Officially nicknamed as our nation’s “Badger State,” Wisconsin has many great reasons to boast valid claim as the most progressive U.S. state. A prime sample virtue is nearly 7,500 streams and rivers that would circle the globe at least once. Likewise, Wisconsin’s snowmobile trails stretch for longer than 15,000 miles. Wisconsin also boasts the most highly qualified civil servants trained to protect fellow civilian citizens and public assets from ever-present common threat of fire-related emergencies and disasters.
What Basic Threshold Criteria Must Candidates Meet To Be A Wisconsin Firefighter?
As elsewhere in America, those who aspire to join ranks with one of its finest teams of Wisconsin firefighting pros must jump through a few initial hoops that include:
• At least 18 to 21 years old (specific minimum ages vary among local fire depts.)
• Hold a valid state-issued driver’s license with a safe driving record
• Have no prior felony convictions
• Have a high school diploma or equivalent
• Pass a complete medical exam (may include drug and psychological testing)
• Pass a standardized physical fitness assessment (CPAT)
• Pass any written departmental-administered exams to test basic knowledge
• Personal interview with local hiring board or fire department chief
Candidates who meet above-listed criteria may be offered paid employment on a full- or part-time basis that typically begins with a mandatory 6 to 12-month probation period.
Must Wisconsin Firefighters Be Certified or Obtain Specialized Training?
As of this writing, no statewide regulations mandate any specific training or minimum certification level for Wisconsin firefighters. Rather, certification is “a voluntary endeavor undertaken by individuals or collective fire department members” and provided exclusively by the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).
• Wisconsin Fire Fighter I Certification Training
Candidates must meet the following minimum requirements set forth in National Fire Protection Assoc. (NFPA) standards
o NFPA Standard 1001 – Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, 2008 Edition, Sections 5.2 –
o NFPA Standard 1001, Ch. 5 – Core Competencies for Operations Level Responders
o NFPA Standard 1001, Section 6.6. – Mission-Specific Competencies: Product Control, of NFPA 472.
Wisconsin Firefighter I certification training takes a total of just 60 clock hours to complete and consists of two classes that each lasts for 30 hours of classroom instruction and practical skills exercises. Newly graduated cadets must pass a comprehensive written exam with 100 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes or less as well as a 100% pass/fail practical skills assessment to earn FF-I certification. All coursework meets International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) standards and previously earned credits are fully accepted for reciprocity credit by IFSAC states.
What About Advanced Wisconsin Firefighter Education?
Although no state requirements currently exist, it always helps to have as much practical experience and theoretical knowledge as possible before you apply. A popular method of gaining risk-free hands-on skills is volunteer service at desired local fire department(s). Besides that huge advantage, you get benefit of seeing what workaday life is really like for Wisconsin firefighters while proving your own ambition and potential to make valuable contributions in a vital public service profession.
An even greater competitive edge is available via a two- or four-year college degree in Fire Sciences or another related field. One such discipline that’s in high-demand but short supply of qualified personnel in Wisconsin is forestry wild land firefighters. The state’s more than 24,000-square mile land surface is covered by thickly wooded dense forestry. This topographical layout is the ideal setting for many subspecialized firefighting skills with compensation in direct proportion to professional credentials.
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For more specifics about certification, visit Wisconsin Fire Service Education & Training official website.
To learn more about Wild land Firefighter certification, check out http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/training.html. For general advice and the latest news and relevant fire services developments, see the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association official website.