City of Madison Logo
Madison Fire Department
Committed to recruiting and retaining a qualified, diverse, inclusive and safe fire workforce.

Applicant: What We Look For

Firefighter Prerequisites

In order to be considered for employment on the Madison Fire Department, at the time of application you must:

  • be a United States citizen;
  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • be a high school graduate or possess a high school equivalency diploma;
  • possess a current driver's license;
  • must be of sound mental and physical health;
  • complete a rigorous academic and physical training program.
Firefighter Prerequisites

Qualities Desirable in a Firefighter

Qualities Desirable in a Firefighter
  • motivation to serve
  • effective communication skills
  • physical, mental, emotional health
  • ability to exercise sound judgment
  • strong sense of responsibility
  • compassion (even when stressed)
  • ability to work as team member
  • tolerance
  • honesty and integrity
  • problem-solving skills
  • strong work ethic
  • sense of humor

Physical Demands & Working Conditions

While not an exclusive list, the following examples are meant to illustrate some of the extreme physical demands and working conditions inherent in the role of a firefighter.

Physical Demands

  1. Pick up and advance charged fire hoses.
  2. Force entry with axe/battering ram.
  3. Rescue/extricate victim(s).
  4. Perform CPR; apply bandages.
  5. Climb stairs with equipment weighing approximately 50 pounds.
  6. Strip and vent roofs, breach walls, overhaul burned buildings.
  7. Lift and climb/descend ladders (with victims).
  8. Visually determine fire status/hazards; assess patient conditions.
  9. Hear calls for help; identify fire noise, etc.
  10. Walk on roof tops under adverse conditions.
  11. Operate power tools and extrication equipment, and tie knots.
  12. Stoop, crawl, crouch, and kneel in confined spaces.
  13. Reach, twist, balance, grapple, bend and lift under emergency conditions.
  14. Run, dodge, jump and maneuver with equipment.
  15. All of the above may be performed wearing heavy and restrictive protective clothing/gear.
The physical demands of a firefighter are characterized by strength, endurance, coordination, agility and dexterity.

Working Conditions

  1. Work in extreme temperatures; day and night; in rain, snow and ice.
  2. Exposure to fumes, gases, noxious odors, dust and poor ventilation.
  3. Work in closely confined spaces.
  4. Work around potential hazards: fire, explosives, chemicals, electrical shock, structural hazards, fast moving vehicles, etc.
  5. Intense exposure to water and/other liquids.
  6. Exposure to blood, serious injuries and death.
  7. Exposure to a wide range of highly emotional and traumatic events.
  8. Exposure to noise and vibration from tools, equipment, machinery, etc.
  9. Work at height (e.g., on ladders, roof tops, etc).
  10. Work within restrictions of personal safety equipment (e.g., breathing apparatus, steel-tip boots, hearing and eye protection, firefighting turn-out clothing, and hazardous materials gear).
A firefighter must perform physically demanding work, requiring judgment, under adverse working conditions.