We suggest you subscribe to your local newspaper – even if it means subscribing to more than one if you city has several major papers. The Sunday edition's help wanted ads is the most important – it will usually include examination test dates and information. In addition, the sports section sometimes carries examination information. Your local library will also carry the current newspapers.
There are also Internet subscription services that will provide information on examinations given across the country. Your investment in this type of service can be from $3.00-$9.00/month. Both www.firehouse.com and www.firecareers.com are excellent sources of information on firefighter examinations.
Try to keep a current list of cities giving examinations. Once a municipality gives an examination, an eligibility list is established and remains current for 1-2 years. If you know an examination is given annually, make a note on your calendar so that you make sure you don't miss an application deadline.
Many major municipalities have a recruitment unit. Click on the link to your left for a list of 150 major fire departments across the country, along with their addresses, and phone numbers and web sites. You should contact these departments and ask to have your name placed on their recruitment list to be notified of examination dates. You will usually be notified at least 2-3 weeks before the application process.
Some departments have a volunteer program. We strongly suggest that you join this group if it is available in your community. This will give you valuable insight into the department and personnel. Most volunteer problems are part of smaller departments – no major departments have volunteer programs.
Many times, colleges that offer EMT and paramedic certification programs will post examination announcements on their bulletin boards. If you are enrolled in such a program, make note of this information. If not, visiting colleges and locating these bulletin boards will help you obtain as much information as possible.
If you have the time and resources, we suggest that you make telephone calls to various departments. Ask them when their last examination was given and when the next examination is anticipated and make note of this information. A municipality may tell you that an examination will be given in September, but it may actually be given in July or August. You need to follow up with the Personnel Department to find out the current information on an examination. Departments with Fire Training Academies may also have examination information available.
There are also numerous fire magazines that will publish entry-level examinations given across the country. You may subscribe to these magazines or you may find them at your local library.