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NY Fire Department

Headquarters: 9 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Main Switchboard: (718) 999-2000
Fire Fighters: 10,182
Commissioner: Salvatore Cassano

Career Page

The NY Fire Department is the nation's largest city fire agency and protects more than 8 million residents in all five boroughs covering an area of 320 square miles. The department is administered by the Fire Commissioner and is appointed by the Mayor.

The uniformed force is under the command of the Chief of Department and consists of 10,182 Fire Officers and fire fighters.

In addition, the Department includes 2,971 Emergency Medical Technicians, 100 Fire Marshalls, 350 Fire Inspectors, 445 Dispatchers, 380 Tradespersons and 688 Administrative, Management and Support Personnel.

The FDNY responded to 1.4 million ambulance runs and almost one million fire runs in 2012.

In 2012, FDNY said it had the fewest fatalities due to fires ever recorded.

The agency has been criticized for lack of diversity but is trying to recruit more minorities among its ranks. The Department’s aggressive recruitment campaign for the 2012 Firefighter exam yielded the most diverse group of applicants ever-- with people of color making up nearly half (45.7 percent) of the record 42,160 people who filed to take the test.


Organized fire fighting began in New York in 1648 when the first Fire Ordinance was adopted by the Dutch Settlement of New Amsterdam. Fines levied for dirty chimneys provided funds for the maintenance of buckets, hooks and ladders. It also established a fire watch of eight Wardens and required that each male citizen stand his turn on watch.

After the first Wardens were appointed, an organization known as the Prowlers was formed and furnished with buckets, hooks and ladders. Often called the rattle watch , they patrolled the streets on the lookout for fire from nine o'clock at night until dawn.

When the colonists were organized in 1658, bucket brigades were formed and equipped with 250 leather buckets made by Dutch shoemakers of the colony. Thus, our first inauspicious beginning was made. Seven years later, in 1664, the colony became a British settlement and was renamed New York.

It was not until 74 years later, in 1731, that fire brigades were put into service. Two hand-drawn pumpers, brought from distant London were the first fire engines to be used in the colony. They were designated as Engine Company 1 and Engine Company 2. All able bodied citizens were required to respond to alarms and perform duty under the supervision of the Aldermen.

Faced with the problem of a fast growing colony, the General Assembly established the volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York, in December of 1737. Able, discreet and sober men were appointed as firemen to be ready for service by night and day and be diligent, industrious and vigilant.

Following the Revolutionary War, the Department was reorganized and incorporated as the Fire Department of the City of New York.

The volunteer Fire Department continued to protect the lives and property of the citizens of the city until after the close of the Civil War when, in 1865, they were superseded by the paid Metropolitan Fire Department. The change created resentment and bitter actions were taken by some who opposed the elimination of the volunteers. This resulted in rough and tumble battles fought on both personal and political levels.

At the beginning, the paid fire service extended only to certain parts of New York City (Manhattan). The Act of 1865 united Brooklyn and New York (cities) to form a Metropolitan District. By the end of 1865 the department consisted of 13 Chief Officers and 552 Company Officers and firemen. They worked a continuous tour of duty, with 3 hours a day for meals and one day off a month. They were paid salaries according to their rank or grade. The first regulations were also formulated and they were fairly strict and straightlaced.

How to Apply

Every three to four years, the Department offers the opportunity for members of the public to apply to become a New York City Firefighter.

The Written Exam focuses on a number of topics that gauge a candidate’s ability to learn and perform the duties of a Firefighter, including reading comprehension, problem solving, spatial recognition and applying rules to general concepts. It does not require any pre-existing knowledge about firefighting or the Fire Department.

You will then be called to take the physical portion of the exam. It is a series of challenges designed to test ability in four categories of fitness that are crucial in firefighting.

Based on your performance on these two exams, your name will be put on a civil service list. You will be called based on your list number and need for Firefighters, which can take approximately two to four years.

Once your number is called, you will take a medical and psychological test, as well as receive a background investigation. Your eligibility requirements will also be checked at this time.

Requirements to Be Hired:

To apply to take the next New York City Firefighter Exam, you must:

* Be between the ages of 17 and a half and 29.

To be hired as a New York City Firefighter, you must:

* Pass both the written and physical exams;
* Pass a medical exam and background investigation;
* Be at least 21 years of age;
* Be a U.S. citizen;
* Have at least 15 college semester credits earned as a result of satisfactory completion of course work at a college or university accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education or full time military service with an honorable discharge; or 6 months of full time, satisfactory paid work experience;
* Hold a motor vehicle driver's license valid in New York State;
* Be a resident of one of the five boroughs of New York City, or live in Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk or Westchester County;
* Be a Certified First Responder with Defibrillation


* Lifelong medical coverage for you and your family;
* Growth opportunities;
* Flexible work schedules;
* Up to four weeks paid vacation per year;
* Generous pension after 20 years of service.

Firefighter Salary:




























Promotion Opportunities:









Battalion Chief




* Fringe benefits reflect overtime, holiday pay and other differentials

EMT Salary Information*

EMT Salary:


Starting Salary


After 1 Year


After 2 Years


After 3 Years


After 5 Years


Paramedic Salary Information*

Paramedic Salary:


Starting Salary


After 1 Year


After 2 Years


After 3 Years


After 5 Years


Benefits for FDNY EMS members include:

  • Choice of a wide variety of health plans with family and domestic partner coverage
  • Three weeks vacation to start (increases to five weeks after eight years);*
  • Excellent pension benefits which include five year pension vesting and full pension benefits after 25 years of service, regardless of age;
  • Shift differential, meal money and overtime;*
  • Excellent promotional opportunities;
  • Deferred compensation, 401K and flexible spending plans;
  • Veterans’ credits for those who meet the requirements.

*Base salary does not reflect overtime, shift differential, meal money and benefits. Salary and vacation provisions are subject to change pursuant to collective bargaining settlements.

Updated July 9, 2013

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