Print Page

Firefighter: Conditions of Employment

If you are applying for a Firefighter Position, one or more of the following may apply to:

Individuals age 37 and over may enter or reenter a primary law enforcement or firefighter position if they are able to complete a total of 20 years of covered and creditable law enforcement or firefighter service by the mandatory retirement age of 57. Prior service in covered positions may be subtracted from the applicant’s age to determine if he or she meets the MEA. Such prior service must also be creditable for retirement. Since FERS temporary service performed after December 31, 1988 is not creditable for retirement, it may not be credited for MEA purposes.
Proof of prior covered service must be submitted prior to employment. Acceptable proof consists of SF-50’s showing beginning and ending dates of covered/creditable appointments and copies of approved letters based on individual claims. Applicants who fail to provide this evidence will not be considered eligible for the position.  

Applicants, already in covered secondary positions or with previously approved service, who apply for this position cannot be considered if their age at re-entry into the primary position is 37 years or older, after subtracting creditable service in approved positions.
Applicants desiring secondary special retirement coverage must transfer directly, without a break in service exceeding 3 days, from a primary covered position to a secondary covered position or from one secondary covered position to another. 
Under FERS regulations an applicant must have a minimum of 36 months (not required to be continuous) service in covered primary positions prior to transferring to a secondary covered position.

Fire assignments are a duty of this position and will require the selectee to meet the agency medical standards, pass the work capacity test at the arduous level and meet the smokejumpers’ physical fitness standards.
Incumbent must meet specified levels on annual physical fitness tests, and pass periodic medical exams for wildland fire personnel, commensurate with current incident management qualifications.
Medical and Physical Requirements for Smokejumper Positions: The requirements for both the GS-05 and GS-06 positions involve sustained, arduous physical exertion under rigorous and unusual conditions. Persons appointed will be potentially subjected to extreme physical danger and to irregular and protracted hours of work. The health of individuals must be such that they have the capacity to meet demands for performance in the position and for human reliability. Before entrance on duty, and periodically during employment, individuals must undergo a medical examination. Failure to meet any of the required medical qualifications will usually be considered disqualifying for employment or a basis for termination, except when substantial evidence is present that the individuals can perform the essential functions of the job efficiently and without hazard to themselves or others, with or without reasonable accommodation.
WEIGHT: Individuals must weigh no less than 120 pounds and no more than 200 pounds without clothes.

HEIGHT: Height without shoes must not exceed 77 inches or be less than 60 inches.

EYESIGHT: Must be free from acute or chronic eye disease. Corrected distance vision must test at least 20/20 (Snellen) in one eye and at least 20/30 (Snellen) in the other. Individuals must be able to read printed material the size of typewritten characters, correction permitted.

HEARING: Must not have acute or chronic disease of the external, middle, or internal ear. Using an audiometer for measurement, there should be no loss of 25 or more decibels in each ear at the speech frequency range. A hearing aid is not permitted.

NOSE, MOUTH AND THROAT: Must be free from acute or chronic sinus disease or other nasopharyngeal conditions that interfere with distinct speech or free breathing.

TEETH: Must be free from any mouth or dental defect that interferes with proper incision and mastication of food.

LUNGS: Must not have any acute or chronic disease of the lungs that impairs pulmonary function.

HEART & BLOOD VESSELS: Must not have organic heart disease, compensated or not; valvular diseases; coronary heart disease; cardiac enlargement; angina pectoris; cardiac arrhythmia or irregularity other than sinus arrhythmia; arteriosclerosis; blood pressure readings that consistently exceed 150 systolic or 90 diastolic. High blood pressure that is regulated without side effects to any more than the above systolic and diastolic readings may be qualifying.

ABDOMEN: Cannot have acute or chronic disease of the abdomen; significant enlargement of the liver or spleen; or hernia that interferes with lifting, stretching, bending, or working with tools.

GENITOURINARY/METABOLIC: Cannot have acute or chronic genitourinary disease; acute or chronic prostatitis; large and/or painful varicocele or hydrocele with functional impairment; or un-reconciled abnormal finding on urinalysis; including drug use. Diabetes mellitus may be disqualifying if means or extent of treatment and control are incompatible with working conditions.

SPINE, PELVIS, SACROILIAC, AND LUMBROSACRAL JOINTS: Must not have restricted mobility of the spine and pelvic joints that interfere with normal function. Individuals cannot have any significant abnormal curvature of the spine or deformity or malformation of the parts, spondylolisthesis, or a history of herniated nucleus pulposus, with or without surgery, that may be re-injured on impact landing.

EXTREMETIES: Cannot have anomalies in the number, form, proportion, and movement of the extremities that interfere with function. This includes non-united fractures; non-reducible dislocations; united fractures and reduced dislocations with incomplete restoration of function; amputation of arm, hand, leg, or foot; loss of any skeletal portion of the thumb of either hand; loss of more than the two distal phalanges of the ring or little fingers of either hand; ankylosed joints; pes cavus, weakfoot, or clubfoot; flatfoot with symptoms unresponsive to orthotics; loss or deformity of great toe or any two toes on the same foot; torn cartilage or loose foreign bodies within the knee joint; instability of the knee joint; or inadequately healed surgical procedure.

NERVOUS SYSTEM: Must not have mental, nervous, organic, or functional neuro-psychiatric disorders likely to interfere with performance; medical history or clinical diagnosis or a seizure disorder showing systems that are likely to recur or disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory explanation of the cause; paralysis or paresis; muscular atrophies or dystrophies that would interfere with proper functioning in the position.

SKIN: Cannot have debilitating acute or chronic skin disease or extensive scarring that interferes with function.

OTHER CONDITIONS: Conditions or other diseases not included herein which will not exclude an individual from consideration providing the condition is satisfactorily corrected.

IMMUNIZATION: Tetanus immunization or booster within the last 10 years is required.

Return to Top of Page 

Age Requirements: All appointees must be at least 18 years of age.
This is an arduous/hazardous position which requires that the person tentatively selected pass a physical examination before appointed. An offer of employment will be withdrawn if the person tentatively selected cannot pass the physical examination.
Employment in this position is conditional upon your successful completion of the following smokejumper performance tests:
Physical Requirements:

When you report for duty, you will be given a physical condition test consisting of performing the following exercises:

1.5-mile run in 10:47 minutes or 110-pound pack-out over 3 miles of flat terrain in 65 minutes (both are required for all rookie smokejumpers, and are tested during rookie training)
30 push-ups
6 pull-ups 

Work Capacity Test at the Arduous Level: 3 mile hike over level ground carrying a 45 pound pack completed in 45 minutes or less.
Individuals who successfully complete the physical requirements will move on to receive training to meet the parachuting requirements. Individuals who do not successfully complete the physical requirements will receive notification from smokejumper management that they will be removed from Federal employment.
Adeptness Test: To become qualified as a smokejumper, employees will be required to satisfactorily complete an intensive training program in parachute jumping and fire suppression methods and techniques. A minimum of 15 training jumps are conducted during the training period beginning with jumps into simple terrain, progressing on to more difficult terrain and environmental conditions. Smokejumpers must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the various aspects of parachute jumping and smokejumper related duties. These include but are not limited to:
Aircraft procedures
Parachute malfunction procedures
Parachute landing rolls
Parachute maneuvering
Timber let-down procedures
Parachute and cargo retrieving
Tree climbing
Hand tool and chainsaw use
Equipment checks
Each employee’s performance is continually evaluated during the training period and those employees who cannot perform up to the standard of proficiency required will be notified by smokejumper management of their deficiencies. These deficiencies, if not rectified, will be used as the reason(s) which management will use to propose to remove the employee from Federal employment for inability to perform the essential duties of their position. 

Last updated: 09-23-2015