(Buffalo, N.Y.) – The city of Buffalo is offering opportunities for anyone looking to become a firefighter, as the city’s firefighter exam is being offered in 2018.
The test, which is only offered every four years, will be administered May 1 and applications must be submitted by April 9.
Thus, the department’s recruitment campaign, entitled “Move up the ladder,” is underway.
The test is made up of two components: a written test and an agility test. Candidates must be 19 years old by the day of the exam, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Buffalo and have earned a high school diploma or GED. The exam fee is $25.
Lt. Rodney Wilkenson, a 26-year veteran from the Buffalo Fire Department, appeared on the Buffalo Review March 9 to discuss the process.
“Get out and run, push-ups, sit-ups, general exercise. You need to have endurance,” Wilkenson said, of how to prepare for the test.
The last time the test was given in 2013, about 2,500 Buffalo residents applied to become a firefighter and ultimately 249 applicants were hired.
However, according to Wilkenson, the road doesn’t end there. After being hired, candidates must complete three months of training and Wilkenson said about 10 percent of those hired fail the training.
“The training was the most difficult part for me; you have to be mentally and physically tough,” he said.
Additionally, being a firefighter is not only about fighting fires and Wilkenson estimated 75 percent of calls concern other matters.
“I personally have delivered three babies. We go to shootings, stabbings and we still do the old ‘get the cat out of the wall’ call,” said Wilkenson. “We do a lot of different things.”
While being a firefighter can grueling, he said, it can also be very rewarding.
“Being a firefighter is the greatest job on the planet,” Wilkenson said. “You get to help everyone.”