It can be challenging to meet all of the requirements to become a professional firefighter, but for those who have a strong interest in this career, the rewards will be well worth it. If you are interested in becoming a firefighter, here's how you can get started.
When And How Can I Apply For A Position Of Firefighter?
The Town of Collierville / Department of Human Resources only accepts applications and resumes for employment if a vacancy exists and the position(s) are officially posted. You may want to find out if applications are currently being accepted by contacting the Town's Human Resource Department or by calling (901) 457-2290. Employment applications are available at Employment Opportunities.
Job and Work Schedule
Being a Firefighter involves vigorous and skilled physical work and continuous training, as well as managing service calls for fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials and technical rescue. A firehouse is a home-away-from-home. Firefighters live and work together and function as a family and as a team. A typical day includes physical training, equipment maintenance, station maintenance, training, report writing, public education, fire prevention, and emergency response. Firefighters pay for their meals on-duty and assist in food shopping, meal preparation, and clean-up.
Firefighters work 24-hour shifts on a rotating basis, including nights, weekends and holidays. Our Department is organized into three shifts (A-shift, B-shift and C-shift). Firefighters report for duty at their assigned station at 0700 hours and are released from duty at 0700 hours the following morning. Shifts are organized by the following schedule: day on the job, day off, day on the job, day off, day on the job, four days off; then repeats. The schedule is not influenced by holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Should your work shift fall on a holiday, you are expected to be at work.
Minimum Entrance Requirements
AGE: Must be 21 years of age at time of application
BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION: Shall sign a release authorizing a thorough background investigation check and full disclosure of records, which include motor vehicle records, employment, criminal and civil, medical, credit, personal, education, references and residence verification. Applicants must possess "good moral character" as determined under procedures established by the Division of the State Fire Marshal, Tennessee Department of Insurance.
CERTIFICATION: Applicants must already possess their Tennessee Firefighter-1 certificate. Tennessee recognizes International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC), so if you have IFSAC firefighter certificates, you may inquire into state reciprocity by calling the Tennessee Firefighting Commission at (615) 741-6780.
CITIZENSHIP: U.S. (birth or naturalized) Ability to read and write the English language
CRIMINAL: No felony convictions; No class A or B misdemeanors within twenty-four months; No criminal charges pending
DRIVING: Valid driver's license, as required by State residency
DRUG/ALCOHOL: Must be free from the use of any controlled substance or the excessive use of alcohol. Must successfully pass a drug and alcohol screening.
EDUCATION: Possess a High School Diploma or equivalent
EMPLOYMENT: Must have a very good employment record
HEALTH: Must be physically and emotionally sound, and free from any condition, which might adversely affect the performance of firefighting duty. Must successfully pass an extensive medical and psychological examination
HEARING: Have no hearing deficiency greater than 30db average over frequencies 500, 1000, 2000, 3000; or no hearing deficiency greater than 25dB in three of the frequencies
LICENSE: Must possess a valid Advanced Emergency Medical Technician license as outlined in the rules and regulations by the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment and maintain license throughout employment. Tennessee recognizes the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). If certified, you will need to seek reciprocity and obtain a Tennessee AEMT or Paramedic license. Visit the State of Tennessee Department of Health / Division of Emergency Medical Services website at Reciprocity Link or contact them at (615) 741-2584.
MILITARY: If you served in the military, you must have received an honorable discharge
PHYSICAL ABILITY: Must be able to pass a physical ability assessment. You will be tested in several aspects of physical ability such as agility, strength, coordination, balance and stamina. You will be required to perform essential job-related functions/tasks such as handling ground ladders and climbing an aerial ladder, climbing through and/or across rafters, advancing and dragging a charged hose line, lifting and operating rescue tools, etc. These tasks will be performed while wearing firefighter's protective gear, weighting ± 50 lbs.
RESIDENCY: Must legally reside within Shelby County or a response area of no greater than thirty (30) miles from the Town of Collierville
VISION: Normal color and depth perception; Vision of 20/40, 20/100 correctable to 20/20, 20/40
Typical Hiring Process
Position(s) are officially posted
Employment applications are accepted until posted closing date
Employment Applications are reviewed for: Completeness; making sure all applicable supporting documents are attached (copies of birth certificate, driver's license, Firefighting Commission certificate(s), Department of Health AEMT or Paramedic license, etc.) and candidate meets minimum entrance requirements.
Qualified candidates must successfully pass an Entry-Level Candidate Physical Ability Assessment (Candidates will be evaluated on their physical fitness by performing a number of tasks that simulate those performed as a firefighter requiring physical agility, strength, and endurance)
This assessment is designed to measure and evaluate a candidate's ability to adequately perform activities which are related to the position of firefighter. Applicants must possess the physical agility and strength necessary to perform the duties of a firefighter. The best way to prepare for the assessment events is to be in the best general physical condition possible. General physical conditioning exercises will increase your endurance, stamina and strength, which will be helpful. Some suggested general conditioning exercises might include running, swimming, climbing stairs, sit ups, push-ups, weight lifting, etc. Each candidate shall sign a Hold Harmless Agreement releasing the Town of Collierville / Fire Department from any liability/injury before being permitted to participate in the Physical Ability Assessment.
Before participating in the Physical Ability Assessment, all candidates will be required to have their resting heart rate and blood pressure evaluated. If resting heart rate exceeds 110 beats per minute and/or resting blood pressure exceeds 160/100 mm Hg the candidate will be given a 10 minute rest period, and then re-evaluated. If resting heart rate exceeds 110 beats per minute and/or resting blood pressure exceeds 160/100 mm Hg the candidate will be disqualified from participating in the physical ability assessment. For this physical ability assessment, the following will be strictly adhered to for premature cessation of the physical ability assessment.
Onset of angina or angina like symptoms.
Signs of poor perfusion: light headedness, dizziness, confusion, pallor, cyanosis, nausea, or cold clammy skin.
Physical or verbal indications of severe fatigue.
Individual requests the evaluation to stop.
Candidates will wear comfortable active clothes along with work boots for the general assessment and comfortable gym clothes and athletic shoes for the one-mile run assessment. Throughout the general assessment candidates will be required to wear a turn-out coat, helmet and gloves. An air pack (self-contained breathing apparatus) will be required for one event. The department will provide all the necessary firefighter equipment. The process typically consists of seven events designed to assess physical ability. A maximum time for completion has been assigned to each event. Note: We reserve the right to alter the process described in whole or in part without notice or obligation due to weather, staffing, mechanical failure, etc.
Typical Physical Ability Assessment Events
Event 1 - Hose Line Pull
The candidate will be positioned at the nozzle end of a 100' section of two and one half inch fire hose. The candidate will lift the hose and drag the line 50'. He/she will then turn and drag the line 50' back to the original position.
Event 2 - Victim Drag
The candidate will lift the rescue manikin from behind with his/her arms around the chest of the manikin. The candidate will drag the manikin 25 feet, circle a cone marker and return to the starting point. The candidate will lower the manikin to its original position.
Event 3 - SCBA Crawl
The candidate will be assisted with donning full turnouts and SCBA. The SCBA face piece will be covered. The candidate will be positioned at the base of a wall. He/she will crawl the length of 25 feet, turn in the opposite direction, and return to the starting point.
Event 4 - Ladder Raise/Extension
The candidate will be positioned at the tip of a 24 foot extension ladder. The candidate will lift the ladder and hand over hand, rung by rung raise the ladder placing it flush against a wall. The ladder will be secured in upright position by two firefighters. The candidate will extend the fly of a 24 foot extension ladder using a hand over hand method. The ladder will be raised to its maximum height. The candidate will lower the fly section to the starting point. The ladder will be returned to the original position using the hand over hand, rung by rung method.
Event 5 - Light Water Carry
The candidate will assume a position between two 5 gallon containers of firefighting foam concentrate. The candidate will lift the two containers by the handles. The candidate will walk fifty feet carrying the containers, circle a marking cone, and return to the starting point. The containers will be placed in the original position.
Event 6 - Hose Lift and Rack
The candidate will lift and position three rolled sections of two and one half inch fire hose onto a hose storage rack. The candidate will remove the three sections of hose and place them in the original position.
Event 7 - One Mile Run/Jog
The candidate will complete a one mile run/jog. The candidate will be accompanied by a firefighter following in a utility vehicle during the run.
Qualified candidates must successfully pass written firefighter assessment (Measures aptitudes including reading comprehension, mechanical and spatial aptitude, mathematics, and knowledge of firefighting principles and techniques)
Qualified candidates must successfully pass oral interview assessment (Candidates provide information about the amount of education and experience they have had in firefighting, emergency response, working as a team member, being involved in community activities and community service, working with tools, machinery and equipment, and other experiences that indicate acquired skills and interests that would promote a successful firefighting career)
Once a candidate is offered a conditional job offer; candidate must successfully pass:
Comprehensive Background Investigation
Comprehensive Medical Examination, which includes drug and alcohol screening, pulmonary function assessment, chest x- rays, 12-lead ECG, full blood and urine workup, cardiac treadmill, job related immunization and disease evaluation, etc.
Comprehensive Eye Examination, which includes patient interview, visual acuity test, field test, slit lamp exam, refraction assessment, retinal exam and pressure check
Health and Fitness Assessment Screening
Once the fire department receives written documentation the candidate successfully passed and is fit-for-duty, the candidate will be offered a position with a probation period of twelve months.
A career as a professional firefighter requires a certain amount of sacrifice and a willingness to endure some unusual and difficult circumstances. The benefits are a rewarding and challenging career and a sense of having made a difference in your community.