What can disqualify you from becoming a firefighter

It’s no secret that the life of a firefighter is both physically and mentally exhausting. Due to the demanding lifestyle, firefighters are held to a high standard both inside and outside of the firehouse.

Becoming a firefighter comes with a lot of responsibility, not only for yourself but for the safety of others.

Firefighters can be disqualified from the application process or lose their job for pre-existing medical conditions that could inhibit their performance. They can also be disqualified for participating in physically or morally harmful behaviors.

Physical Disqualifications

Due to the physically demanding job requirements, firefighters and applicants can be disqualified for:

·  Lack of physical fitness

·  Heart disease

·  Poorly managed diabetes

·  Any medical condition that needs to be treated with narcotics

Some states may have stricter or more lenient stipulations, so it’s a good idea to check with your local firehouse before beginning the application process.

Substance Abuse

Again, due to the physically and mentally demanding job, firefighters need to be at their best all the time. Their every move and decision could determine the life or death of those around them. That means firefighters will be disqualified or terminated for the use of:

·  Marijuana

·  Cocaine

·  Heroin

·  Prescription drug abuse

·  Use of anabolic steroids

·  As well as any illegal drug use

·  Alcohol abuse

·  The use of tobacco within a year of applying to be a firefighter

The rules vary by state and station, so it’s important to check with your local station about restrictions before beginning the application process. For instance, the use of tobacco, while prohibited in most states, is not a disqualifier in all states.

Criminal Background

For those with a felony or serious misdemeanor conviction on their record, it might be impossible to become a firefighter. Some fire departments may also disqualify those with serious juvenile convictions.

Firefighter candidates can also be disqualified or fired for one of the following:

·  Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

·  Leaving the scene of an accident

·  Being convicted of either buying or selling illegal drugs

Firefighters are held to a high standard, not only physically, but morally. So, while you may feel like a past offense doesn’t define who you are today, it could impact your ability to become a firefighter. 

However, if you speak honestly and openly with the fire chief, they may be able to let you into the program if they feel you have truly changed.

Other Disqualifying Factors

Candidate standards can fluctuate between states, which means even if you’re eligible in California, you may not be eligible if you decide to move across the country.

Here is a list of some of the other factors that could disqualify you from becoming a firefighter:

·  Dishonorable discharge from any branch of the military

·  Bad credit

·  Unstable work history

·  Convictions for gambling offenses

·  Visible tattoos or piercings

·  Gambling convictions

·  Failure to pay child support

·  Reckless driving or driving offenses that result in license suspension

Most firehouses only accept candidates with the utmost integrity and morality. Chances are  if you’re interested in pursuing a career where you put your life on the line to save others, those are traits you already have.

For more information on what it takes to become a firefighter, you can find out more here.