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How To Become A Firefighter In Missouri

America’s Show Me State has a fascinating history full of interesting but relatively obscure tidbits. Most of these little-known facts relate to various “firsts.” For instance, St. Louis native Robert Pershing Wadlow is the world’s tallest man whose height of 8 feet, 11.1 inches made medical history. Frisco, Missouri was the destination of the first Atlantic-Pacific railway locomotive launched in 1870. Missouri is also the lifelong residence and birthplace of Laura Ingalls, the real-life persona of her namesake character in the famous book, “Little House on the Prairie.”

USS Missouri is still another great “first” forever associated with our nation’s 24th state. One of Missouri’s many seafaring namesakes, the USS Missouri was among the first steam warships christened and commissioned by U.S. Navy. Its demise due to an 1841 fire was perhaps a portentous fate, however – Missouri has one of the highest fire rates in the country.

Here is a basic guide for how to become a firefighter in Missouri:

As in all other locales throughout America, specific requirements for firefighters in Missouri vary somewhat among municipal fire departments.  Make sure to keep in mind that physical training is as important as any other training, as many fire departments like St. Louis and Springfield require passage of a physical agility assessment.  There are, however, some core universal threshold requirements, as set forth below:


• Be at least 21 years of age
• Have a high school diploma or GED
• Comprehensive pre-hire examination passage
• Physical examination pass
• Pass a pre-hire drug screen
• Pass a criminal history background check
• Have excellent physical fitness.
• Hold a valid Missouri driver’s license

What to Expect with Missouri Firefighter Training:

Firefighter 1 and 2 certification is a basic criterion of employment eligibility in nearly all local fire departments. Depending on local departmental policy, firefighter candidates can obtain required training and certification during or even after the hiring process. Missouri has many firefighter training and certification programs that offer credentials ranging from certificates to full-fledged academic degrees.

One such facility is the Greater St. Louis Fire Academy. The Academy offers a 16-hour training course that all hopeful prospective firefighters in any department in the area must complete. Instructional topics include:

  •  Arson Detection
  • Vehicular Fire extrication
  • Ground Cover Fires
  • Fire Hose usage and operation
  • Structural construction
  • Firefighter Safety

Moreover, the state of Missouri requires completion of specialized training and in hazardous materials awareness and handling and subsequent Operations and Awareness certifications. Prerequisite firefighter training typically takes between six weeks and six months. Extreme instructional intensity and speed are common characteristics of all firefighter classes, however.

Missouri Firefighting Stiffening Local Standards:

A growing number of municipal fire departments in Missouri are promulgating tougher standards for firefighters. Besides the above-mentioned basic vocational training and certifications, these departments are mandating professional paramedic licensure for all prospective firefighters. For instance, the St. Louis and Richmond Heights fire departments require all firefighter candidates to obtain EMT certification within one year of hire in order to maintain employment.

Wrap Up:

For more details and helpful information about how to become a firefighter in Missouri, go to the Missouri Division of Fire Safety Office of the State Fire Marshal at http://www.dfs.dps.mo.gov/default.asp.

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