City of Madison firefighter/EMT recruitment is conducted approximately every two years. To receive instant hiring and department updates, subscribe to our email lists. The firefighter/EMT recruitment and selection process is extensive and generally takes 9-10 months from initial application to the first round of hiring.

Two firefighters sitting in a truck. A helmet with "Firefighter Station 3" is sitting in the foreground.

Firefighter/EMT Prerequisites

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

  • be at least 18 years of age (there is no maximum age limit)
  • be a high school graduate or possess a high school equivalency diploma
  • possess a current driver's license
  • be of sound mental and physical health

Qualities Desirable in a Firefighter/EMT

  • ability to complete a rigorous academic and physical training program
  • motivation to serve
  • effective communication skills
  • physical, mental, and emotional health
  • ability to exercise sound judgment
  • strong sense of responsibility
  • compassion (even when stressed)
  • ability to work as a team member
  • tolerance
  • honesty and integrity
  • problem-solving skills
  • strong work ethic

Physical Demands & Working Conditions

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

Physical Demands

The physical demands of a firefighter/EMT are characterized by strength, endurance, coordination, agility, and dexterity.

  • Pick up and advance charged fire hoses.
  • Force entry with axe/battering ram.
  • Rescue/extricate victim(s).
  • Perform CPR; apply bandages.
  • Climb stairs with equipment weighing approximately 50 pounds.
  • Strip and vent roofs, breach walls, overhaul burned buildings.
  • Lift and climb/descend ladders (with victims).
  • Visually determine fire status/hazards; assess patient conditions.
  • Hear calls for help; identify fire noise, etc.
  • Walk on roof tops under adverse conditions.
  • Operate power tools and extrication equipment, and tie knots.
  • Stoop, crawl, crouch, and kneel in confined spaces.
  • Reach, twist, balance, grapple, bend, and lift under emergency conditions.
  • Run, dodge, jump, and maneuver with equipment.
  • All of the above may be performed wearing heavy and restrictive protective clothing/gear.

Working Conditions

A firefighter/EMT must perform physically demanding work, requiring judgment, under adverse working conditions.

  • Work in extreme temperatures both day and night, in rain, snow, and ice.
  • Exposure to fumes, gases, noxious odors, dust, and poor ventilation.
  • Work in closely confined spaces.
  • Work around potential hazards: fire, explosives, chemicals, electrical shock, structural hazards, fast-moving vehicles, etc.
  • Intense exposure to water and/other liquids.
  • Exposure to blood, serious injuries, and death.
  • Exposure to a wide range of highly emotional and traumatic events.
  • Exposure to noise and vibration from tools, equipment, machinery, etc.
  • Work at heights (e.g., on ladders, roof tops, etc).
  • 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).

How to Prepare

Our firefighter/EMT application period comes around approximately once every two years. You can prepare by:

  • Taking fire and/or EMS classes at a local technical school
  • Improving your fitness
  • Volunteering
  • Getting involved in your community