At the Region is an ongoing feature that discusses the state-by-state training, certification and employment requirements of first responder departments across the nation. In this issue, At the Region looks at Firefighter requirements in FEMA Region VIII: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control governs requirements for all Colorado firefighters. All firefighters must complete certification examinations and requirements within 12 months to receive certification at the level qualified. Each certification granted by CDFPC is valid for three years.
Firefighter I Certification:
• Must meet requirements in NFPA 1001
• Must be Colorado certified minimally in HazMat Materials Operations NFPA 472 • Pass a 100 question written exam with a 80% • Pass a practical exam with 100% • Pass a live burn practical exam with 100% • Renewals must be made every 3 years, or the certification will lapse.
Firefighter II Certification in Colorado requires one year of documented fire service, and a Colorado Firefighter I certification. A written exam must be passed at 80% and the practical exam at 100%. All personnel seeking Firefighter II certification must be affiliated with an Colorado Emergency Services Agency. A downloadable copy of the most recent (published 2015)policy and procedures is available.
"Due the rules of our accrediting bodies, IFSAC and ProBoard, Colorado cannot issue direct certificate for reciprocity. All Firefighters wishing to obtain Colorado Certification must test in Colorado. Testing includes the written test, practical test, and for those requesting Firefighter I, II, or Fire Officer I levels, a live burn. All Firefighters seeking reciprocity must live in the state of Colorado or be associated with a Colorado Emergency Services Agency". Visit here for an application, or call (303) 239-4600 for more information.
Division of Fire Prevention and Control
690 Kipling Street, Suite 2000
Denver, CO 80215
The Montana State Code 7-33-4107 lists the following qualifications of firefighters: • must be a citizen of the United States; • must be at least 18 years of age; • must be a high school graduate or have passed the general educational development test and have been issued an equivalency certificate by the superintendent of public instruction or by an appropriate issuing agency of another state or of the federal government; • must possess or be eligible for a valid Montana driver's license; • shall pass a physical examination by a qualified physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse, who is not the applicant's personal physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse, appointed by the employing authority to determine if the applicant is free from any mental or physical condition that might adversely affect the applicant's performance of the duties of a firefighter; • must be fingerprinted and a search must be made of the local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record; and • may not have been convicted of a crime for which the applicant could have been imprisoned in a federal or state penitentiary.
The Montana Firefighting Testing Consortium conducts annual testing typically conducts a joint testing process every year during the month of June for development of a list of qualified candidates for the position of entry-level firefighter with its member-departments.
The state of North Dakota does not have specific legislative requirements for firefighter certification. North Dakota Title 18 covers Firefighting in the state. Each fire department has its own qualifications and guidelines for training and certification. Under 18-03, the North Dakota Firefighter’s Association holds annual training and sets standards in the state. Their Training Standards Manual can be found here.
Certification and qualifications for firefighters is determined by individual departments. Generally, firefighters must be 18 years old, in good health, and will train to become state certified, earning the “Blue Card” from the State Fire Marshal. Under the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, through the South Dakota State Fire Marshal’s Office, The State Fire Service Training Program coordinates training for state fire school, district fire schools, National Fire Academy courses, and other special training classes. The program provides for the certification of firefighters, fire instructors, fire apparatus driver/operators, and fire officers through certified training programs.
The South Dakota Legislation under Title 33 has provided: 9-17-6. South Dakota Firefighters' Association, Incorporated continued. The furnishing of fire protection is a governmental function and the South Dakota Firefighters Association, Incorporated, composed of the members of the municipal fire departments, is hereby continued as a public state institution of this state. The SDFA is charged with holding annual State Fire Schools and promoting fire safety in the 7 state regions. A listing of the classes offered by the SDFA and course descriptions can be found here.
The state of Utah does not have specific legislative requirements for firefighter certification. Requirements for testing and employment vary by city and county. Applicants for most agencies are required to hold a Utah Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification from the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness (BEMSP)
The State of Wyoming has a voluntary firefighter training program, administered by the Wyoming State Fire Marshall. Entrance requirements for applicants vary by location. For more information contact: http://wyofire.state.wy.us/training/ For a complete list of certifications, and prerequisites for each training course. Curricula for the Firefighter I standards and the Wildland Firefighting Training Certifications are online. Wyoming residents interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter should fill out this request.