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RFD: Firefighters Wanted

City of Rochester

If you are looking for a job that starts at $40,000 with a 20 year pension, then the city of Rochester is looking for you.

Amon Hudson, a recruiter with the Rochester Fire Department says "Fighting fires is a great adrenaline rush. If you are an adrenaline junkie then you'll love fighting fires. Even if you're not, you'll still learn to love the fire department."

The exam

How do you become a firefighter for the city of Rochester? Take the civil service exam and you could be on your way.

"The first three months is EMT training. Then, the second three months, you will begin to learn Firefighter one and Firefighter two."

The deadline to sign up is fast approaching.


If you live in Rochester, are at least 18 and want to serve your community, you need to sign up for the civil service exam, which is only offered every three or four years. Hudson admits his brother talked him into taking the test.

"I've loved it ever since. It's a great adrenaline rush - being able to go into a house, plant the hose line, trying to find the seat of the fire and then putting it out, knowing that you're helping conserve property and lives. It's a great feeling!"

Credit City of Rochester

Hudson says he enjoys talking about the Rochester Fire Department in the community. The RFD has 480 members, and hires about 20 per year. This January's class is the last to be assembled from the previous civil service test.

The deadline to sign up for the civil service test is October 2. Hudson suggests you ask for a study guide when you apply, to help you prepare for the exam.

RFD Chief John Schreiber
RFD Chief John Schreiber

The sell

A starting salary of $40,000. A pension earned after 20 years. And firefighter Amon Hudson says firefighting can be a satisfying career.

"When we drive down the street, people are waving at us, calling us towards whatever the issue is they need help with. I love that feeling! People really appreciate who you are and what you're doing for the community. Being able to interact with the kids because they love firemen, passing out the hats and stickers to them. That stuff's cool. When they come by the firehouse and you can show them the fire truck and everything. It's a really great feeling!"

The process 

What’s next if you score well on the December 19 exam?

Hudson sums it up: "After you take the civil service exam, we call you back for the physical agility screening. If that goes well, we call you back for the background check. If that goes well, we'll call you back for the interview. If we're impressed with the interview, we'll give you a conditional offer of employment, provided you pass a medical examination. If all that looks good, you get appointed to the academy. And that's where your $40,000 starts, and day one of your 20-year pension plan starts as well."

Credit City of Rochester

As much as Hudson loves his job, he points out that firefighting is not all glamour. You're training when you're not on a call, and someone's gotta spruce up the firehouse.

"We do all the cleaning ourselves. So then you go into sweeping or mopping the firehouse, emptying out the garbages, cleaning the toilets. Yeah, you're a salaried fireman, but these are still things that you have to do. And everyone takes part in it. It's a team thing."

You also prepare your own meals.

If you're considering taking the firefighters test?

Hudson’s quick pitch: "Go ahead and do it. It's a rewarding career. Great benefits. It's a lifetime opportunity, that's right now. We only hire once every four years…three to four at best. Up until October 2, put in your application. Again, it's a great career. You'll love the job. You'll love this opportunity."

Note: Rochester Police are also recruiting