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1 Sep 2016

SUN Exclusive Interview: Philadelphia Fire Department is hiring firefighters, apply by Sep. 2

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September 1, 2016 Category: Local Posted by:
The Philadelphia Fire Department is hiring firefighters. Deadline to apply is Sep. 2, 2016

The Philadelphia Fire Department is hiring firefighters. Deadline to apply is Sep. 2, 2016

The Philadelphia Fire Department is hiring


Fire Lieutenant Wesley Handy from recruitment gives The Philadelphia Sunday SUN the scoop

By Monica Peters


The Philadelphia Fire Department is hiring and the deadline to apply is Friday Sept. 2.

Anyone who desires to become a firefighter can apply.  Yes, that means anyone.

“The mission of the fire department’s recruitment unit is to increase diversity and promote awareness of career opportunities that exist within our organization, says Lieutenant Wesley Handy who works in the department’s recruitment unit.

Becoming a firefighter is any man or woman’s game.  If you are over 50 or seeking to re-enter the workforce, you can apply.  If you are over 18, you can apply.  There is no upper age limit for becoming a Philadelphia firefighter.

“We’ve had 50-plus year olds come through the [fire] academy,” says Lt. Handy noting that he has hired firefighters over the age of 50.

In case you didn’t know, there are also women firefighters and he strongly encourages women to apply.

“I’ve done many fire and emergency medical services and have worked with women.  There are many woman firefighters.”

Handy also points out that being a Philadelphia firefighter is a career. If a person is looking for a job that they can possibly work until retirement, becoming a firefighter may be a good bet.

Interested applicants will take the City of Philadelphia’s standard civil service examination for firefighters. After taking the test, applicants will be placed on a list ranked by their test scores.  The fire department will select applicants from that list based on their ranking. Selected candidates are then appointed as cadets in a 16-week extensive physical, academic and practical training at the Philadelphia Fire Academy.

The lieutenant addresses misperceptions about applying to become a firefighter and what they do in actuality.

So, does a person have to be in shape to be considered for a firefighter position?

“No”  says Lt. Handy.

“But we will get you in shape when you arrive at the fire academy,” he explains with a streak  of enthusiasm.

“There is a physical training every morning after roll call. Then we transition right into physical training. Then from there, we transition into classroom training.”

Another misperception is that firefighters only fight fires.

When they are not fighting blazes, firefighters are still busy handling medical emergencies.

“We’ve been averaging 750-800 medical runs [daily]. When you dial 911 an incident is an incident. It could be a fire, car crash, hazardous materials, high angle rescues and any type of collapse. We respond to everything.”

He notes that just the other day alone the fire department had 710 medical runs for emergency incidents. Total fire runs on that same day were 86.

“If you call and say ‘I smell gas in my house,’ were coming.”

“If you call and say ‘my water pipes broke,’ we’re coming,” says Handy.

Apply today to become a Philadelphia firefighter. Deadline is September 2.  For questions contact 215-685-3749 or 3748.  To apply go to

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