How To Become a Firefighter in Oregon

The state of Oregon boasts one of the most heavily wooded areas in the nation.  There are countless state parks and National forests all over the state.  Oregon also has several areas that are considered a high desert type climate that get minimal rainfall making them very dangerous areas for forest fires.  While the state of Oregon holds one of the nation’s lower arson rates, it does have a lot of areas that need preparation for when it comes to forest and wild land fires.  The semi dry climate in the high desert regions provide the perfect setting for brush fires, and certain areas in Oregon with less moisture also provide starting kindle for forest fires.

Oregon also has a large urban populous towards the northwest coast.  The City of Portland has seen significant population growth over the last 10 years.  While the living quarters in Portland are not crammed, there are still opportunities during the dry season that need to be closely monitored to ensure that a random blaze does not engulf the compressed urban areas in the city of Portland and surrounding areas.  Because the pacific northwest tends to have a milder climate, the larger metropolitain areas typically have a little stiffer competition when firefighter hopefuls start asking themselves how to become a firefighter in Oregon.

IFirefightersn order to become a firefighter in Oregon, you will need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Must be 18 years old when you are offered a position as a firefighter recruit.
  • Have an operable valid driver’s license with the state of Oregon.
  • Be in great health with no medical conditions that would impact your ability to perform your job.
  • Be able to pass a state and federal background investigation.
  • You must have your EMT-B certification with the State before you can be offered a job as a firefighter.
  • Able to pass a medical exam.

If you do not have an EMT-B certification, do not worry.  You can obtain your EMT-B certification during a six week certification in addition to your eight weeks at the fire academy.  You must pass through the required firefighting portion of your training as a trainee at the fire academy during the 8 week training session.   As a part of that training, you will be in classes learning appropriate fire safety guidelines to become a firefighter in the state of Oregon.  You will follow a standard 40 hour work week for your firefighter training standards.  If you do not have your EMT certification, you will spend an additional 6 weeks learning the ropes on how to become an EMT as well.

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Once you have received your required training as a firefighter trainee, you can then apply to become a firefighter recruit, which is a full time firefighter.  There is additional testing and phases that are required to become a firefighter recruit.  If you have prior firefighting training, you will need to check with the city or county you are looking to work for to see if there are any reciprocity guidelines that would exempt you from the firefighter training academy.  For those applying to become a firefighter recruit, you can expect to go through the following:

  • An in depth physical agility test, which includes many of the basic duties of a firefighter.
  • An in depth Oral interview with a panel of chief fire officers.  During this oral interview, expect to present your best foot forward.  If you’ve done any type of networking or volunteer work, this is one of the areas that both of those could become VERY important.
  • Pass a detailed written examination.
  • Full Federal Background check and complete medical exam.
  • The Fire Chief is given final say over all hiring candidates.

There are many different routes you can take when considering how to become a firefighter in California. The best advice is to always be prepared, keep in shape, and stay up to par with your physical skills. Doing everything you can to set yourself above the competition applies to every role you might consider in your firefighting career, so make sure you work hard, stay dedicated and make friends with those around you. Call local fire departments. Talk to people. Reach out and find out how other firefighters were brought on board. All of this will consistently help your networking ability and provide you with the right information to land the job you are aiming for.

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