Background Check Requirements for a Firefighter

Firefighters must pass a rigorous drug screening.
Firefighters must pass a rigorous drug screening. (Image: Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Because firefighters hold positions of authority and responsibility in the communities they serve, they must complete a thorough background screening. Additionally, recorded incidences of firefighters working while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, has led to a greater demand for stricter background screenings for all firefighters. Background screenings for firefighter positions can be used to eliminate candidates who were criminal or sex offenders.

Personal History

Prospective candidates seeking firefighter positions must respond to a background questionnaire, which investigates an applicant’s personal history. Specific questions in this section deal with an applicant’s personal history; the questions are used to assess a candidate’s involvement in forgery, homicide, spousal abuse and rape. Additional responses, which are used to determine the eligibility of prospective firefighting candidates include theft, which includes shoplifting; soliciting prostitution; child molestation; extortion; and kidnapping. Omitting facts from a personal history background questionnaire is grounds for automatic disqualification.

Employment History

Firefighters are required to provide information about their past employment history. Candidates must respond to questions such as, “Have you ever been terminated or asked to resign from employment?” Additional questions include, “Have you ever taken any property from an employer?” Applicants also must indicate whether they committed any dishonest acts such as having another person take an employment entrance examination, or if they ever cheated on an employee entrance examination. Firefighting applicants will be disqualified if they omit, falsify or present misleading information related to their employment history.

Financial Records

Prospective firefighters must provide a financial record as a part of their hiring process and give answers that are truthful. They must provide a thorough explanation of any experiences related to their credit history, such as bankruptcies and low credit score rating. Applicants must also indicate whether they have any bills that are past due or if they have had any bills that were turned over to collections within the past two years. Applicants must provide accurate dates where appropriate.

Drug and Narcotics

Drunk driving or related charges associated with reckless driving and possession of illegal narcotics are grounds for immediate disqualification from a firefighting position. Applicants who use injectable drugs and controlled substances or steroids are ineligible for firefighter positions. Selling, intending to sell or transporting narcotics, hallucinogens such as LSD and heroin, and multiple use of marijuana are also grounds for disqualification. Applicants must truthfully respond to drug- and narcotic-related questions by indicating the first and last times that they used any drugs.

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