NEW FIREFIGHTER F.A.Q.
The information on this page is provided to answer common questions of individuals wishing to enter the exciting field of wildland firefighting.
You may also download this information by clicking the link below:
1. I have no previous wildland fire experience, so how do I become a firefighter?
New firefighters must register and successfully complete S-130: Basic Firefighter and S-190: Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior training. These entry-level courses are conducted over a five day period. Successful completion of the entry-level courses and the Work Capacity Fitness Test [WCFT] makes you eligible to begin work as a Wildland Firefighter.
2. What is a Work Capacity Fitness Test [WCFT]
Those wishing to work on hand crews or engines must complete and pass the WCFT at the arduous level. The arduous guidelines require the successful completion of a three mile hike with a 45-pound pack in 45 minutes. Participating personnel must provide Government issued photo ID at the time of the test. Your instructor will provide WCFT training and guidance during class.
3. How much does class cost?
GFP Enterprises will pay the cost of all your wildland training courses, as long as you intend to work for us.
4. How do I register for class?
You must create a user account to complete registration. You can view available courses online prior to registering. There are a limited number of seats available in our training classes, so register early. Anyone showing up for a class without registering will not be permitted to take the class.
5. Do I need an email account to set-up a user account?
YES, you will not be able to register for classes unless you set-up a user account and you can’t set-up a GFP Fire user account without a valid email address. DO NOT USE A FRIENDS EMAIL ADDRESS!
6. What if I do not have an email account?
7. Why do I need to create a GFP Fire user account to register for training?
Our company is very large and online registration helps us manage firefighter information and availability status in real time. You can also update your personal contact information online without having to contact our office
8. What will I learn in the entry level classes?
You will be introduced to the basic concepts of the fire environment and learn about fire behavior. You will learn that the available fuels, topography and current weather have major influences on fire behavior. You will learn the importance of continual monitoring these factors in an effort to predict when and where the fire is likely to increase in intensity. Maintaining constant situational awareness, establishing escape routes and knowing safety zone locations will help you remain safe on the fireline.
You will be taught fireline tool use and maintenance, map and compass skills and common wildland fire terminology. Above all, you will learn that effective communication and a commitment to safety is a top priority at all times. Pre-work: Learn 10 basic fire orders
9. Where are the training classes held?
Once you are at the Registration Page you can click on the City link in the Location column. This will bring up the map for that specific training location. Click the map and enter the location from where you are traveling and Google Maps will map your directions.
10. How do I apply to work for GFP?
You must be 18 years or older to apply. An application and employee packet will be provided to you during the first day of the Entry-Level class. You will need to provide a government issued picture identification and social security card to complete the application process. We are looking for reliable, hard working firefighters, which display the ability to work effectively in teams.
11. What will I get paid?
Entry-level firefighters will be paid approximately $16.54 per hour ($12.00 regular pay and $4.54 fringe). Pay increases with experience and training and is also based on conduct and performance evaluations. Typically, firefighters reach overtime by day 3. Overtime is paid at one and a half times your regular pay rate. Overtime is paid on hours over 40 in a one-week period.
12. When will I start working?
July is usually the most active month in Oregon for large fires. Your official start date is the date of your first dispatch. Please understand that work is purely dependent on the number of fires burning in a given period and the availability of resources. GFP has dispatched personnel as early as May, so simply prepare yourself to work after you have completed your training. You may receive a status call if we anticipate a dispatch. You can also browse for national fire information at www.nifc.gov
13. What kind of hours will I work?
Government regulations do not allow for more than 16 hours daily, unless conducting initial attack [IA]. Based on historical data, the actual average number of hours worked will be between 13-14 hours daily. This will amount to 91-98 hours in a 7-day period, which can amount to a very substantial check.
14. I am a student. How does it work when I need to return to school?
During the initial orientation simply provide us with your dates of availability and we will accommodate you. Many of our employees are students and we encourage your educational commitment. This is a great summer job.
15. What does GFP have to offer?
We are a nationally recognized company and have performed work for multiple government agencies all over the United States in both wildland fire and disaster recovery. See our company awards of recognition. Also check out our company Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on events.
16. What should I expect after I complete the entry level training and am available for work?
First of all, make sure that you have the appropriate wildland fire gear, “Items To Bring To a Dispatch”, packed and ready. This should include government issued ID, 2 sack lunches, wildland fire boots (Vibram soles), Tent (2 person max), sleeping bag, 32oz Nalgene H20 bottles (qty 2-4), Rx / Allergy medications (30 day supply), moisture wicking socks (14 pair), cotton t-shirts (7-14), underwear (14 days) toiletry items, shower towel, flip flops.
Upon completing of all employment related documents, successfully passing all required training and fitness testing and as soon as you are ready to work, you need to provide your availability status on a weekly basis. As jobs come in, we refer to the availability list to find workers that have the skills and experience necessary for ordered deployment.
17. What should I expect after I receive a dispatch call and accept an assignment?
Generally, you will have 2 hours to safely travel from your location to the Dedicated Dispatch Location (DDL) where we will assemble and prepare for travel as a crew. As part of the preparation at the DDL, we will provide you with all your required Personal Protective Equipment, line gear and a personal gear bag. You are required to show up with all the items identified in Question 16 – refer to the “Items To Bring To a Dispatch” for details on those items. We expect that the items we check-out to you are returned in good repair.
You will receive a briefing regarding travel logistics, information about the incident and a variety of other dispatch specific topics prior to departing the DDL to the incident.
18. What additional places on the internet can I go to learn more about Wildland Firefighting ?
GFP – Recruiting Video
INCIWEB – National Incident Information System
Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program – Blog
Strikstarus – US Lightning Activity Map