Is the job dangerous?
To say “no” is misleading. The bulk of firefighting work is accomplished through coordinated teamwork, strong leadership by officers, and good communication. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) has laid the foundation for all its firefighters through its fire academy, with safety for its members being of utmost concern.
In reality, there are less fires today than in times past, though it is an integral part of our job function. Nowadays, firefighters do many other tasks in addition to fighting fires, including medical emergencies, car accidents, utility emergencies, fire safety and education, building inspections and more. Firefighters are constantly helping people and because of this, it is a job that is full of honor, pride and respect.
Can women really do this job or do they just get assigned paperwork?
Women have been working as firefighters for the FDNY for well over three decades. In the nation, women have been involved in both volunteer and paid forces for as long as the 1800’s.
In our department, women have served the ranks from probationary firefighter all the way up to Battalion Chief. No, women are NOT assigned to desk jobs. We get treated in the same regard as our male counterparts—from taking the entrance exams, to the training in academy, right down to the firehouse. Unlike the military or other city agencies, there is not a different physical exam or academy requirements for women and men. We do the same job and have the same requirements.
What about child care (or returning back to school, or my current career)?
Many of the women firefighters are mothers and find that working in the fire department is actually beneficial to childcare arrangements. Because of the flexibility of the work schedule, many firefighters also have enough spare time to go back to school and maintain extra departmental employment.
What are the benefits of the job?
(From the FDNY website) More information can be found by clicking here.
Lifelong medical coverage for you and your family,
Flexible work schedules,
Up to four weeks paid vacation per year,
Generous pension after 22.5 years of service.
What is the process of getting hired to the FDNY like?
Initially, a computer based test is administered. After the written test is scored, extra points are awarded to: veterans, NYC residents and legacy recipients. From these scores, a rank ordered list is established and candidates are then invited to take the physical test as classes in Fire Academy are necessitated. The physical test is now scored as pass/fail and is conducted before you would enter in academy. The test is called the Candidate Physical Abilities Test (CPAT). This process can take anywhere from two to four years and for that reason; the open competitive hiring process is usually only offered every once every four years.
EMTs who work under civil service status for at least two years with the FDNY are eligible to be promoted to firefighters. This promotional opportunity is usually offered once every two years and adheres to the same standards as the open competitive testing.
There is no height, weight or other physical attributes requirement. Women get tested with the same expectations as everyone else. For more information about being a firefighter, please visit the FDNY website.
The promtional exam from FDNY EMS to Firefighter is NOW OPEN until 8/23. Please click here for the Notice of Exam.
The next Open Competitive Firefighter exam is slated for Spring 2017. Please call 718-999-FDNY to be on the FDNY contact list so you can be notified as soon as that date has been established.
What does CPAT look like and how can I prepare for it?
The Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) is a nationally recognized firefighter exam that the FDNY uses as the physical portion of your firefighter exam.
Click here to view the CPAT video in order to learn what is expected.
Click here to view the CPAT Preparation Guide in order to view the guide and exercise plan to help you pass the physical portion of the firefighter entry exam, CPAT.
How can the United Women Firefighters (UWF) help me get hired?
The UWF has been conducting our training program for women for the past 20 years. We have developed a training program with classes, instructors and mentors specifically geared to help women pass the physical portion of the firefighters exam. Currently, we have partnered with the New York Sports Club (NYSC), the Fire Foundation and the New York Women's Foundation to deliver the best training program we've ever developed. Through our efforts, many more women have joined the ranks over the years. For more information about our training program, please click here.
When should I start training? What should I be doing?
You should be training NOW if you haven’t been! The physical portion of the firefighter’s exam has traditionally been focused on strength and agility. A couple of tools that will help you immensely in your training is the purchase of a 50 lb. weight vest (you can add 10 lb. weights to the traditional 40 lb. weight vest and add a 35 lbs. of weight in a backpack to simulate the 75lb stair climb) and the purchase of a hand gripper. The weight vest is worn throughout the exam. One portion of the exam includes climbing a stair mill with the vest worn. The hand gripper and other grip exercises, will help strengthen your forearm muscles, which will help you handle some of the tools on the exam. You should be doing both cardio as well as strength training. The UWF highly recommends that you focus on circuit training and upper body strength.
Are you available to speak to groups in schools or colleges, or events?
Yes, and we are also available to speak to young girls and boys at career days and Women History events.
Wait, I have more questions!