SFFD Recruitment - Prospective Candidates

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All candidates interested in the H-2 Firefighter or H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic position must apply through SmartRecruiters by going through the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Human Resources website.

Written Exam and Proof of EMT Certification

H-3: Level 1 EMT & H-3: Level 2 Paramedic

  • The SFFD is currently using a multiple choice exam.
  • There is no clinical skills testing in this portion of the hiring process.
  • No NTN exam required.
  • PARAMEDICS -LEVEL 2: If you pass the initial H003 L1 written exam, you also must take a multiple-choice paramedic level written exam to be considered as a H003 L2 (Paramedic) candidate.

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H-2 Firefighter: The San Francisco Fire Department is currently using a continuous testing model. Applicants can sign up for the written test at any time.

  • Candidates may choose to take the National Testing Network (NTN) FireTEAM exam in-person at an authorized Testing Center or virtually 7 days a week.
  • The cost of the FireTEAM written exam is $55.
    • “FireTEAM” Testing System:
      • This multi-component test administered by the NTN measures a variety of skills and abilities found to be critical for success as a Firefighter.
      • There are four components to the “FireTEAM” Testing System:
      • Human relations (video based)
        • The human relations video scenario test is weighted 100%. The video-based human relations test is a timed, multiple-choice, video-based test of teamwork and human relation skills specifically designed for the firefighter job. After viewing a video segment, applicants are required to identify, in a brief timeframe, the best and worst course of action. In the last section of the video scenario test, the applicant must answer questions about some of the firefighters depicted in the video scenarios.
      • Mechanical aptitude
        • The mechanical aptitude test is qualifying. The mechanical aptitude test is also video-based and measures mechanical aptitude by troubleshooting an animated brick-making factory. The applicant will view a detailed introduction to the animated brick-making factory and then answer multiple-choice questions about the factory.
      • Math
        • The math test is qualifying. The math test is designed specifically for firefighters. The questions are presented on video. Questions are based on the type of math that firefighters must use on a regular basis as part of the job. Basic areas covered include: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and proportions.
      • Reading ability
        • The reading test is qualifying. The reading test is also designed specifically for the firefighter job that requires the on-going study of difficult and technical materials. The test is based on training materials and the applicant is required to choose a word that best fits the blank.
      • You must pass every component of the test to make the list. Your placement on the list is based on your Human Relations score. All other components of the test are pass or fail.
      • Passing scores for each component:
        • Human Relations – 75 points
        • Mechanical Aptitude – 60 points
        • Math – 70 points
        • Reading – 80 points

NOTE: If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for a fee waiver.

  1. Test results will be sent by NTN directly to the Department of Human Resources (DHR) at the end of the month following the month you took the test. DHR will email each candidate their scores after they receive them.
  2. Emergency Medical Technician Certification required documentation. Candidates must possess a current, valid EMT - 1 Certification (EMT-1) issued by the State of CA to be named on the eligible list. Possession of a current, valid CA Paramedic license [in good standing] may be provided in lieu of the EMT certification. Verification of this certificate must be sent via email to DHR-PublicSafety@sfgov.org after completing the FireTEAM exam. If a candidate does not provide proof of their EMT or Paramedic status during this step, their name will not populate on the eligibility list.

NOTE: Candidates must be able to accredit with the local EMS Authority within the one-year probationary period. Candidates who currently hold an EMT-1 certificate issued by the National Registry may find information about transferring EMT certification to CA.

Physical Ability Test

H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic ONLY

Candidates must complete and pass the SFFD physical ability test [PAT] to be considered for hire. The test will consist of job task simulation components designed to measure a candidate’s ability to lift and carry 70 pounds of equipment up and down six flights of stairs, drag a 165-pound mannequin 15 feet, and unload/reload a 165-pound gurney in and out of an ambulance. Candidates on the eligible list will be placed under waiver until they have passed this PAT. The time limit is 4 minutes 30 seconds.

A CPAT card will not be accepted in lieu of a PAT.

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H-2 Firefighter ONLY

Candidates must pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) that includes an agility and strength test. The CPAT card must have a completion date of less than a year from the time of the job offer. Candidates must possess a valid CPAT card at the time of their preliminary interview panel.

Participants in the CPAT must navigate eight separate events on a closed course within a span of 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Each event simulates a physical skill or function that firefighters experience on the job.

  • Stair Climb
  • Hose Drag
  • Equipment Carry
  • Ladder Raise and Extension
  • Forcible Entry
  • Search
  • Rescue Drag
  • Ceiling Breach and Pull

During the test, candidates wear a helmet, gloves and 50-lb weighted vests, designed to simulate the weight of firefighter personal protective equipment. For the stair climb – the first event – candidates will don an additional 25-lb weight, to simulate the carrying of a hose pack into a high-rise fire.

Candidates will be accompanied by a test proctor, who will call out directions for the test events and score the candidate’s success in real time.

Each event must be completed exactly as prescribed – if a candidate fails any component of the test, they will fail the entire test. Candidates also fail if they do not complete the eight events within the 10-minute, 20-second time limit.

  • Schedule a date here: fctconline.org/cpat/
  • Cost: $150.00 paid by applicant

NOTE: If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for an application waiver fee.

Supplemental Questionnaire

H-2 Firefighter ONLY

After the eligibility list is published on DHR’s website, all candidates that met the minimum passing score will be emailed a supplemental questionnaire from FireRecruitment@sfgov.org. Candidates must respond to this questionnaire with any additional or relevant experience and upload copies of the appropriate documentation.

First Interview

H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic ONLY

Once a candidate has completed and passed the written exam and PAT, they may be offered an interview. Panel members from the SFFD EMS Division will ask several questions. The topics of the questions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics: critical thinking, interpersonal skills, and clinical scenarios

Preliminary Panel Interview and Command Staff Interviews

H-2 Firefighter ONLY

Candidates selected to move forward in the process will be invited via email to a preliminary panel interview. Interviews are given based on the hiring needs of the Department. 

  • Preliminary Interview: Conducted by uniformed members of the Fire Department; questions may evaluate your reasoning and problem-solving abilities, as well as your interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Command Staff Interview: Conducted by Executive Officers; may include the Fire Chief and Deputy Chiefs, for final selection.
  • All candidates must possess a CPAT card with a test date of less than one year if invited to a Command Staff Interview
  • Candidates who are selected by the Chief of the Department will be notified via email to proceed to medicals and background evaluations, preparing for the 20-week Firefighter Recruit Academy.

Chiefs Interview

H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic ONLY

If a candidate is recommended to proceed in the process, the candidate will be offered an interview with EMS Chiefs.

Background Investigation

H-2 Firefighter ONLY

Candidates offered a conditional or alternate job offer will proceed to a background investigation and medical examination by SFFD personnel.

  • Relevant Documentation: During the background investigation component of the application process, candidates will be required to provide all relevant documentation to the Investigative Services Bureau.
    • If an item (such as certification or employment) is listed as a minimum qualification or if referenced on a secondary survey, verification may be required during the background investigation.
  • Driving Record: Applicants must possess a valid Class A, B, or C California Driver License at the time of their appointment.
    • Please note that applicants who proceed to the Background Investigation phase of the selection process must provide on their background forms a full and complete listing of all motor vehicle violations. Any significant discrepancy between an applicant's statement and the Department of Motor Vehicles’ records may result in disqualification.
  • Criminal Record: Applicants must not have been convicted of a felony in this state, or in any other state or in any federal or other jurisdiction, of an act that would be considered a felony if committed in this state. Applicants must not have been on probation for a misdemeanor offense from one year prior to application up to and including the date of your appointment. Convictions for misdemeanors within one year prior to application will be evaluated individually and may result in disqualification.
    • Please note that a complete listing of all convictions and pending matters must be provided during the Background Investigation phase. Failure to fully disclose prior convictions may be cause for elimination.

Applicants must also disclose if they have ever been convicted or have any pending felony or misdemeanor offenses in California or in any other state or place, including entering a plea of nolo contendere or no contest, and including any conviction which has been expunged (set aside) under Penal Code Section 1203.4.

Provisional Offer of Employment

H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic ONLY

If the candidate is recommended to proceed in the process, a Conditional Offer email will be sent by the San Francisco Fire Department’s Human Resources office.

Applicants who are extended conditional offers of employment as an H-3 Level 1 EMT will be required to submit the following documents on the first day of the EMS Academy:

  • California State Emergency Medical Technician License (EMT)
  • California State Driver's License
  • Current CPR card (American Red Cross Healthcare Provider or American Health Association Health Care Provider
  • FEMA ICS 100, 200 and 700 Course Completion Certificates.

Applicants who are extended conditional offers of employment as an H-3 Level 2 Paramedic will be required to submit the following documents on the first day of the EMS Academy:

  • California State Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic (EMT-P) License.
  • California State Driver's License.
  • Current CPR card (American Red Cross Healthcare Provider or American Health Association Health Care Provider.
  • Advance Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Card.
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Pediatric Education for Prehospital Care Professionals (PEPP) or Emergency Pediatric Care (EPC) Card.
  • Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) or International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) Card.
  • FEMA ICS 100, 200 and 700 Course Completion Certificates

Background Verification to include DOJ criminal history check and DMV driving record review. The candidate will submit to Livescan fingerprinting and provide a recent DMV driving record printout.

Medical Exam/Toxicology Screening

Candidates are required to pass a San Francisco Fire Department medical examination, which will include:

  • Medical history questionnaire
  • Screening for drugs and alcohol
  • Physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Hearing
  • EKG
  • Vision and color vision screening
  • TB blood test
  • Confirmation of vaccination status to COVID-19, Hepatitis B, MMR, varicella, and documentation of a tetanus vaccine within the past 10 years.

Medical conditions will be evaluated individually to determine the applicant’s fitness for employment. Applicants who proceed to the Medical Exam will be required to complete a Medical History Statement. Any misrepresentation by an applicant on the Medical History Statement as determined by the Chief of the SFFD will result in disqualification.

Medical Examination

H-2 Firefighter ONLY

Following a conditional offer of employment, applicants will be required to pass a medical examination given by the Fire Department Physician. Conditional offers of employment will be extended only to those applicants who are likely to be selected for appointment to the Fire Academy.

The San Francisco Fire Department medical examination will include:

  • Medical history questionnaire
  • Screening for drugs and alcohol
  • Physical exam
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Hearing
  • Height/weight/25% of body fat for men and 32% of body fat for women
  • EKG & pulmonary function test
  • Vision and color vision screening
  • TB blood test
  • Confirmation of vaccination status to COVID-19, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, MMR, varicella, and documentation of a tetanus vaccine within the past 10 years.

Applicants will be evaluated with reference to “NFPA 1582, Standard on Medical Requirements for Fire Fighters and Information for Fire Department Physicians.” This document is available for purchase through the National Fire Protection Association..

All medical conditions will be evaluated individually by the Fire Department Physician to determine the applicant's fitness for employment as a Firefighter. Applicants who proceed to the Medical Examination will be required to complete a Medical History Statement. Any misrepresentation by an applicant on the Medical History Statement as determined by the Chief of the Fire Department will result in disqualification.

 

Final offer of employment

H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic ONLY

If a candidate successfully completes the requirements within the Provisional Offer of employment, the candidate will receive a Final Offer.

An Academy Orientation will take place a week before the EMS Academy begins. Attendance is not mandatory, but highly recommended.

Fire Academy

H-2 Firefighter ONLY

Candidates that are selected into the H2 Firefighter Recruit academy should be prepared for a 20-week arduous process to evaluate their proficiency to meet the minimum standards of the San Francisco Fire Department.

  • The H2 Recruit Academy is a blend of BLS level EMS skills, Firefighter-1 & Firefighter-2 suppression skills (including wildland and hazardous materials response training), as well as physical training that consists of endurance, strength, and flexibility exercises.
  • The hours of the academy are from 0800 – 1700 hours, Monday thru Friday.
  • When recruits are being evaluated for each skill during the academy, it is imperative that they perform the skill in the exact manner as specified by the training staff. The Firefighter recruit is not just being evaluated on their ability to perform a skill to proficiency, they are also being evaluated on their:
    • Ability to receive instruction
    • Process that information in a timely manner
    • Perform the skill exactly how they were taught.

As a member of the San Francisco Fire Department, you are becoming a member of a busy, aggressive fire agency that serves a densely populated area with a history of disasters and major fires. As a member of our team, we need to know that you can be called upon to perform firefighting and EMS tasks exactly according to our standard operating procedures. These standards have been developed to maintain your fellow firefighters and the public’s safety.

EMS ACADEMY

H-3: Level 1 EMT & 2 Paramedic ONLY

The EMS Academy is eight (8) weeks. Recruits will be working 40-hour work weeks during the EMS Academy. The EMS Academy is a combination of physical training, lectures, and skills. Every Friday, the recruits will be tested on a variety of skills, geography knowledge, and multiple-choice written exams.

  • Written Testing
    • Recruits will be given a weekly multiple-choice exam which consists of 100 questions. A minimum 80% score is required.
  • Clinical Testing
    • Recruits will be tested of various skill sheet weekly. A minimum 80% score is required.
  • Physical Fitness
    • Recruits will perform daily physical training.
      • Daily physical training involves a combination of cardiovascular, strength and core training which consistent with daily EMS duties.
      • In preparation for the EMS Academy, recruits should be able to perform the following:
        • Recruits should be able to perform thirty (30) pushups in one (1) minute.
        • Recruits should be able to run one and a half miles in fourteen (14) minutes.
        • Recruits should be able to perform thirty (30) sit-ups in one (1) minute.
  • Field Evaluations
    • The Field Evaluation phase is three weeks, 108 hours total (36 hours per week) of training and evaluation on a 12-hour shift schedule. Recruits will work 12-hour day, swing, or night shifts depending upon the Evaluator’s current shift schedule.
  • Final Testing
    • Final testing consists of a multiple-choice written exam, a geography exam, and multiple manipulative exams. Recruits MUST pass the final written exam with a minimum score of 80% to graduate from the Academy.

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