last thing the fire department that hires you wants to do is to teach you how to clean a toilet, how to treat customers, how to cook a meal, how to do dishes, how to do yard work or even basic mechanical aptitude. These are things you should bring to the job, and not expect the fire department to have to teach you.

    9. Start preparing for your background investigation

    I have seen many candidates prepare for all the other phases of the testing process, pass with flying colors, but then fail the background because they lied, or had something in their background that was enough to disqualify them that they were not forthright with, or they did not have the necessary information. A background investigation packet is typically 25 or more pages in length, and is going to ask you for some intimate and specific details such as:

    Information from every employer you have worked for including dates, duties, title, supervisor name and salary.
    Information from every school you have attended high school and later, including degrees received, dates attended and grade point average.
    Information about certificates, licenses or other key documents you may possess and will be required to show proof of by way of a photocopy.
    Information about your family members and friends so the background investigator can meet with them and ask about you.
    Information about your credit history, including accounts at different banking institutions and amount of debt. Yes, bad credit can hurt you in a background check.
    Information about your driving record, including dates, locations and outcomes of tickets and accidents.
    Information about your military experiences, if any.

    10. Learn as much as you can about the fire service and get hands-on experience

    The fire service should not just be a job, it should be a career and you should be passionate about the career and all that goes along with it. Besides the above-mentioned items, take the time to subscribe to fire service publications like

    By completing all 10 of the above suggestions, you will not be guaranteed a career in the fire service. There are no guarantees in life, except birth, death and paying taxes. However, your odds should increase greatly since you will be making yourself more marketable, more informed and the best overall candidate you can be.

    Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and good things come to those who wait. Do not try and rush things and do not expect it to happen overnight. Patience, hard work, dedication and perseverance are the keys to success in any field.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2021


    That's pretty interesting. We need such people these days, but not many love this profession.

  3. #3


    Yes, these are good points that can help in becoming a firefighter. But it's best to go to sites where it's all described in detail and where they can help you pass a practice test like But it would help if you learned everything you'll be asked about before you practice. I completely agree that the fire department shouldn't just be a job, it should be a career, and you should be passionate about your career and everything that goes with it. That's absolutely the right approach to the profession. You have to give your all to succeed at something.
    Last edited by Annavyney; 25th November 2021 at 06:28 PM.

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