Embarking on a career as a firefighter in Idaho is both a noble and challenging pursuit, offering a unique opportunity to serve and protect the community in times of need. This rewarding career demands a blend of physical fitness, mental resilience, and a strong commitment to public safety. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,750 firefighters were working in Idaho in 2022.
The US Fire Administration figures show that Idaho recorded 3 deaths and 10.1 injuries per 1,000 fires compared to the national average of 2.3 deaths and 7.2 injuries. In this introductory guide, we will explore the essential steps and requirements necessary to become a firefighter in Idaho. From understanding the basic qualifications to navigating the rigorous training and certification process, we aim to provide aspiring firefighters with a comprehensive roadmap to achieving their goal.
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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Idaho
To become a firefighter in Idaho, one must follow a series of steps and meet various requirements. The initial prerequisites include:
- Candidates must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
- Applicants should be U.S. citizens and have a clean criminal record.
- A valid driver’s license is required.
- For career departments, possession of a current National Registry or state-issued EMT Basic Certification by the date of the job offer is necessary. Candidates must obtain reciprocity in Idaho within 120 days of employment and maintain certification.
- Although there’s no statutory requirement for volunteer firefighters or new recruits in Idaho to become certified, pursuing a college education in fire science or related fields is advisable for career advancement. Several cities and towns in Idaho offer such courses through local colleges and fire academies. These institutions offer various courses, including Firefighter 1 certification, Wildland Fire Management AAS Degree, and degrees in Fire Services Administration.
- The process to become a firefighter in Idaho is highly competitive and involves several stages. Candidates must pass a series of tests, including a written test, a physical test, interviews, drug screening, a polygraph test, a psychological exam, and background screening. Successful candidates are then hired and sent to a recruit academy for training in firefighting procedures and techniques.
This comprehensive approach ensures that firefighters in Idaho are well-prepared and equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively handle the challenges of the profession
Salary of Firefighters in Idaho
As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, firefighters in Idaho earned:
- Annual Mean Salary: $39,820.
- Annual Median Salary:$37,870.
Career Outlook for Firefighters in Idaho
According to O*Net Online, the projected growth for firefighters in Idaho between 2020 and 2030 is -1%.
Firefighters Training Academies in Idaho
In Idaho, several certified training academies and programs are available for new recruits aspiring to become firefighters. These institutions offer a range of courses and certifications, adhering to national standards and best practices.
Idaho Fire Service Training (FST) Program
- This program partners with Idaho fire departments, fire districts, and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ’s) to provide firefighters with quality training and safety practices. It aligns with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and offers a nationally recognized third-party certification process. The FST program was initially under the Idaho Division of Career Technical Education (IDCTE) and has undergone various organizational changes to enhance its efficiency and resources. It now operates under IDCTE with a focus on strategic planning for future development.
North Idaho College – Firefighter 1 Academy
- This academy prepares students for the written and skills examinations for Idaho Fire Fighter 1 certification, accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). The curriculum includes basic firefighting skills, hazardous materials, and infection control for emergency responders. Instructors from various fire departments, such as the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department and Northern Lakes Fire District, contribute to the training.
College of Western Idaho – Fire Service Technology Program
- This program is designed for those aspiring to become full-time or volunteer firefighters, as well as for career firefighters seeking professional development. The curriculum is based on NFPA standards, IFSAC requirements, and the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education Model.
These institutions play a crucial role in preparing future firefighters in Idaho, ensuring that they are well-equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge, and certifications to effectively respond to emergencies and serve their communities.
1)Idaho Employment Trends – Firefighters: https://www.onetonline.org/link/localtrends/33-2011.00?st=ID
2)Idaho Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/states/idaho.html