How to Hire a Firefighter

Does your growing business need a firefighter? Firefighters are key personnel who protect peoples’ lives, safeguard the environment and help others.

Here are some tips to help you find great firefighter candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Firefighters searching for jobs on Indeed*


job seekers that clicked firefighter jobs


resumes for job seekers with firefighter experience on Indeed


firefighter jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring a firefighter?

  • Common salary in US: $44,276 per year
  • Typical salaries range from $14,000$100,000 per year
  • Find more information on Indeed Salaries

*Indeed data (US) — December 2020

As of December 2020, firefighter jobs in the US are less competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 58 job seekers per firefighter job.

Why hire a firefighter?

Hiring a firefighter can help save the lives of people in your community and protect the environment. Choosing the right firefighter is essential to help save your community from the devastating impact of natural or human made fires and help people reach hospitals to get treated immediately. A firefighter’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Conducting all firefighting procedures including combating, preventing and extinguishing fires to protect property, life and environment
  • Skillfully operating all fire tools and equipment as per standards
  • Delivering emergency medical care

Deciding between a full-time vs part-time firefighter

Before writing a firefighter job description or interviewing candidates, it’s important to decide if you need a full-time or part-time firefighter (and what your budget will allow).

Part-time firefighters may respond to fires and emergencies on an on-call basis or during a recurring shift to provide 24/7 coverage throughout the year. Many full-time firefighters, on the other hand, work during daytime peak demand periods. However, some stations implement 24-hour shifts where one team stays for the whole day, while others use 12-hour shifts.

What are the types of firefighters?

When hiring a firefighter, it’s important to understand the specific kind of firefighter you need. Here are some of the most common types of firefighters to help you find one that meets your needs (and stays within your budget):

  • Fire chief: The top executive or commanding officer in a fire department, responsible for planning, organizing and directing the entire department.
  • Firefighter trainee: People who are new to the field of firefighting and receive on-the-job training to become a firefighter. 
  • Paramedic firefighter: In addition to firefighting duties, paramedic firefighters care for patients in emergency medical situations. They perform life-saving techniques like CPR and first aid.
  • Wildland firefighter: Responsible for combating wildfires, preventing future wildfires and conducting search and rescue missions. They typically work at the federal, state and local level.

Where to find firefighters

To find the right firefighter for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Ask for referrals: Encourage your current employees to refer people they know who may be a good fit for your firefighter role. You can also tap into your network of professional connections to get qualified referrals.
  • Get involved at local colleges. Attend career fairs and post help wanted flyers on college campuses near you to attract firefighter candidates.
  • Recruit military veterans. Military veterans often have the experience and skills needed to succeed as firefighters.
  • Post your job online: Try posting your firefighter job on Indeed to find and attract quality firefighter candidates.

Skills to look for in a great firefighter

Review the skills and qualifications of all possible candidates to identify the most suitable candidate for your firefighter role. Great firefighter candidates will have training, qualifications and experience that reflect these top firefighter skills and qualifications:

  • High school diploma or GED needed
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Current and valid Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) license and Certified National Registry EMT
  • Ability to pass a physical fitness test
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Ability to work in physically-demanding, challenging conditions
  • Ability to clear background checks for drug and alcohol screening including medical examinations
  • Advanced quick thinking and problem-solving skills

Writing a firefighter job description

Create a detailed job description with a list of duties, responsibilities and required skills and training to find suitable firefighter candidates.

When writing your firefighter job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on chef jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Firefighter
  • Fire department
  • Fire
  • Government
  • Fire fighter
  • Fire chief
  • Firefighter recruit
  • Wildland firefighter
  • Firefighter trainee
  • Paramedic

Interviewing firefighter candidates

After reviewing the resumes of your top firefighter applicants, schedule interviews to learn more about each candidate. Ask questions to find out more about a job candidate’s experience, training, education and passion. Strong candidates for firefighter positions will be confident when answering a variety of questions about the following topics:

  • Proficiency in the field of firefighting and emergency rescue procedures
  • Knowledge and experience combating and extinguishing fires and saving people, pets and the environment
  • How they’ve excelled at protecting lives and preserving the environment

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of firefighter interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a firefighter

What does a firefighter wear?

A firefighter’s uniform typically consists of a bright orange, yellow or reflective turnout pants and jackets made of fire-resistant fabrics. Other protective gear includes a fire-resistant hood to protect the head, a face mask, helmet, leather gloves, steel toe boots and a SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus). Employers usually pay for this protective clothing and equipment through a uniform allowance. 

How do I choose between two good firefighter candidates?

When choosing between two good firefighter candidates, there are other skills, traits and qualifications you can consider to help you make your final hiring decision. For example, will either firefighter candidate bring culture add to your department? Unique perspectives, a history of overcoming obstacles and a passion for the field can help you create diverse teams. Another factor to consider is personality traits. For instance, if one candidate exhibits more integrity, dedication or adaptability than the other, they may be more successful in the role.

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021