Philadelphia Fire Fighters perform fire fighting and rescue work, controlling and extinguishing fires using a variety of specialized equipment and techniques, evacuating persons from areas of danger, and performing emergency treatment. Work includes inspecting multi-occupancy and commercial buildings for fire hazards and violations of the Fire Code, and instructing the public on the principles of fire preventions. Work is performed under the general supervision of a fire officer. Assignments are stable in nature and are carried out in accordance with standard departmental practices and general work instructions.
All firefighters hired by the PFD must apply and successfully compete in a civil service examination for firefighters. Prospective candidates are selected in rank order from the established civil service list for the processing. The process includes Department interviews, criminal and background investigations, and, if selected for conditional appointment, a candidate must successfully pass a medical examination. Additionally, all candidates must be drug free.
Selected candidates are appointed as cadets in an extensive sixteen-week academic, practical and physical training program at the Philadelphia Fire Academy. At the Academy, cadets are trained in basic firefighting procedures as well as in basic emergency medical services, for which they must obtain state certification as an emergency medical technician.
Only upon the successful completion of training are cadets sworn in as Firefighter/ EMT's and assigned to a field fire suppression engine or ladder company. As EMT's, firefighters are also assigned as needed to work in Basic Life Support Medic Units.
All appointees must successfully complete a six-month probationary period.