Harper College

Sample Firefighter/Paramedic Job Description

Job Summary

Controls and extinguishes fires, protects life and property, maintains equipment, and provides emergency medical assistance.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responds to fire alarms and other emergency calls.
  • Leads out hose line, selects and operates hose nozzle, depending on type of fire, and directs stream of water or chemicals onto fire. 
  • Positions and climbs ladders to gain access to upper levels of buildings or to assist individuals from burning structures .
  • Creates openings in buildings for ventilation or entrance using manual and mechanically operated tools. Breach concrete block or brick walls, floors, or roofs to gain access to areas involved by fire, using a variety of hand powered tools.
  • Protects property from water and smoke by use of waterproof salvage cover and smoke ejectors.
  • Assists in salvaging and cleanup operations, removing fire debris after fire is extinguished to locate hidden fires and prevent rekindle.
  • Rescues victims from occupancies filled with heat, smoke, and toxic gases. Performs extrications by using a variety of extrication tools.
  • Administers first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation to injured persons and those overcome by fire and smoke.
  • Renders emergency medical assistance using automatic external defibrillators. Obtains required information from patients, accurately assesses the nature and extent of patient injuries; provides skilled medical care and treatment in compliance with the guidelines and regulations related to emergency medical service.
  • Communicates with superior during fire by portable two-way radio. Displays effective communication skills and exhibits good listening and comprehension skills. Responds appropriately to questions, sharing necessary information with others, and writes clearly and informatively.
  • Displays responsiveness to the needs of the public and shows fairness and objectivity in his treatment of other people, speaking in ways that are courteous and nondiscriminatory. Displays sensitivity when interacting with people of diverse cultural backgrounds and displays a commitment to serving the public.
  • Displays effective teamwork during emergencies.
  • Complies with departmental rules, regulations, and policies and exhibits honesty and integrity in both words and actions.
  • Complies with all safety procedures and regulations; may assist in investigating fires and providing training in order to increase safety. Consistently uses protective equipment and clothing and is alert to potentially dangerous conditions and reports them immediately.
  • Properly uses equipment and materials; carefully inspects equipment as scheduled and troubleshoots any equipment problems without assistance; and is familiar with equipment-related regulations. Maintains vehicles, apparatus, quarters, buildings, equipment and grounds according to standards.
  • Performs hazardous materials identification.
  • Presents a positive public image. Meets minimum physical requirements for fire fighter positions.
  • Properly maintains uniform and protective clothing while following the department’s guidelines on grooming.
  • Drives and operates firefighting vehicles and equipment. Drives appropriately in emergency situations, using defensive driving techniques and taking safety precautions in adverse conditions.
  • Participates in training in current firefighting methods and techniques. Assists in training programs.
  • Participates in drills, demonstrations, and courses in hydraulics, pump operation and maintenance.
  • Participates in continuing education and/or training to maintain EMT/Paramedic certification as required.
  • Prepares clear, accurate, and complete reports, logs, and documents.
  • Assists police when called upon.
  • Makes clear and organized presentations to individuals and groups on subjects related to fire fighting and emergency services, fire safety, and fire prevention from prepared materials.
  • Follows all safety regulations, policies, and procedures. Reports all unsafe conditions and acts to supervisor. Reports all accidents to the supervisor immediately whenever possible, but no later than end of the employee’s work shift. Follows recognized safe work practices.
  • Performs other duties as requested or assigned which are reasonably within the scope of the duties enumerated above.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skills, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience

Age 21 with high school diploma or general education degree (GED). Most departments require Illinois State Fire Marshal Basic Operations Firefighter and paramedic certification. Some may require an AAS degree and CPAT certification.

Language Skills

Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions, and procedure manuals. Ability to write clear, concise, and complete routine reports and correspondence. Ability to effectively present information to and respond to questions from Village officials and management, other government agencies, vendors, contractors, employees, and the general public. Bilingual fluency in English and Spanish desirable but not required.

Mathematical Skills

Ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in all units of measure, using whole numbers, common fractions, and decimals. Ability to compute rate, ration, and percent, and to draw and interpret bar graphs. Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra.

Reasoning Ability

Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram, or schedule form. Ability to recognize hazardous situations and to act quickly, calmly, and decisively in emergencies and under stress.

Other Skills and Abilities

  • Retain and effectively use geographic knowledge concerning the community and the surrounding vicinity; acquire and retain elementary knowledge of hazardous chemicals, liquids, and gases as well as the combustion properties of materials; advance a hose line up stairways, ladders, and along the ground to extinguish fires and perform other arduous tasks; and use both manual and mechanical tools.
  • Demonstrates considerable knowledge of EMT services.
  • Demonstrates an ability to make analytical and objective observations, to analyze situations quickly and calmly, and to determine and take prompt action under emergency and stressful conditions for the protection of life and property.
  • Demonstrates an ability to work independently and effectively within the confines of standard operating procedures.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the fundamental principles of fire prevention; demonstrates an understanding of basic safety principles and how they apply to fire protection organizations.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the potential hazards, causes, and behavior of fire; demonstrates a basic knowledge of fire cause determination.
  • Demonstrates a knowledge of codes and ordinances and an understanding of their effect on fire protection; demonstrates a basic knowledge of various types of building construction.
  • Demonstrates the ability to accept direction from his superiors and follow the chain of command; to understand and respond quickly and accurately to written and oral directions, instructions, inquiries, and requests.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of fire prevention codes, laws, procedures, and public education procedures.
  • Demonstrates the ability to comply with the vehicle code and the department’s driving regulations.
  • Demonstrates the ability to maintain confidentiality in the performance of duties.

Physical Demands

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand, sometimes for long periods of time. The employee frequently is required to walk; use hands to finger, handle, or feel, such as in the use of various medical equipment; reach with the hands and arms, such as in handling hoses and other firefighting equipment, sometimes for prolonged periods of time; climb or balance on stairs and ladders; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl while fighting fires and/or assisting in search and rescues; talk or hear; and taste or smell. The employee is occasionally required to sit while completing reports or driving an ambulance or fire apparatus. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 50 pounds (various fire fighting gear and equipment, frequently lift and/or move up to 100 pounds (hoses and ladders), and occasionally lift and/or move more than 100 pounds (injured or sick people, or items creating obstacles). Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.
  • In addition, must be physically able to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) in accordance with all applicable OSHA/NIOSH rules and regulations; as well as applicable department guidelines.
  • Appointment to most municipal positions is conditional on successfully passing polygraph, physical, and psychological exams. Physical criteria as outlined in the most current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard on Medical Requirement for Firefighters.
  • This position requires the emotional and psychological stability needed to work in a paramilitary environment; accept constructive criticism in a mature fashion; effectively communicate and interact positively with fellow employees and the public; function as part of a team; tolerate and function effectively under stress; deal calmly and effectively with extreme trauma, violence, physical and mental illness, disability, injury, and death.
  • This position involves regular and irregular shift work necessary to provide fire protection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Work shifts are normally 24 hours in duration, but may be extended in the event of disasters, manpower shortages, workload, or calls in progress. Most departments rotate 24 hours on, and 48 hours off.

Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to moving mechanical parts and outside extreme weather conditions for prolonged periods, such as snow, sleet, rain, ice, and fog. The employee is frequently exposed to hazards associated with emergency driving, and work in and around traffic. The employee is frequently exposed to wet and/or humid conditions; high, precarious places; confined spaces; below- and above-grade elevations; fumes or airborne particles; extreme heat; and vibration. The employee is occasionally exposed to toxic or caustic chemicals, smoke, extreme cold, risk of electrical shock, explosives, and risk of radiation. In addition, the employee risks exposure to persons and/or articles with contagious and/or communicable diseases and hazards associated with natural and man-made disasters. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate, but may be loud for extended periods of time, such as working in the station to working at a fire scene or responding to an ambulance call.

Sample Questionnaire

  1. Are you proficient in any other languages? Please indicate degree of proficiency (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) in speaking, reading, and writing.
  2. We you ever expelled or suspended from any school? a. If yes, please explain
  3. Was your driver’s license ever suspended or revoked? a. If yes, please explain
  4. Has your license ever been placed in probation? a. If yes, please explain
  5. Have you ever taken an exam for Fire service? a. If yes, please indicate: Agency, Approximate exam date, Position on the list, and if the list is still active.

    Drug Use
  6. Do you currently use, or have you tried using marijuana in the past six (6) months?
  7. Do you currently use, or have you in the past six (6) months, used any illegal drug other than marijuana?
  8. Do you currently use, or have you in the past six (6) months, used any narcotic or controlled substance?
  9. Have you ever sold any narcotics, controlled substance, or illegal drug?
  10. If you answered yes to any of the above questions, please give details below.

    Military Service
  11. Have you ever served in any military organization of the U.S.?
  12. If yes, give details
  13. Give date and location of discharge (City and State)
  14. What type of discharge did you receive? (Honorable, Medical, Dishonorable, Honorable conditions, etc.)
  15. Were you ever convicted at a court-martial?
  16. Are you now, or were you ever a member of any branch of the U.S. Reserve Forces?
  17. Are you now, or were you ever a member of the National Guard?

    Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic Certification
  18. Are you currently a certified EMT-B?
  19. If yes, please provide certification number, date certified, and date certification expires.
  20. Where are you certified EMT-B (i.e. what system are you certified in)?
  21. Are you currently a certified PARAMEDIC?
  22. If yes, please provide certification number, date certified, and date certification expires.
  23. If no, please provide name of school you are currently enrolled in the EMT-B class and anticipated date of completion.
  24. Where are you certified PARAMEDIC (i.e. what system are you certified in)?
  25. In 100 words or less, describe your reasons for wanting to become a Firefighter/Paramedic.

Learn more about how to get started this career. 

Last Updated: 6/18/24