What Does It Take To Be A Houston Firefighter?

Applicant Sammi Charen talks to a female Houston firefighter.
Some 1200 men and women hoping to become a Houston Fire fighter took the first step with the civil service exam. A top score will enable them to move on to the next phase, to eventually fill some 300 openings in the department.

The men and women came to the George R. Brown Convention Center to take the three-hour civil service exam.

This is Houston Fire Department Executive Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan.

"This is the entry level, a full term course. This is where we hire candidates that will go through the fire certification, and at the same time they'll complete the EMT certification. They'll be paid the whole time that they're inside the cadet curriculum."

Applicants registered for the exam through the department website, and Flanagan says testing is a little difficult for a reason.

"We want the right candidates, but at the same time we want to see that there's a criteria where they'll all be tested through the different components. There's the background check, the physical ability test, and we can get the best of the best."

Richard Cano is no stranger to the procedure.

"I've always wanted to be a firefighter. I got back in 2009 from the military and my cousins are in. This is my third time trying, so hopefully this time I'll actually will pass and make it to it."

Sammi Charen from Conroe was one of the more than 100 women taking the exam.

"I've grown up in the fire department, my parents are both firefighters, volunteer. I've been a volunteer since I was 16, and it's been my dream to be on a paid department, and Houston has not only one of the most notable departments, but they have a really really good schedule."

Applicants who score high on the civil service exam will move on to the next testing phase toward possible placement in arson, fire prevention and communication.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...