If you’re looking for a fulfilling career that allows you to give back to the Bull City, the Durham Fire Department wants to hear from you.
Throughout March, the department will accept applications to hire entry-level firefighters, certified firefighters, and advanced emergency medical technicians (A-EMTs) who would like to become firefighters. The hiring process is explained in detail on the department’s webpage, and the application period runs from March 1 to March 31 to fill more than 19 openings in the department.
New for this year, the department is hosting multiple practice agility and written test-taking sessions throughout March to help interested candidates. According to Chief Robert Zoldos, the goal of these new optional sessions is to mentor candidates to help them successfully prepare for the hiring process.
“Becoming a firefighter requires hard work, long hours of training, dedication, and a sincere desire to help others,” Chief Zoldos said. “We want candidates to be as successful as possible, so we’ve launched new, optional training sessions to help them understand exactly what to expect from the written tests, the interview panel, and physical agility tests. Applicants are encouraged to attend as many practice sessions as they like to be as prepared and confident as possible.”
The starting salary for entry-level recruits is $34,388, and $36,098 for certified firefighters and certified A-EMTs who would like to become firefighters. The department provides a 5% annual increase for sworn personnel with satisfactory performance, and provides education incentives for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. Among other benefits, such as 401(k) employer contributions and health and dental insurance, there’s also an annual bilingual incentive for those fluent in Spanish or sign language. Recruits are paid throughout the Fire Academy.
According to Battalion Chief of Training/EMS Coordinator Tina Hamlin, a fire service career is something women should also strongly consider. “Being a firefighter was not my initial plan in life. It was not a career I had considered. However, becoming a firefighter was the best decision that I could have made for my future,” Battalion Chief Hamlin said. “I would like other women to know that it is a fantastic career option filled with opportunity. I thoroughly enjoy my career in the fire service, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve this community.”
According to Fire Driver Andre Knight, firefighting is also a career option that African Americans should consider too. “There is a common misconception that the fire service is a career for white males. I assure you, from my own personal experience, that this is not the case. The Durham Fire Department is rich in black history dating back to the early 1800s,” Knight said. “The fire service is a fantastic career for black men and women seeking an opportunity to serve their community. Here, you can be the difference that will support your family and uplift the community that you live in.”
Eligibility requirements for candidates are that they must be a permanent U.S. resident; at least 18 years old; have a high school diploma or equivalent; no DWI convictions in the last four years; no felony convictions (speeding tickets and misdemeanors are not disqualifiers); a valid driver’s license; and must be able to speak and write in English.
For Chief Zoldos, his message is clear to potential candidates who are considering a career with the Durham Fire Department. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had. If you join our team, you are surrounded by compassionate, courageous, and committed public servants who serve the Bull City with heart and pride. It’s a career that allows you opportunities to help people, sometimes on the toughest days of their lives.”
To learn more about the department’s hiring process, visit the department’s Hiring Process webpage, or contact the department by email.
The Durham Fire Department strives to enhance the quality of life for the residents and visitors of Durham by minimizing the harmful effects of fires, medical emergencies, and other types of dangerous events. Guided by the City’s Strategic Plan, the department helps create a safer community by conducting fire and life safety education programs; providing emergency responses to fires, medical calls, hazardous materials spills, technical rescue calls, and water rescue calls; explaining and enforcing the fire code; investigating arson and the cause of other fires; and maintaining readiness through constant training and maintenance of facilities and equipment. To learn more follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.