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Posted: 2/15/2006 2:39:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/2/2006 1:58:44 PM EDT by rizzo1318]
I am moving to Fort Collins, Colorado in April and I am very interested in starting a career as a firefighter. What should my first step be? Who do I contact and how does the training work? Any stations around the Fort Collins area that are better or easier to get into than others?

Thank for any info you can provide.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 1:02:04 PM EDT
Come on! 38 reads and no posts? Someone has got to know something . . . .
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 1:23:59 PM EDT
Poudre Fire Authority (Fort Collins and area) has a extremly progressive fire department and it's extremly hard to get on. Loveland has a combo departmant and is a good department to get on.

http://www.poudre-fire.org/
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 2:32:05 PM EDT
Employment Opportunities

Mobile Home FireThe 2005 Entry Level Firefighter Testing process has been completed and the eligibility list established.

Please check this page and the Current News page frequently to obtain the most current information.

Minimum qualifications to apply

* Minimum of 60 semester/90 quarter hours of accredited college courses, with a minimum of 2.0 cumulative GPA. A copy of transcripts must accompany the returned job application.
* Must possess and maintain a valid driver's license in good standing.
* Background must be free of disqualifying criminal activity.
* If selected to participate in the Administrative Interview (the final interview to determine an employment offer), a candidate must possess a valid, current Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. The EMT certification is not required to begin the testing process; however, it is required to be able to participate in the Administrative Interview.


Firefighter, Poudre Fire Authority

2005 base salary for introductory firefighter: $38,116

Fire Trucks Benefits: Employment with a progressive, energetic, service-oriented fire department located on Colorado's Front Range, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Also, paid attendance at the Northern Colorado Fire Consortium Fire Training Academy; health, dental and vision coverage; money purchase plans; deferred compensation plans; life insurance; eight paid holidays per year; paid vacation; paid sick leave.

Status: Non-exempt (eligible for overtime)

Schedule: PFA firefighters work a 24 hour rotating schedule: 24 hours on duty, 24 off duty, 24 on duty, 24 off duty, 24 on duty, 96 hours (four days) off duty.

Essential functions: Control and extinguish fires, and provide emergency medical services and rescue to 156,608 citizens in a 235-square-mile response area. See also, the "Duties and Responsibilities" section of this web site.
PFA Specialty Areas

* Wildland and urban/interface firefighting. The PFA Wildland Team is available for out-of-district deployment. Team members have assisted with fighting wildland fires in Texas, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
* Hazardous Materials Response Team. The HMRT is available for hazardous materials incidents within the PFA district, as well as assisting with incidents involving neighboring departments and the Northern Colorado Fire Consortium.
* Public Education Team. The team is active in numerous community and school events and is available to present public education programs. The LAFS program, or Life and Fire Safety, uses puppets and clowns to teach fire prevention and safety to school children.
* Urban Search and Rescue. Several PFA firefighters are members of Colorado Task Force 1, a USAR team available for deployment to natural disasters and other large-scale incidents.
* EMS
* Truck/Heavy Rescue operations
* Swift-water rescue
* Fire prevention
* Fire Truck Mapping. The mapping program is responsible for drawing and updating all maps for use in the PFA response area. The map program also is involved with pre-incident plans, location information for Computer Aided Dispatch and bridge restriction information. Also, the City of Fort Collins is going to begin using GIS address data collected by the PFA mapping program, as the new standard for city maps.
* PFA has approximately 50 committees, and from their first day on the job, firefighters are invited to participate in the "behind-the-scenes" committee work that makes PFA a progressive, quality fire department.

The Hiring Process

A candidate must pass each step during the process to be allowed to continue. With the exception of the oral-resume interview, each step is pass-fail; candidates are not given "extra points" for higher written test scores or a faster CPAT time, for example. Scoring on the oral resume, however, determines candidates' placement on the final hiring eligibility list.

1. The Application Period

Apartment Fire Application packets are available from the City of Fort Collins Human Resources department at the beginning of the application period.

Applications must be correctly and completely filled out, and all required documentation (such as college transcripts) must be included for the candidate to be allowed to take the written test. Applications that are incomplete or incorrectly completed will be discarded, and the candidate will not be allowed to continue in the process.

2. The Written Test

PFA plans to use a written test based on firefighting information provided to each applicant. All questions on the written test are taken from information in the study booklet which is provided with the application packet. Obviously, the more effort a candidate makes to study the material, the more likely he or she will do well on the written test. There will be a cognitive ability component (math, problem solving) in the 2005 written testing process. There will not be a study guide available for the cognitive ability portion of the test.

3. Panel Interview

Candidates who pass the written test are invited to the panel interview. The interview consists of 4-5 PFA firefighters, driver/operators and company officers who interview applicants for approximately 20 minutes. Each candidate answers about five questions. Applicants are given scores based on interview answers. Candidates will only be considered for the CPAT if their panel interview score is sufficient to continue in the process.

4. Candidates Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

Applicants who are selected to continue on to the CPAT will be notified after the panel interview.

Apartment Fire PFA, along with other members of the Northern Colorado Fire Consortium, use the Candidates Physical Ability Test. The CPAT is the result of a cooperative effort by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs and 10 fire departments of various size and location.

Practice days will be scheduled before the actual CPAT. At this practice session candidates who are continuing in the eligibility testing process can practice each of the CPAT events. More information on this practice session will be provided in the application packet and on this web site.

For detailed information on the CPAT, read that section on the PFA web site.

5. Oral-Resume Interview

Applicants who pass the CPAT are invited to the oral-resume interview.

During the oral resume, the candidate is allowed approximately five minutes to give a presentation about him or herself. The candidate may use a resume, flip chart, videotape or other media for the presentation to 4-5 PFA firefighters, driver/operators and company officers (no equipment will be supplied by PFA). The candidate then answers several questions asked by panel members. The interview is about 30 minutes.

6. Eligibility List

The oral-resume interview determines the candidates' placement on the final eligibility list. The applicant with the highest score from the oral resume finishes No. 1 on the eligibility list, the person with the second-highest score is ranked second on the final list, and so on. The eligibility list is valid until the next testing process begins, about two years later.

7. Administrative Interview

When vacancies occur on the department, candidates are invited to a final interview, the Administrative Interview, based on their eligibility list ranking. Chief Officers conduct this final interview. Performance at the Administrative Interview determines whether a candidate is offered employment with PFA. The number of applicants invited to the Administrative Interview depends on the number of vacancies that need to be filled. If there is one opening, three individuals are interviewed. For two or more openings, two candidates for each vacancy are invited to the Administrative Interview. So if there are, for instance, four openings, eight candidates would be invited to participate in the Administrative Interview.

At the time of the interview, the candidate must present a current, valid EMT certificate from any state. Candidates without proof of current EMT certification will not be allowed to participate in the Administrative Interview.

The offer of employment is contingent upon candidates passing criminal background checks, and medical and psychological evaluations, as well as a valid EMT certificate.

Fire Truck In recent years, PFA has sometimes contacted every candidate on the list by the end of the eligibility period. This is because PFA serves a growing community: The 1990 US Census had the Fort Collins area at 88,000 population, compared with 116,000 in 2000. Add to that the approximately 25,000 students enrolled at Colorado State University during the 2003-2004 academic year. Growth in the area means more fire stations, and thus more firefighters, are needed to effectively serve the fire, medical and rescue needs of the community. Since 1994, PFA has hired about 50 firefighters, due to the opening of new stations, retirements and promotions. The department has about 140 uniformed personnel.
Fire Training Academy

All newly hired career firefighters must attend a fire training academy approved by PFA. In recent years, PFA has used the fire academy operated by the Northern Colorado Fire Consortium (NCFC).

Other members of NCFC include the Boulder Fire Department, Longmont Fire Department, Loveland Fire Department and Union Colony Fire/Rescue in Greeley, Cheyenne Fire Department, Mountainview Fire Department, Berthod Fire Protection District, Evans Fire Protection District, and Larime Fire Department.

The member departments have joined together to enhance hiring processes, training programs, promotional opportunities, mutual aid and emergency response. The focus is on quality and cost effectiveness.

The NCFC operates a 14-week fire training academy for new recruits of member departments. NCFC provides the instructors, facilities and equipment for the academy.

During the academy, firefighter recruits use classroom and hands-on training to learn about fire behavior, firefighting equipment, structural fire suppression, ventilation, search and rescue, wild land (urban/interface) firefighting, vehicle extrication, fire-extinguishing and alarm systems, physical fitness and fire prevention.

After completion of the academy, firefighters are prepared to step into their new roles at their fire department.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 4:57:20 PM EDT
Wow! Great info, thank you. Would you say that the Loveland FD is easier to get on with? Not that I don't enjoy a challenge, but it's better to get your foot in the door than have it slam in your face.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 6:56:04 PM EDT
I'm not a firefighter...but play one on TV....

My kid had a walkthrough at a station a while ago...I inquired about the job and requirements....
Also, one of my buddies is a paramed....

Anyway, anymore you really really need to be trained as a paramed to get on....just EMT does not often cut it....

Go to paramed school....AND do well!!!
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 7:30:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Yossarian:
I'm not a firefighter...but play one on TV....

My kid had a walkthrough at a station a while ago...I inquired about the job and requirements....
Also, one of my buddies is a paramed....

Anyway, anymore you really really need to be trained as a paramed to get on....just EMT does not often cut it....

Go to paramed school....AND do well!!!



Not true, it all depends on where you live and the departments requirements.

Cheyenne Fire and Rescue tested at 2 levels this last go round, the Paramedic level and the EMT-B level.

They hired more EMT-B's than Paramedics and the #1 Paramedic on the list did not get hired cuz he did not have enough expercience as a paramedic, so they skiped him for a lower qualified guy who had more paramedic time.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 7:32:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/16/2006 7:33:49 PM EDT by Shrike9]

Originally Posted By rizzo1318:
Wow! Great info, thank you. Would you say that the Loveland FD is easier to get on with? Not that I don't enjoy a challenge, but it's better to get your foot in the door than have it slam in your face.



I don't know about "easier" but you could always start out as a Volley and work you're way up to a paid position. From what I understand that's how the vast majority of Loveland paid firefighters go on with them.

Loveland hosts a weekend summer fire school that is a really good school, lots of hands on training & they send instructors to the Wyoming Mid Winter fire school.

http://www.ci.loveland.co.us/fire/firemain.htm
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 5:48:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Shrike9:

Originally Posted By Yossarian:
I'm not a firefighter...but play one on TV....

My kid had a walkthrough at a station a while ago...I inquired about the job and requirements....
Also, one of my buddies is a paramed....

Anyway, anymore you really really need to be trained as a paramed to get on....just EMT does not often cut it....

Go to paramed school....AND do well!!!



Not true, it all depends on where you live and the departments requirements.

Cheyenne Fire and Rescue tested at 2 levels this last go round, the Paramedic level and the EMT-B level.

They hired more EMT-B's than Paramedics and the #1 Paramedic on the list did not get hired cuz he did not have enough expercience as a paramedic, so they skiped him for a lower qualified guy who had more paramedic time.



Understandable, and yes, experience can be taken to account, but I still think most of the time you are better off being a paramed than a simple EMT....Analogy....Teacher with a credential vs. Teacher with emergency credential....

Also, Cheyenne? Wyoming I am guessing? The more rural the area I am sure the fewer demands for having a paramed cert.

Anyway, not trying to get into a pissing match....

bottom line...check with the department and see what they say.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 3:12:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Yossarian:

Understandable, and yes, experience can be taken to account, but I still think most of the time you are better off being a paramed than a simple EMT....Analogy....Teacher with a credential vs. Teacher with emergency credential....

Also, Cheyenne? Wyoming I am guessing? The more rural the area I am sure the fewer demands for having a paramed cert.

Anyway, not trying to get into a pissing match....

bottom line...check with the department and see what they say.



No peeing match, just exchanging ideas on an issue.

From my POV (that's point of view)

It all depends on the fire department & what they want and need.

If they run a ALS engine or EMS service they have a need for P's, but it all depends on the budget & what they want to pay. It's cheaper to hire 2 EMT-B's than 1 Paramedic.

As a rule the need for ALS trained Firefighters is less than BLS trained Firefighters as you normally have 3 or 4 firefighters on a engine and only 1 of those firefighters needs to be a P you have 3 (or 2) BLS providers to 1 ALS.

However, I've only been in the fire service for 4ish years, so my perspectivce is just that of a young gun
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 5:41:02 PM EDT
Young gun or not, thank you for all your advice and information. It is very much appreciated.
Link Posted: 2/21/2006 3:15:49 PM EDT
You can always look further south as well. We have a buch of guys that live in Ft. Collins (and even further north) that work in the Denver metro area. Drive can be a pain sometimes but it opens up more options for ya. Good Luck.
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