Firefighters in Rhode Island have worked really hard to keep the citizens of the state safe. The average death rate in the state was 1.2 per 1,000 fires, and the rate for injuries was 11.8 per 1,000 fires. The residential structure fires death rate in Rhode Island was 1.6, and the rate of injuries in residential structures was 14.6.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,630 firefighters were employed in Rhode Island. With fire departments in the state performing reasonably well, it does seem like an ideal time to join forces with them. The following steps need to be followed if you want to join the firefighting force in the state of Rhode Island.

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Steps to Become a Firefighter in Rhode Island

To become a firefighter in Rhode Island, one must meet certain requirements and undergo specific training. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the steps:

Basic Requirements
  • Age and Education: Candidates must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • Driver’s License: A valid driver’s license is required.
  • EMS Training: Although not always mandatory, having EMS training is often preferred.
Selection and Screening Process
  • Fitness and Health Evaluations: Physical tests and medical examinations are conducted to ensure candidates are fit for the demanding nature of the job.
  • Character Assessment: Background checks, interviews, and possibly polygraph tests are utilized to evaluate a candidate’s character.
  • Probationary Period: After passing initial screening and training, candidates become probationary firefighters, during which they may respond to various emergency calls depending on their location.
Training and Education
  • Fire Academies: The Community College of Rhode Island in Warwick offers a Fire Science program, and Providence College provides a Fire Administration degree for those with prior experience or education in firefighting. These programs cover basic fire suppression, safety, prevention, and administrative aspects of fire service.
  • State Fire Academy: Rhode Island also has its state fire academy, offering courses ranging from basic recruit training to advanced skills. This includes Firefighter 1 and 2 certificates and specialty certifications.
Specific Training Courses
  • Firefighter I Course: This entry-level course at the state fire academy covers basic firefighting skills, stress management, and healthy lifestyle practices for firefighters. Prerequisites include being a Rhode Island fire service member, completing FEMA Incident Command levels 100, 200, and 700, and completing RI Energy Gas & Electrical Emergency training.
Certification Levels
  • Firefighter I: Requires completion of NIMS 100, 200, and 700.
  • Firefighter II: Candidates must first complete Firefighter I certification.
  • HAZ-MAT Operations: Prerequisites include NIMS 100, 200, and 700​​​​​​.
  • Physical Performance Assessment: Conducted by the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs, this test is essential for assessing a candidate’s physical capabilities.

These steps illustrate a structured and rigorous path to becoming a firefighter in Rhode Island, ensuring that candidates are well-prepared and qualified for this challenging and vital profession.

Salary of Firefighters in Rhode Island

Rhode Island firefighters earned the following incomes, as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Annual Mean Salary: $60,360.
  • Annual Median Salary: $61,780.

Career Outlook for Firefighters in Rhode Island

As per the latest data published by O*Net Online, an 11% increase in employment opportunities is forecasted for firefighters in Rhode Island between 2020 and 2030.

Firefighters Training Academies in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, there are a few key options for new recruits seeking certified firefighter training:

Rhode Island State Fire Academy

  • This academy caters to the training needs of Rhode Island’s firefighters, offering both basic and advanced training in various disciplines. Training includes the use of a state-of-the-art live burn building.
  • The academy’s mission is to provide coordinated education and training to Rhode Island’s fire service, enhancing firefighter safety and developing high-quality training programs. The academy is ProBoard accredited by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications.

The academy offers a variety of courses, including:

  • Basic courses like Firefighter I and Firefighter II, with prerequisites such as NIMS 100, 200, and 700.
  • Advanced courses in areas such as HAZ-MAT Operations, Confined Space Rescue Technician, and Rope Rescue Technician.
  • Specialized courses like Electric Vehicle Safety Training, Incident Safety Officer, and Rapid Intervention Team Operations.
  • The courses are designed to cover various aspects of firefighting, including safety practices, emergency medical services, fire suppression techniques, and hazardous material handling.

Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) – Fire Science Program

  • This program is tailored for individuals interested in or currently serving in the fire service or related fields. It prepares students for a range of career opportunities in firefighting and emergency medical services.
  • The program offers a balanced mix of professional and general education courses, providing knowledge and skills in fire protection systems and codes, firefighting tactics and strategies, hydraulics and equipment, and hazardous materials. Graduates from this program are equipped to work in municipal fire departments or in fields such as industrial fire safety, fire protection engineering technology, and ambulance services.

These institutions provide comprehensive training for new recruits, ensuring they are well-prepared for various challenges and responsibilities in the field of firefighting.

1)Rhode Island Employment Trends – Firefighters:
2)Rhode Island Fire Loss and Fire Department Profile: