Blog

 
     

What Kind of Background Checks Do Firefighters Face

By Michael Klazema on 3/22/2018

Being a firefighter involves a lot of responsibility. The decisions involved in this job are often matters of life or death—for others and for yourself. Because firefighters are responsible for the safety of their team members and the public, fire departments typically spend a considerable amount of time and energy screening new recruits with firefighter background checks, physical examinations, in-depth interviews, and more.

When it comes to physical tests, there is a fair amount of overlap from one fire department to the next. You will be tested on your ability to climb stairs quickly, carry heavy equipment like fire vests and hoses, and break down walls and locked doors. There is less consistency across departments when it comes to firefighter background searches. Departments require different checks, and some are more lenient about criminal histories than others.

Typically, a firefighter background check will include a criminal history search, an employment verification check, and a drug test. Some departments only check local criminal records, while others pull records from state or national sources. Crimes that usually lead to disqualification for fire department recruits include arson, any kind of theft, any kind of assault or battery, and violent crimes. DUIs are also a red flag since some firefighters will have to drive the fire truck.

Employment verifications and reference checks are crucial steps fire departments use to determine a person’s work ethic and experience.

The drug test is one of the most critical parts of a firefighter background screening. Departments will disqualify any candidates that have a history of injectable drug use. Crimes involving the sale or intent to sell of most drugs—including narcotics, LSD, and even marijuana—can also lead to disqualification. Because firefighters need to be on their game at a moment’s notice, and even minor mistakes can lead to loss of life or property, fire departments are not willing to take risks on recruits with drug issues.

The Importance of Honesty

Not every firefighter has a squeaky-clean record. Many departments are willing to take chances on candidates with only minor criminal offenses or whose criminal convictions date back many years. What no department will find acceptable is dishonesty.

Trust is extremely vital for firefighters within a department. When firefighters charge into a burning building together, they do so knowing they have each other’s backs. Any form of dishonesty can breach this trust and make it harder for a fire department to function as a unit. Lies on a resume or job application, therefore, are deal-breakers in most fire departments. A department chief will always respect a candidate for being honest and forthright even without a completely clean record.

 

Sources: 

http://www.aspiringfirefighters.com/coaching/application-hiring/background-check/

http://firelink.monster.com/training/articles/1769-everything-you-need-to-know-about-background-investigations

https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/the-cpat-the-events-in-the-fire-department-physical-ability-test


Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • April 19

    In a post-Penn State scandal world, universities are more aware than ever of the need to protect students by vetting faculty. The extent of this vetting and its implementation are hot topics causing controversy on campuses nationwide.


  • April 18 Amazon’s criminal background checks look back seven years and consider any convictions from that time. All finalists must complete criminal background searches, reference checks, and drug tests.
  • April 17

    From entry-level positions to roles involving “Top Secret” security clearances, military roles can involve a variety of different background investigations. We look at what different types of military background checks entail.


  • April 17 A new CNBC series is looking at true HR stories and their lessons. The most recent installment looked at the consequences of not running background checks.
  • April 12 Complicated by patchwork legislation and continuing federal prohibition, marijuana legalization poses several challenges for employers and would-be employees alike. Despite its legal status in a growing number of states, marijuana continues to negatively impact job-seekers.
  • April 12 Familiarizing yourself with the legality of background checks is essential. Continue reading about laws and regulations.
  • April 11

    Understanding the background check obligations in your industry and state.

  • April 10 A former employee of a senior assisted living community is facing charges for stealing from a resident. The alleged theft occurred after the employee gained access to the patient’s credit cards and checking account.
  • April 06 Background checks aren’t pass or fail. Employers consider various factors before making any hiring decision based on background check data.
  • April 06  Level 1 and Level 2 are terms used in Florida law to describe background check requirements for employers. We look at what a Level 2 background check entails.