How To Become A Firefighter In Utah


how to become a firefighter in Utah

Known for its beautiful landscapes, Utah is a desirable destination for many.  It’s no wonder many ask how to become a firefighter in Utah.

The state of Utah is also one where there are still strong views on the right way to conduct yourself in society and on certain vices. If there are high expectations for citizens to do right, then you can expect even more from their emergency personnel.

It takes the right personality, character and skillset to start out as a Utah firefighter – and that is before all the recruit training and advanced courses. So, how can you become a firefighter in the state of Utah?

How to Become a Firefighter in Utah

  • 18 years old
  • US citizen with local residency
  • High school education or higher
  • Valid driver’s license
  • No criminal record
  • EMT and Hazmat training recommended

There are sure to be many hopeful applicants that look at this list and appreciate that this is not the full story. This is a state where faith, moral character and a clean record are very important and this needs to be reflected in Utah’s public servants.

You can apply at this age and education level. But, any blip in your criminal record, driving history (especially a DUI) or any drug use could be an issue.

In this guide, I want to talk more about this hiring process and the other challenges of firefighting in Utah. I will also talk about the state’s best training facility and some of the major fire departments.

Firefighting in Utah

Most of the departments in Utah will have the same expectations and standards when it comes to finding the very best recruits for their departments. They will start with the basic application and then move onto the tests, firefighter interviews and screening processes.

There will be variations between departments in terms of processes and specific scores. However, Utah is a state that places a strong emphasis on the character of its crews and the way they conduct themselves.

As a result, they look for some of the following skills and traits during tests and interviews. Candidates must be a people-person with good control of their emotions, especially in a crisis. They must show initiative and integrity at all times while communicating effectively.

While there is great emphasis on the mental and personal side of the screening, you can’t forget about the physical side.

Candidates must be able to handle the fitness test, pass the medical and pass the drug screening. The latter is essential here because of the stricter laws on alcohol, drug and tobacco use in the state.

The UFA physical test is a good example of the process. Here you will be expected to showcase strength, endurance, balance and coordination in specific parameters.

Challenges for Utah Firefighters

The risks in Utah are much the same as in other states with large rural areas and national parks. Anywhere with vegetation and dry spells is at risk of wildfire. Therefore, trainees in these areas must gain experience in wildland fire management as they progress in their career.

Another natural factor here is the lake system, especially the vast area of the Great Salt Lake. This region is popular with tourists and thrill-seekers that want to head out on boats or kayaks.

The problem is that many people here underestimate the scale of the lake and get into trouble. This is where fire departments need individuals skilled in water rescue to help save lives.

Then there are all the risks in the more built-up urban areas. The bigger towns and cities are home to the majority of the state’s population, commerce and industry.

That means lots of homes and business at risk of fire or structural damage. Vehicular accidents are also a common problem here. City fire crews need to be ready to handle the worst-case situations in medical emergencies, fires, accidents and more.

The more skills that you learn at the start of your career here, the better able you will be to help those in need.

Some of these departments will be small-scale with volunteer firefighters, others will be larger career-based departments and the rest could be combination departments.

Wherever you go, you need to be sure that you have the right certifications. Firefighter 1 and 2 are a must, as is EMT training. Some departments will also insist on Hazardous material training at some point. So, you need to go to find the right fire academy.

Fire Academies in Utah

There are different approaches that you can take when learning how to become a firefighter in Utah. Some volunteers will learn all their basic skills for their firefighter 1 and 2 certification through their department.

From there, there is the chance to take further courses in advanced disciplines. Others will join community colleges and similar programs in academic environments. This provides certificates or associate degrees in fire subjects.

One of the best facilities in the state is the one found at Utah Valley University. Here students can take part in a UFRA accredited program that provides the right certification to get started.

The main goal is to gain firefighter 1 and 2 certificates via the skills and knowledge taught at the facility. This comprehensive education looks at fire behavior, suppression and prevention while also discussing materials, equipment and strategies. It does so in both a practical and classroom setting. This means a chance for personal growth but also teamwork and practice for the real thing.

One of the reasons that this facility is so popular and well respected is that it has everything that students need to get started.

The Recruit Candidate Academy is a huge facility with over 4,700 square feet and 2 floors. This includes rooms with specific functions like ventilation training, ladder rescue, self-rescue and the fire evolutions lab.

It is the most advanced facility in the area with everything that students need to practice and learn.

The other benefit of learning here is that they don’t go easy on the new recruits. They use a para-military approach with tough rules and expectations.

There are 300 hours of college-level coursework, 350 hours of fire ground training and other fitness requirements. Those that can’t keep up will fall behind.

In addition to this, there is the community outreach where students work with local children to teach them about fire safety. Find out more here.

Major Fire Departments in Utah

The following is a list of major fire departments in Utah.  While it isn’t comprehensive it’s a great place to start if you’re interested in learning more about how to become a firefighter in Utah.

How to Become a United Fire Association Firefighter

  • 18 years old
  • US citizen with local residency
  • High school education or higher
  • Valid driver’s license
  • No criminal record
  • EMT and Hazmat training recommended

This fire department has the same work rate as Salt Lake City but does things a little differently. The cover a much wider area with support over different counties and towns.

This means that they can provide the same level of care from their 25 stations with a cohesive, professional response to every single call. Again, there are lots of different specializations here that the department can utilize to help residents in need.

They are part of the Utah Task Force 1, have a search and rescue team, wildland fire team, water rescue service, bomb squad and more. This is all made possible with a skilled team of 600 firefighters.

A positions here could prove to be one of the more interesting opportunities in the state. You can find out more here.

How to Become a Salt Lake City, UT Firefighter

  • 18 years old
  • US citizen with local residency
  • High school education or higher
  • Valid driver’s license
  • No criminal record
  • EMT and Hazmat training recommended

We need to talk about the largest metropolitan area in Utah and the different responsibilities here. Salt Lake City has the largest population with just over 200,000 people living and working in 109.1 square miles.

That is why the department has 14 stations across the area running an ISO Class 1 service with 350 employees. The team here is trained to handle lots of different situations because of their proximity to the busier districts, the highways, the airport and the lake.

This means divisions in aircraft rescue, swift water rescue, hazardous materials and more. It is essential that all fire crew members in this city continue with their training and education to provide the best possible service.

In 2018, the department dealt with 30,000 calls for medical aid, fire suppression rescues and more.

Job Prospects for Utah Firefighters

As of 2018, there were 2000 firefighters employed by the state to handle calls across all the districts. This equated to 1.37 posts per 1000 jobs.

The annual mean wage for firefighters in Utah is $37,960.

Those working in Nevada at the same time could expect to see almost double that as their yearly average with $66,830. Of course, rates of pay will always depend on your location and role.

For example, Unified Fire Authority entry-level firefighters can now expect $45,112 per year. Those that are also paramedics make $48,938 respectively. This will increase with experience.

It may seem as though it is too difficult if you’ve been wondering how to become a firefighter in Utah because of the high standards, state laws and the intense training.

This is all necessary to ensure that communities have precisely the right type of firefighter working for them. It will take a lot of hard work and studying to get into a career position, especially in places like Salt Lake City.

However, there are lots of opportunities to learn and grow and different responsibilities across the state. That is why firefighting in Utah is also highly rewarding.

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