Frequently Asked Questions

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What do Paramedics and EMTs do?
Paramedics and EMTs can respond to emergencies ranging from automobile accidents to major fires. When they arrive at an emergency, they quickly determine the nature and extent of the patient’s condition. They provide emergency care and, when necessary, transport the patient to a local medical facility.

EMTs are trained to provide basic life support (BLS) services in a pre-hospital setting, ranging from CPR to spinal immobilization.

Paramedics can provide advanced life support (ALS) services to patients during medical emergencies. The advanced training enables them to perform some invasive procedures and dispense medications under the supervision of a physician.

Members typically are dispatched by a 911 operator and work closely with police officers at the scene of an emergency.

Do I need to be a Williamsburg resident to work for the Williamsburg Fire Department? 
We do not have a residency requirement for fire department personnel except for the Fire Chief and Deputy Chief.  They must live within 10 miles from the city limits.

What are the minimum and maximum age requirements for a Firefighter/Paramedic or Firefighter/EMT? 
You must be a minimum of 18 years of age to be hired. There is no maximum age limit.

Do you offer part time employment? Can I work summers only? 
No, the Williamsburg Fire Department offers only full-time employment.

What is the hiring procedure?
First, candidates must submit a completed application to the City’s Department of Human Resources. The selection process includes the successful completion of: background checks, interviews and physical.  Each selection process is a stand-alone process. Therefore, candidates interested in continuing to seek a Firefighter-Medic position with the City of Williamsburg must reapply during each open application period.

How important is physical fitness?
Maintaining a good physical condition is extremely important in Firefighting/EMS duties. Fire academy recruits must pass a physically demanding Work Performance Evaluation in order to successfully complete the training program.  After completing the fire academy, firefighters are required to pass the department's Work Performance Evaluation twice a year.

Is the job stressful?
Yes, at times the Firefighting/EMS job is stressful. However, training, physical fitness, and Fire Department support all help to minimize stress.

Is the job safe?
The job is as safe as we can make it. Firefighting and EMS duties contain inherent dangers. Training, equipment, teamwork, and applied individual study all maximize safety.

What is the work schedule?
The Tidewater Regional Fire Academy is typically scheduled for Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 5 PM and lasts for approximately sixteen weeks.

Once assigned to shift work, you will work 24-hour shifts, 8:00a.m.- 8:00 a.m. You will work an average of 56 hours a week and 10 days a month on-duty.  However, schedules are at the discretion of Fire Administration.

Are there any benefits with the job?
A career as a Firefighter-Medic can be rewarding in many ways, but specific benefits include: paid vacation and sick leave, hospital plan, dental reimbursement plan, as well as ICMA participation.

Do I attend and graduate from a training academy?
Yes. You are required to attend and graduate from the Tidewater Regional Fire Academy (TRFA).

How long does TRFA training last?
The program is scheduled for approximately sixteen weeks.

Where does the recruit training take place?
Typically, TRFA is hosted by the City of Newport News and City of Hampton Fire Departments.

What certifications will you acquire once you graduate?
TRFA graduates are certified in EVOC, Firefighter I & II, Haz-Mat Operations, Rope I, Vehicle Rescue II, and May Day! Firefighter Down.

Will I work both Fire and EMS disciplines?
Yes. The Williamsburg Fire Department is comprised of dual-role personnel, therefore you will rotate between medic unit and fire apparatus duties.

I've been a firefighter for XX years, do I still have to go to the Academy?
Yes, all new members are required to go through the Academy regardless of past years of firefighting experience. A consideration to waive the Academy for candidates who are graduates of TRFA may be made at the discretion of the Fire Chief.

When do you accept applications?
We accept applications for Firefighter/EMT only during the posting period. Make sure and submit an application by the posted deadline. Applications will not be accepted once the posting has closed. Candidates are hired as openings become available in the department due to resignations or retirements. There is no way to predict when these positions will need to be filled.

I don't live in Virginia.  Do you accept applications from out-of-state?
We welcome out of state applicants. We encourage applicants who will be traveling to Virginia to be aware of our hiring process.

Do I have to complete a physical as part of the hiring process? 
Yes. If a conditional offer of employment is made, the candidate must satisfactorily complete a full medical physical examination.

I have a criminal record, is that okay?
The Williamsburg Fire Department is very selective when hiring new Firefighters. The most desirable candidates will possess a clean criminal record and meet all of the other requirements. Candidates who have a serious misdemeanor conviction within the past five years or a felony conviction will not be considered eligible for the position. 

What are the requirements to apply for the Fire Fighter/EMT Position
• At least 18 years of age at time of appointment
• High School diploma or equivalent
• U.S. citizen or permanent alien resident who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship
• Be of good moral character as determined by a thorough background investigation

What will disqualify me from being a fire fighter?
• Felony conviction(s)
• Dishonorable military discharge
• On probation as directed by a court
• Any drunk driving (DUI) conviction within two years of filing date

How many fire stations do you have?
WFD operates one station that is staffed by career firefighters. Depending on the day, volunteer members will aid career staff during shift work.  

What are the hiring interviews like?
Williamsburg considers the candidate interview to be the strength of its hiring process. For an applicant who qualifies, there will be a panel interview. During the panel interview, candidates are asked questions by a group of 3-5 professionals to include firefighter/EMT’s, administrative personnel and fire officers. The session lasts 20-30 minutes. 

How long is the probationary period?
In most instances, one year from date of hire.

How large is your response area?
About 10 square miles. Don’t let the size of our responding area fool you, the City lends itself to a variety of emergencies: residential fires, commercial fires, medical emergencies, water rescue, and high-speed motor-vehicle accidents on an interstate highway I-64. Included within the city boundaries are Colonial Williamsburg, a 1.5 square mile outdoor museum of 18th century structures; and the College of William and Mary. Each of these areas present unique hazard potential within the city limits. The WFD protects the City of Williamsburg and aids James City County and York County on a daily basis. We protect approximately 14,000 residents, and at times, the population of the city will more than double due to the influx of out of town guests and college students.