How To Become a Firefighter in Idaho

Idaho – Home of some of the largest forested areas in the country.  Idaho is known for its epic sweeping skyline and mountainous terrain.  Idaho like Utah and other states, has been going through somewhat of a drought, making it a prime target for wildland wildfires.  As a result, the demand for wildland firefighters as well as city firefighters has been booming in recent years.

The longer spans of drought and increased growth in Idaho have made Idaho a hotter area for firefighting jobs in regards to hiring.  Just recently, the NMAC raised the national Preparedness Level to PL5 as a result of large geographic areas having high levels of wildland wildfires breaking out.  This is the first time in a very long time that the preparedness level has been risen to this extent as a result of wildfires taking off in the states of Idaho, Oregon, California, Montana and Utah.  We could see the PL5 number come back down sometime soon once the current wildfires that are ongoing start to tame down and the need for emergency personnel starts to die down.

For now, firefighting is still very much a job in need at the local levels, so here are the expectations you would need to meet prior to becoming a firefighter in Idaho:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must have a valid driver’s license .
  • You will need to have a clean background.
  • Pass a full medical and psychological examination.
  • Typically cannot be a Felon or have committed any Felony crimes.

Unlike other states, Idaho’s requirements are somewhat straight forward.  If you don’t have an EMT certification, you are not required to pursue it until you are at least 6 months on the job as a firefighter.  Idaho does have an excellent Volunteer firefighter program, so if firefighting is something you are interested in but aren’t sure where to start, you will want to check out the recruitment program before actually going through the entire application process.  The nice thing about the state of Idaho’s volunteer program is that it allows for the reimbursement of fees from the firefighter attending training based off of the department the recruit is training for.   The grants are funded through FEMA and volunteer classes are usually packed, so schedule yourself ahead of time if volunteering to become a firefighter in Idaho is something you want to do.

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One thing worth mentioning is that in the wintertime, Idaho gets extremely cold.  As such, there is typically an increase in home fires in the winter season as people burn wood to keep their homes heated.  This is bad news for the state of Idaho, but good news for anyone looking to become employed as a firefighter.  Idaho has some of the most highly decorated fire units across several municipalities and they are consistently recognized for their service to their state and cities.  Brush fires are also common in Idaho, especially in drier conditions.  Keep in mind that if you decide to pursue a career in wildland firefighting, the requirements may be slightly different to get yourself in a position to be a wildland firefighter.

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