Fire Protection Careers

A career in fire protection offers the opportunity to perform challenging and exciting work while protecting the residents, resources, and property in the State of California. Working as a team, fire protection employees respond to medical emergencies, wildland and structural fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous material spills, and other emergency incidents. CAL FIRE also provides leadership and support services for natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. Being physically fit is important, and prospective employees must meet required medical standards. Fire protection employees typically work varying shifts, including 24-hour days and weekends and holidays. They must be willing to live and work in remote areas and be able to live compatibly in a fire station with others.


 

FIRE FIGHTER I

You may choose to begin your fire protection career as a Fire Fighter I. Fire Fighter I is a seasonal, temporary classification. Employment typically begins in the spring and lasts an average of six months. As a member of an engine crew, a Fire Fighter I fights fires using a variety of firefighting equipment, repairs equipment, and responds to other emergency situations; performs heavy physical work and assists others with general housekeeping. The hiring process for these temporary positions may include an oral interview.

Minimum Requirements:

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

Minimum Age: 18 years at the time of appointment.

KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITIES

Knowledge of: Good physical work methods.

Ability to: Follow oral and written directions; do heavy physical work; exercise good judgment in hazardous fire suppression activity; accept and benefit from training in fire suppression work and techniques; work safely with others; live in a fire station compatibly with others; respond quickly to oral commands or signals in emergency situations.

SPECIAL PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

Willingness to live and work in remote areas and on weekends and holidays and remain on duty 24 hours a day, as required; visual acuity, color vision and hearing sufficient to perform the assigned duties; physical strength, dexterity and agility necessary to perform the duties of the position.

ADDITIONAL DESIRABLE QUALIFICATION

Possession of a valid California driver license of the appropriate class issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.


 
 

FIRE FIGHTER II

If you have some firefighting experience, you may be interested in a permanent Fire Fighter II position. Persons selected for employment as a Fire Fighter II are placed in a three-year apprenticeship program. A Fire Fighter II performs the full-range of fire fighting duties including responding to alarms as a member of an engine crew on such fire apparatus as engines or water tenders, entering burning areas and structures with charged hose lines, and ventilating buildings. A Fire Fighter II assists in the training of seasonal and volunteer fire fighters and may assist in making fire prevention inspections. Fire Fighters II assist in building, grounds, and equipment maintenance and repair. The exam typically consists of a supplemental application. Permanent appointments are conditional upon successful completion of a CAL FIRE training course.

Minimum Requirements:

Minimum age of 18 years at the time of appointment. (Candidates who are within two months of satisfying the age requirement will be admitted to the examination.) and

Experience:
Either I
Three months of fire-fighting experience.

Or II
One year of experience as a certified volunteer fire fighter.

Or III
Completion of training courses, prerequisite for Fire Fighter I Certification.

Or IV
One year of experience as a Fire Prevention Specialist I and successful completion of the mandatory training courses prescribed for a Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Fire Fighter I.

 
 

FIRE APPARATUS ENGINEER

If you are an experienced firefighter, you may want to consider the position of Fire Apparatus Engineer. Each person selected for a permanent Fire Apparatus Engineer position is placed in a three-year apprenticeship program. A Fire Apparatus Engineer drives and operates fire apparatus such as engines, water tenders, rescue squads, and aerial trucks in connection with extinguishing wildland, structural or other fires, and in fire prevention and rescue work; performs medical aid duties; performs building, grounds, and equipment maintenance; makes fire code inspections; investigates fire causes; presents fire prevention programs to the public; and keeps records and prepares reports. A Fire Apparatus Engineer leads a crew and may act as Fire Captain relief. The exam typically consists of a supplemental application. Permanent appointments are conditional upon successful completion of a CAL FIRE training course.

Minimum Requirements:

Possession of a valid driver license of the appropriate class issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Applicants who do not possess the license will be admitted to the examination but must secure the license prior to appointment. and

Experience:
Either I
Eight months of fire-fighting experience.

Or II
Enrollment in the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee Preapprenticeship Outreach Program.

And
Three months' fire-fighting experience until December 31, 1983; six months' fire-fighting experience until December 31, 1984; or eight months' fire-fighting experience thereafter.

Or III
Two years of experience as a certified volunteer firefighter. (Candidates who are within two months of satisfying the experience requirement under Pattern I above for this class will be admitted to the examination, but they must fully meet the experience requirement before being eligible for appointment.)

Or IV
Two years of experience as a Fire Prevention Specialist II and successful completion of the mandatory training courses prescribed for a Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Fire Fighter I.

 
 

HEAVY FIRE EQUIPMENT OPERATOR

If you are interested in working with heavy fire equipment, a job as a Heavy Fire Equipment Operator may be for you. Heavy Fire Equipment Operators are trained in fire fighting and operating heavy equipment used in wildland fire control, forest protection, and conservation project work. Heavy Fire Equipment Operators operate and perform maintenance and repair work on vehicles and heavy equipment such as bulldozers, motor-graders, heavy duty transports, and trucks. Operating heavy equipment is required on steep, narrow mountain roads, under hazardous conditions, on the fire line, road construction, and other forestry construction projects. The examination process typically consists of a written test, oral interview, and performance test. Permanent appointments are conditional upon successful completion of a CAL FIRE training course.

Minimum Requirements:

Minimum Age: 18 years at the time of appointment.
Possession of the type of driver license required by law applicable to the types of heavy motorized vehicles operated on the job. (Applicants who do not possess the required license will be admitted to the examination, but must secure the license prior to the performance test.

And
One year of over the highway experience operating Class 8 transport vehicles with multi-speed manual shift transmissions, with a gross vehicle weight of at least 60,000 pounds or greater;

And
One year of experience operating D6 or D7 bulldozers or equivalent size bulldozers produced by other manufacturers. Qualifying bulldozer experience must include at least 500 hours of operation of the specified bulldozers in rugged terrain;

And
Education equivalent to completion of the twelfth grade.

 
 

OTHER CAREERS IN FIRE PROTECTION

It takes employees in many different occupations to complete the fire protection team. CAL FIRE employs Fire Fighters II (Paramedic) and Fire Apparatus Engineers (Paramedic). Forestry Fire Pilots and Air Operations Officers are responsible for aerial fire fighting responsibilities. Heavy Equipment Mechanics and Forestry Equipment Managers ensure that equipment is maintained in a state of readiness. Fire Prevention Assistants and Fire Prevention Specialists work with the public and local governments in the areas of information, inspection, education, engineering, and law enforcement. These are just some of the challenging opportunities available with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

THE COMPETITIVE EDGE

There are many applicants for fire protection positions. If you are interested in this career field, you may want to consider activities that may increase your competitiveness:

  • Obtain a good educational foundation in reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Consider team sports, scouting, and R.O.P. (firefighting programs).
  • Although not required, you may be more competitive if you have taken some of these college classes: First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Wildland Fire Control, Introduction to Fire Technology, Fire Science, or Fire Officer classes (Fire Command, Fire Investigation, Fire Prevention, Fire Instructor, Fire Management).
  • In addition to taking specialized college classes, take general education classes to improve your skills, and take business or related courses to enhance your competitiveness for management positions.
  • Participate in aerobic conditioning and weight training.
  • Become a volunteer firefighter to help you decide if this is the career for you, and to give you job-related experience.

MOVING UP

After completion of three years of permanent, full-time experience as a Fire Apparatus Engineer and successful completion of the apprenticeship program, employees may take the promotional Fire Captain examination. A Fire Captain supervises the work of one or more engine companies or hand crews and shares in the management of a fire station, or is assigned to one of a variety of specialty assignments such as air attack, prevention/law enforcement, conservation camp, emergency command center, or training. After three years at the Fire Captain level, employees may take the promotional examination to become a Battalion Chief.

 

This Google™ translation feature is provided for informational purposes only.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protecton is unable to guarantee the accuracy of this translation and is therefore not liable for any inaccurate information resulting from the translation application tool.

Please consult with a translator for accuracy if you are relying on the translation or are using this site for official business.

If you have any questions please contact us here.

Select a Language Below / Seleccione el Idioma Abajo

Close this box or use the [ X ]