Learn: About the Madison Fire Department


The more than 350 men and women that make up the Madison Fire Department come from all parts of the United States. We vary in culture as well as educational background. Some of our people stem from generations of fire personnel, while some had no experience until becoming a member of our department. The Department strives to reflect the diversity of our City in its employees.

The Fire Department provides additional special services to the community. These services include response to hazardous materials incidents, lake rescue, rope and technical rescue, and Advanced Life Support (paramedic). Becoming part of a Special Team that will response to these skill-specific incidents requires additional training, which the Department provides to individuals selected for the teams.

As a newly hired City of Madison firefighter, you begin at the Recruit Academy. During this intensive training, you will use both mental and physical skills in preparation for your career in the fire service. The class curriculum covers instruction in areas such as fire suppression, inspection, community education, hazardous materials and emergency medicine. The program for emergency medical technician covers over 200 hours. You serve an 18-month probation and a 3-1/2 year apprenticeship.

As a City of Madison firefighter, you may seek to serve in additional career positions in the areas of Fire Suppression (such as Paramedic, Apparatus Engineer and Lieutenant), Fire Investigation, Training and Administration.

A Place to Flourish

Neighborhood Meeting

The City of Madison Fire Department strives to create a work environment where each individual is valued. This is a workplace where individuals are challenged and motivated to do their best work every day.

An International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Diversity Initiative report ranked the Department #1 for excellent diversity for all groups. The IAFF specifically addressed under-representation of people of color and gays and lesbians in the fire service.

The City of Madison Fire Department remains committed to hiring firefighters who are a true reflection of the community we serve.

Our mission is simple: Public Safety

Fire fighting

It is a broad term that requires broader skills. Physical strength and fitness are a must.

It’s also an ambitious goal. Our service to the community demands that we anticipate risks and address them with innovative approaches that meet people at their point of need.

It is a fact that the vast majority of fires are preventable. Cultural, social, economic, and environmental factors significantly influence risk for both fire and injury.

As the IAFF study concludes, the City of Madison Fire Department doesn’t just practice diversity in hiring; we embrace it.

To fully realize the promise of diversity, an openness to new ideas and techniques is essential.

A solution-oriented, learning environment applies those new ideas in creative ways that produce positive results.

The men and women who make up the Madison Fire Department come from all parts of the United States. We vary in culture as well as educational background. Some of our people are the product of generations of fire personnel and some had no experience until becoming a member of our Department.

Regardless of background or experience, upon joining the Department, they become part of a unified team building on discipline, respect and trust.

Our promise as an organization is that all personnel are given the tools and the support they require to work together comfortably and effectively.

Much of that support is in the form of ongoing training. Our readiness as a Department depends on learning and practicing new techniques.

The MFD aggressively pursues grant funding for new equipment and training to ensure that all personnel are well-prepared and well-protected.

Through careful management of resources, the Department has become a regional leader, particularly in the areas of Advanced Life Support, Hazardous Materials, and Heavy Urban Rescue.

A Day in the Life of a Madison Firefighter

Your 24-hour shift begins at 7:00 a.m. When you report for duty, you will be assigned to a particular job on an apparatus for the day. Crews discuss the days tasks to complete and various maintenance checks are made. All apparatus and every piece of equipment is checked daily to ensure it is functioning properly.

Station clean-up and housekeeping duties take place in the morning. Some mornings may have additional duties like station drills, tours, or community education events such as teaching fire safety to children using the Fire Safety House.

In the afternoon, you and your company may be assigned preventive fire inspections or other duties.

Firefighters regularly enhance their readiness with ongoing training, or self-study.

Firefighters have many opportunities for career development. They are eligible to join special teams for rapid intervention (RIT), lake rescue, heavy urban rescue, hazardous material response, and tactical emergency medical service (TEMS).

Emergency calls are our departments priority and will take precedence over all other activities.

In the evening station time is less structured with personal time available for working out or additional study. Firefighters live at the station for 24 hours and are allowed to sleep at night if not called out for emergencies.