The New York Fire Department is an essential part of the city and is among some of the most diverse departments in terms of women and POC representation. The FDNY exam is conducted every 4 years, and has a great turnout. The last session of the exam, conducted in 2017, witnessed record turnout in terms of applicants. A total of 46,305 people among which 56% were people of color and 4,000+ were women, appeared for the exam.
The FDNY—Tasks and Obligations
The FDNY must respond in a timely manner to all fire-related and any other emergencies that should require their skills and abilities. Some of these duties include:
- Putting out fires
- Technical rescues
- Dealing with chemical and biological threats
- Rescuing people in distress
- Promote fire safety
- Enforce safety standards
The FDNY also offers resources to candidates who wish to join the force, as well as letting them contact a recruiter. Given how susceptible the city is to fires, the FDNY recruits must be physically and psychologically fit to deal with unprecedented and potentially life-threatening situations.
The requirements for becoming a firefighter in NYC range from the academic to the military in addition to basic requirements such as age and residency. Here’s a complete list of requirements:
According to the NYC Firefighter Department, applicants have to above 17.5 and below 29 years of age at the time when you begin filling the application form. There are, however, exceptions for this.
For people on the Firefighter Exam Special Military List: You can be at most 35 years of age when you begin filling the application form.
For people on active military duty: The time spent on active military duty is to be subtracted from your age at the time of filling the application. At most, 6 years can be subtracted. This also goes for people on the Special Military list. New York State Military Law’s Section 243 dictates this.
- There is no gender restriction: both, men and women can sit for the exam. In 2017, 4,181 women appeared for the exam
- You must pass the computer-generated test
- You must pass the physical test
- You must be a U.S. citizen
- When the time of the appointment arrives, you must be 21 years or more
- If an immigrant, you will be required to provide proof of your identity as per the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
- Pass the medical tests including the drug test and the psychological test
- Pass a background test as proof of your “good character”
- Speak and understand English
- Possess an NYS driver’s license
- Live in either of the 5 NYC boroughs or in Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland, or Putnam County.
- You must possess a 4-year high school diploma or an equivalent qualification
- 15 semester college credits at the least are a requirement from an accredited university or college
Requirements for People in the Military
- You must have served full-time in the military along with an honorable discharge
- You must have served full-time as a paid employee for 6 months
Once you pass the multiple tests and are conducted, you will be on your way to becoming a Certified First Responder with Defibrillation Certificate (CFR-D)—this is a requisite needing completion within your probationary period with the FDNY. New York’s Fire Department provides a full training CRF-D included in their firefighting training.
The cost of this training course is covered once you finish your training and achieve the certificate from your per pay period. $30 from every period is deducted until the amount is recovered. Note that applicants failing to acquire the CFR-D certificate at the end of their probation are terminated.
The FDNY exam is split into two parts, among which the first is the written. The “written” exam is actually computer-based, and has to be completed within 4 hours. The exam includes comprehension-based questions (reading passages and answering) or watching videos and answering questions. Grammar, math, logical reasoning, vocabulary, memory, and more are evaluated in this test. This largely multiple choice question-based test revolves around problem-solving. The test is long and important since it’s the first step in the FDNY recruitment process. You must pass this test before you can move on to the physical and medical tests—thus regardless of how physically fit a candidate, all successful ones will have to pass the written exam first and foremost.
The second phase is the Candidate Physical Ability Test, once you pass the written. This test is made up of 8 events, which are:
- Stair climbing
- Hose dragging
- Carrying equipment
- Raising ladders and extensions
- Entering forcibly
- Breaching or pulling ceilings
All candidates can take up to 2 CPAT orientations offered by the FDNY, 8 weeks prior to your scheduled exam. Experienced trainers will guide you and you will be given equipment to use. A month before the CPAT, candidates are allowed to do two practice runs. You must complete this test in 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The events all have breaks of 20 seconds in between, and are conducted in sequential order.
Bear in mind that all candidates are required to wear 50 pounds at a minimum during the test—this is done in order to mimic a firefighting suit and gear. Make sure you are wearing long pants and hardy footwear when going for the test. The FDNY will provide hard hats and gloves for standard safety.
Upon passing the written test, successful candidates will have scheduled interviews with FDNY officers. Depending on how well the candidates have performed, their names are put on a civil services list (accessible through here), following which they are called in for the CPAT. The CPAT is followed by a psychological and medical exam. Based on the order of their numbers in the list, candidates will be hired by the FDNY over a period of 4 years.
The salary for a firefighter begins at $39,370, per annum with $3,700+ in additional pay for overtime and recompense. After completing a period of 5 years, an NYC firefighter can make around $100,000 per annum including the holiday pay and overtime recompense.