1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Height Requirements, etc.

    I apologize for having to resort to posting my question, but I've done quite a few searches and have come up with very little. I'm positive the question has been beaten to death, I simply couldn't find a thread.

    Essentially I'm curious to know if my height is going to be a problem when attempting to become a firefighter. As it stands, I'm currently 20 years old and in college. I should graduate in about a year with my B.S. in Criminal Justice. I had initially wanted to go into law enforcement until I actually participated in it with ride-alongs, etc. It's simply not my cup of tea.

    Nonetheless, I'm currently 5'5 1/2" or so. I'm rather concerned that this will prohibit me from going anywhere I'd like to within the firefighting field. My father isn't much taller than me and is an industrial fire fighter, but I'd prefer to stay out of that type of work.

    Any information or even a link to an appropriate thread would be very appreciated! Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    LightsAndSirens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Madison, WI


    I've heard of vision and age requirements, but I haven't heard of a height requirement for any fire department. I'm definitely not an expert, but I was always under the assumption that if you could pass a department's physical, then you were physically qualified for the job. On the other hand, I did hear of a time in the 60's when a standard was set for deputy sheriffs to be at least 5' 8" tall and 145 lbs, so I guess height/weight requirements aren't unheard of in protective services.

    When I took a fire department physical about six months ago, there was part of an event where you had to take a 20 foot aluminum stepladder off the wall set at the same height as taking it off one of their engines and then put it back on the wall exactly the way it was found. I thought that it would be pretty hard for someone of smaller stature to do this event because it was set quite high, and that ladder was heavy. Someone of your height could do it, but it would require standing on your toes and having some serious shoulder strength. I know one person on that department who's your height, so it's certainly doable.

    I have to admit that I'm somewhat concerned about the same thing that you are. I know that not all career firefighters are humongous, but most of them do seem to be above average in size, and I'm just average in height and weight. Even though I passed a physical recently, I worry that when I get to an interview with the board, they will look at me and question whether they would would want me to save one of them if they were in a fire even though I'm in great shape.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2005


    I wouldn't worry about height. There is a guy working in my department who is about 5'2". He does just fine.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    OK, your post says you are 5' 5". We all know that people lie about their height and weight. So this means you're pushing 5'4" (sorry, I couldn't restist)


    I am a firm believer that it is the size of the fight in the man, not the size of the man in the fight that matters.

    Make sure you are in EXCELLENT physical condition. Since you are shorter than most, you will have difficulty with ladders. You do not have the height advantage to act as a fulcrum when throwing a ladder. You must compensate with strength.

    Good luck,
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area


    You want to make sure you’re in the best shape for the agility. Check out www.fireagility.com

    From last year:

    Rick started testing with his big N/W city dream department 19 months ago with 4500 other candidates. Things finally made it to the chiefs oral. He had all his ducks in a row. He heard after his oral that one of the panel members said if all the candidates today could be like Rick, we’re going to have a great day. The job offer came conditional on the medical and psych.

    The results for the final psych test were due out the following Monday and calls would be made. Monday came and went. Just hold tight and don’t panic. When he finally called he found out the HR gal had gone on a weeks vacation and the envelope was sitting on her desk. Several days passed after her return. Nothing. Everything imaginable went through Rick’s head. Rick and his wife experienced every symptom of stress.

    Out of the blue on the Thursday before Christmas the phone rings. He got the call! All fears disappeared followed by screams and shouting. Rick was number one by a bunch of points.

    Rick is five foot two inches and weighs 118 pounds!

    Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    I'm short as well. I'm 5'7". The only problem I've had is during that same text the LightsandSirens was talking about. I got it done, but it was difficult.

    Other problem is cleaning the engine or truck. haha Those things are so tall that you won't be able to clean very far. haha

    The only requirement I've seen is height and weight combination. I know on LA County's website their have requirements. This is directly from their site:

    5 ft. 5 in. 124 lbs. to 158 lbs.

    So it's really to check how healthy and in shape that you are. Not how tall. So you will be fine. Good luck.

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