Conn. city FD joins state consortium to streamline hiring
The Connecticut Firefighter Testing Consortium is designed to lower hiring costs and provide agencies with a wider pool of candidates
The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.
NORWALK, Conn. — A new firefighter consortium is expected to streamline the hiring process and drastically reduce costs.
Norwalk Fire Chief Gino Gatto announced Tuesday the department will join at least 15 other fire agencies in the state in what they are calling the Connecticut Firefighter Testing Consortium.
The idea behind the consortium, Gatto said, is to introduce a more diverse pool of candidates while minimizing costs for everyone.
The Norwalk Fire Department — like most others in the state — previously required applicants to take a city-specific firefighting exam. The process has caused applicants to take exams for each department, leading to additional costs for the municipalities and the candidates.
Under the new agreement, however, aspiring entry-level firefighters can now take one test and the results will be shared with all departments in the consortium. Participating departments include East Hartford, North Haven, West Haven, Wilton, Westport, Fairfield, New Canaan and more.
“Running our firefighter test has been successful in the past, but the state consortium offers us a no-cost opportunity to increase the applicant pool for the department,” Gatto said. “This is a great opportunity not only for our department, but for residents who are looking to begin a career as a firefighter in Connecticut.”
In the past, Norwalk has spent as much as $110,000 per year on its own entry-level firefighter exams. By joining the consortium, the city will not have any costs associated with the exams.
The applicants could save money as well. Applicants previously paid as much as $125 per exam for each department they were seeking a position. There will now only be a one-time, non-refundable fee of $145 for those interested.
Mayor Harry Rilling called the new agreement a “win-win” for the city.
“Our fire department will be given a larger list of potential entry-level firefighters from which to choose, and our residents will be able to take just one test, and be seen by more than a dozen departments for a single low-fee,” Rilling said. “This is great news.”
The Norwalk Fire Department is looking to hire as many as 12 people in 2020, Gatto said. The only requirements are a high school diploma (or GED), a valid driver’s license and Candidate Physical Abilities Test certificate. Familiarity with the city’s terrain is an added bonus, Gatto said.
The application for the consortium-wide exam can be found online. The application will remain open until Feb. 12.
The written exam will be administered in March. Multiple testing sessions will be offered throughout the state. Applicants who complete the written exam will be asked to do oral interviews in April.
©2019 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)