Employment FAQ

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Hiring 1Q: When is your next hiring test?
A: PFA is not currently accepting test scores through National Testing Network. All candidates who are currently in the hiring process have been notified if they are moving forward to second round interviews. Please check back here for more information as we continue through our process.

Q: What is the WAQ (Work Attitude Questionnaire)?                                             

A: This is a test that measures general work attitudes related to integrity: devolved specifically for public safety environments. The WAQ is its own score and is unrelated to other test scores. This score will be combined with your FireTeam score to complete your final score. All applicants must complete the WAQ in addition to the FireTeam and PHQ to be considered for moving forward in the hiring process. If you have not completed your WAQ please contact NTN.   

Q: Where can I take the test local to Poudre Fire Authority?

A: Both Front Range Community College in Fort Collins and Aims Community College in Windsor are offering the test on a variety of dates. Check dates and select what works best for you on the NTN test site. 

Q: Where do I get an application specific for Poudre Fire Authority?

A: Poudre Fire Authority will send out a link for the PFA application to all applicants who are being invited to move forward in the process based on test scores. This will be sent via email in February 2019.

Q: How many calls does PFA run a year?
A: Our Department responded to 22,197 calls for service in 2017 within the authority's jurisdiction. This includes both emergent and non-emergent responses. PFA’s call volume broke down as follows: 1,401 False Alarms; 362 Fire and Explosions; 550 Hazardous Conditions – no fire; 1,148 service calls; 4,152 Good Intent/Service Call; 14,535 Rescue/EMS; 49 Severe Weather/Natural Disaster/Special Incidents. EMS accounted for approximately 65.5% of our total call volume.

Q: What is a fire "authority"?
A: Poudre Fire Authority was created in 1981, through the consolidation of the City of Fort Collins Fire Department and the Poudre Valley Fire Protection District. Poudre Fire Authority provides fire, rescue and EMS services within its authority jurisdiction, which includes Fort Collins and, outside of the city, parts of Larimer and Weld counties. The Fire Chief works with the authority board of directors, which is composed of several members of the Fort Collins City Council and the Fire District Board of Directors. Funding for the department is provided by the City and District through a tax and revenue formula.

Q: I'm already an engineer on the fire department where I currently work. If I'm hired at PFA, may I take PFA's engineer test after my first year?
A: No. Current policy allows firefighters to become an acting driver/operator after two years on the department, and you may take the test for driver/operator certification after three years on the job.

Q: Do you accept lateral transfers?
A: PFA currently does not allow lateral transfers for uniformed personnel.

Q: Do you have firefighter/paramedics?
A:Yes, we have a small, but growing number of paramedics.  Currently, PFA provides BLS EMS service and contracts with a private ambulance company to provide ALS and transport.  PFA’s newly formed EMS Battalion is charged with advancing PFA EMS service delivery as well as managing the ambulance contract for the Northern Colorado Emergency Response Area. 

Q: How many fire stations do you have?
A: PFA operates eleven stations staffed by career/professional firefighters, and two stations staffed by volunteer firefighters.

Hiring 10Q: How many new stations do you plan to build?
A: Station 8 is our latest station to transition from a volunteer station to a career station. The new Station 8 was completed in 2016, and is located on Harmony Rd, east of I-25. Station 14, which opened in 2005, and Station 12, which began operation in 1998, are the newest fire stations. Plans for the future include an extensive remodel of Station 7, and we are in the initial phases of planning Station 15. 

Q: How many people will you hire from an eligibility list?
A: This is always an unknown number. Due to growth and retirements, an exact number cannot be determined for each hiring process.

Q: Does your testing process include a polygraph test?
A: No, PFA does not require a polygraph for pre-employment testing.

Q: What is the starting salary?
A: The base salary for introductory firefighter in 2018 is $55,094, excluding overtime and holiday pay. The firefighter salary for 2018 after the introductory year is $75,010, going up to $81,562 after year three.

Q: Is there an age limit to apply for the hiring process?
A: Poudre Fire Authority requires all applicants to be at least 18 years.

Q: What are the hiring interviews like?
A: Poudre Fire Authority considers the candidate interviews to be the strengths of its hiring process. For an applicant who makes it through the entire testing process, there will be two interviews: the panel interview and the oral-resume interview. If the candidate makes the final list, they will go through an Administrative Interview with the chiefs for final employment. During the panel interview, candidates are asked approximately five questions by a group of 3-5 PFA firefighters, driver/operators and captains. The session lasts 20-30 minutes. During the oral-resume interview, applicants have about five minutes to give a presentation about themselves. They are then asked about five questions by a panel of 3-5 PFA firefighters, driver/operators and captains, and the interview lasts 20-30 minutes. The Administrative Interview is the final interview, which determines whether a candidate receives a job offer. Several PFA Chief Officers interview the final candidates, then make a conditional job offer based upon performance in the interviews.

Q: Does PFA give extra points for military experience, paramedic certification, volunteer/career firefighting experience, or being female or another minority?
A: The PFA hiring process is designed to provide each candidate with an equal opportunity to be selected. Therefore, all candidates are considered equal and no preference points are given.

Q: How long is the probationary period?
A: In most instances, one year from date of hire.Hiring 7a

Q: How large is your response area?
A: About 235 square miles. The size and diversity of our district lends itself to a variety of emergencies: residential fires, commercial fires, high-rise fires, urban/interface fires, medical and other emergencies at Colorado State University, water rescue, and high-speed motor-vehicle accidents on an interstate highway (Interstate highways including I-25) and several U.S. and state highways. The PFA protects the City of Fort Collins, Timnath, LaPorte, Bellvue, and surrounding non-incorporated Larimer County areas. We protect approximately 189,000 residents.

Q: What is your physical ability test like?
A: PFA uses the Candidate Physical Ability Test, a product of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. For more information on the CPAT, check out the CPAT section on the PFA web site.

Q: How do I get an EMT-B certificate? Do you only accept EMT-B certificates?
A: We require all candidates to have a current Colorado EMT-B certification by the Administrative interviews. We do accept higher EMT certifications, but only operate at the EMT-B level. If you currently have a National Registry EMT-B certification with another state you will need to go through the Colorado Department of Health, Division of Emergency Services for your Colorado certificate. Information can be found here. If you do not have an EMT-B there are multiple locations around the country that provide EMT courses. Normally these courses are 12 credits, and can be completed in one semester at an accredited college or community college. Further information on the National Registry can be found here

Q: Does PFA offer Video Interviews?
A: The option to have a video interview in place of the first round panel interview is being offered to individuals who can justify a hardship in committing to a panel interview in Fort Collins, Colorado. This includes active military, financial hardship related to travels of distances over 350 miles. Video interviews will be available on a case-by-case basis. The Video Interview Application must be filled out completely in order to be considered for a video interview.

HIring 5Q: Can candidates do ride-alongs?
A: At the time a new hire/testing process is announced all potential candidate will be suspended from rides until the eligibility list is finalized. Once the list is established all candidates on it can participate in ride-alongs up until they are invited to an administrative interview.  Per PFA policy EMT students and current PFA volunteers are exempt. 



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