The Missoula City Fire Department is hiring, and KGVO News reached out to City Fire Chief Gordy Hughes for details about what qualifications a new firefighter must possess.

“The minimum age is 18 years and they must have a high school diploma or an equivalent,” began Chief Hughes. “Upon being hired they will be required to attain an EMT, that’s emergency medical technician basic as a minimum certification. We really look favorably at those with higher certifications, so those with paramedic certification would get higher scoring points for the interview.”

Hughes said the physical requirements for a new hire for the fire department are extremely difficult for both men and women. He described just some of the drills a candidate must complete successfully through the CPAT, the ‘Candidates Physical Abilities Test’.

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“They start out with a three minute trek on a Stairmaster while they're outfitted with a 45 pound weight vest,” he began. “So they have to complete that test in three minutes. Then, they go through an obstacle course that replicates a lot of the physical types of jobs required for firefighting. They will drag a dummy, they'll go through a darkened maze, enclosed with obstacles, hoist a ladder and they'll simulate with a roof breaching prop.”

Hughes added more physical challenges that each candidate must complete.

“They’ll drag hose and use a forcible entry prop,” he said. “It's a sledgehammer beaten against a pressure plate that registers the impact and it will go off once you've surpassed a certain point of strikes and getting that pressure plate to where it needs to be. Now, all those requirements have to be done in under 10 minutes.”

Hughes said both men and women must complete the same physical tests in the same time period. He explained why all Missoula firefighters have to be in peak physical condition.

“Our call volume is over 10,000 calls for service each year,” he said. “Many of those calls require very fit individuals to perform those duties and we can't bias one way or the other on the ability to lift weight and be in good cardiovascular condition.”

He said Missoula is a very popular fire department, with applications coming in for openings from several states, and the competition is fierce. The application period closes on June 9.

Click here for a full list of requirements and job description.

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