How To Become a Firefighter in New Hampshire

Variously known by official nicknames “Mother of Rivers” and “Granite State,” New Hampshire does indeed have a solid history of taking the lead in both stability and ingenuity. A few prime examples are fine upstanding native citizens like famous poet Robert Frost, former President Franklin Pierce, and astronaut Alan Shepherd. Besides mutual birthplace of fine human beings, New Hampshire law clearly reflects collective belief of its elected reps in making public safety a high-priority agenda. One was HR Bill 645 enacted in 2006 that required all cigarettes sold in the state to meet newly reduced ignition propensity standards. Referred to as “fire-safe cigarettes,” these redesigned tobacco sticks self-extinguish if smokers fail to inhale for extended lengths of time. Thanks to that legislative act, residents are now protected right in their homes around the clock from accidentally ignited upholstery and bed linens that cause third-highest number of fire-related casualties throughout the entire nation.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of how to join ranks among America’s most dedicated groups of civil servants as a New Hampshire firefighter.

What’s required to Considered Eligible for Hire as a New Hampshire Firefighter?

Applicable state regulations currently designate three broad classifications for all local department firefighters that fall into volunteer, paid on-call or permanent status. In any case, the following basic eligibility criteria apply universally to all applicants:

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● At least 18 years old
● High school diploma or GED
● No felony convictions
● Pass a pre-hire medical examination
● Pass a pre-hire physical agility assessment
● Favorable in-person interview with local hiring authority
● Pass a written standardized entrance exam

The last requirement tests an applicant’s general knowledge level and administered once per year by the New Hampshire Fire Academy. After passing the statewide written entrance exam, applicants are placed on a centralized list of eligible candidates for hire during the following calendar year. Although passage is mandatory requirement for placement on a statewide list of eligible candidates for hire by any of the 209 FEMA-registered New Hampshire fire departments, many municipalities also require passage of additional customized pre-hire written exams.

New Hampshire Firefighter Certification Requirements

Prospective hires must have Firefighter I certification prior to assuming professional duty. Moreover, all new recruits must obtain FF-II within 12 months of initial hire date. Finally, most full-time local fire departments require Emergency Medical Services (EMS) certification to even grant otherwise eligible candidates an in-person interview.

● Common Firefighter I Instructional Content Topics and Format
Irrespective of geo location and whether a state-run or private operation, all approved New Hampshire FF-I certification programs include practical skills training as well as classroom lectures. Major examples of FF-I coursework subject matter includes:
● Hazardous Materials Awareness and Handling
● Forcible Entry Techniques
● Local Fire Department Administrative and Accounting Procedures
● Fire Vehicle and Extinguishing Equipment Operation

Three different EMS certification levels are available to New Hampshire firefighters:

● Basic EMT
● Intermediate EMT
● Paramedic

There are various ways to obtain necessary FF-I/II and EMS certification training in New Hampshire. Besides the NH Fire Academy main campus in Concord and local satellite facilities, various community colleges provide advanced training and Lakes Region Community College in Laconia offers a two-year degree in Fire Science.

For more details about current statewide FF and EMS certification requirements, see the New Hampshire Dept. of Public Safety Division of Fire Standards & Training official website.

Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire (PFFNH) is a state organization maintained under joint auspices of the AFL-CIO-CLC and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). At present, PFFNH represents 42 local IAFF unions that advocate on behalf of paramedics and firefighters in rural and larger urban areas across the Granite State. To learn more, check out PFFNH’s official site.

Likewise, not to be neglected or outshined by any means, the New Hampshire State Firemen’s Association official website features lots of helpful inside info and late-breaking news at http://nhsfa.org/.

Whatever your desired local department, formal education and training levels or career path, the most essential task that lies ahead is to begin active pursuit ASAP. With average annual salaries of $42,400 and the top 10% of professional New Hampshire firefighters commanding over $59,000 per year in a state with no broad sales tax or personal income tax, you can’t possibly go wrong. Not to mention having no excuse for further delay in proceeding in any given way you choose to go. Take the first step toward getting started today by searching “fire science” or/and “emergency management” below for firefighter programs and schools!

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