15 Reasons Why Firefighter Recruits, Rookies Get Terminated

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you are released during the recruit academy. But why?

4. Background check reveals more information after hiring - When you complete a job application as well as a background packet, there is usually a spot at the bottom where you have to sign it and date it. Most applications and background packets also have wording to the effect of "any falsifications or misrepresentations are grounds for not getting hired and/or termination once you are on the job." Be honest!

5. Unable / unwilling to follow orders or follow the chain of command - This isn't rocket science. The fire service is still a paramilitary organization and will probably continue being one for many years to come. Get used to it and make the best of it. You might not think of your Captain giving you an order when you are asked to clean the bathrooms, but in reality it is. One of the things that really frustrates me is when I ask a firefighter to do something (which doesn't have to be done at this moment, just by the time we get off duty in the morning) and I either have to ask them to do it a second time or I find out the next shift through some other means that the request was never followed through. Do your job; it isn't that difficult! Don't make your Captain feel like they are a babysitter.

6. On duty and off duty personal conduct (including Alcohol and Drug usage, Arrest and/or convictions) - I know of a recruit that had just finished his academy midterm and went out drinking with some classmates. He didn't make it home that night because he had the privilege of spending the night in the county jail after getting pulled over for driving under the influence. He didn't make it back to finish the academy either because the department decided they were going to cut their losses and let him go. Even if the person was off of probation, his job still might have been in jeopardy. Many people forget that most fire departments require all members to always have in their possession a current driver's license.

If you get your driver's license suspended, you run the risk of termination or loss of pay (depending on the memorandum of understanding/agreement and/or the department rules and regulations). Also, if you get arrested, and you cannot make your scheduled work day, most departments will consider it to be abandoning your job - something else that is grounds for termination. Remember that you can't hide getting a D.U.I. (or other traffic related violations) because most departments participate in the DMV pull system which means the department will be notified of any traffic related incidents you are involved in.

7. Poor academic performance in the academy - Most academies require a recruit to keep an 80% average on the written examinations that are administered almost daily and to pass the final written examination with a score of at least 80%. Many candidates say "I don't do well on written tests, but I do great at the physical hands-on stuff." Well, that might be fine and dandy, but if that is the excuse that you are using because you don't do well on written examinations, you need to find a way to increase your scores! As a firefighter, you will be taking written examinations throughout your career (promotional examinations, EMT continuing education, annual training classes / mandates, etc.) so you better do what you have to do to get better at them.