NY City Fire Department

Headquarters: 9 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Main Switchboard: (718) 999-2000
Fire Fighters: 10,951
Commissioner: Daniel Nigro
Website: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/index.page

Career Page

The NY Fire Department is the nation's largest fire department 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 Fire Department is made up of fire fighters, emergency medical services, dispatchers, fire protection inspectors and civilian employees.

The Department’s main goal is to provide fire protection and other critical public safety services to residents and visitors in the five boroughs. The Department also works to continually educate the public in fire, life safety and disaster preparedness, along with enforcing public safety codes.

To be a NYC firefighter, you must live in one of the five boroughs; Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, or one of these New York counties: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Nassau, or Suffolk County.

Commissioner Daniel Nigro announced he will retire effective February 16, 2022.



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 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:

You can start the process of becoming an FDNY Firefighter as early as 17 1/2 years of age. You should not reach your 29th birthday by the beginning of the application process. However, there are exceptions to this rule:

  • If you are on the Special Military list for the Firefighter Exam, you cannot turn 36-year old by the beginning of the current application period to be eligible to take the exam.
  • If you were on active military duty, you can subtract up the amount of time you spent on duty from your actual age. The maximum you can subtract is 6 years. This rule is defined in Section 243 of New York State Military Law.

If you meet requirements above, you must:

  • Pass both the computer-based test and physical ability test.
  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of appointment.
  • Be at least 21 years of age by time of appointment.
  • Be able to prove your identity and the right to obtain employment in the United States under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
  • Pass medical and psychological tests, as well as a drug screening.
  • Demonstrate proof of good character and pass a background investigation.
  • Be able to understand and be understood in English.
  • Hold a valid New York State motor vehicle driver’s license.
  • Be a resident of one of the five boroughs of New York City or live in Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk or Westchester County.

Education/Military/Work Experience Eligibility

  • By the date of appointment, have a four-year high school diploma or its educational equivalent.
  • Have at least 15 college semester credits earned at an accredited college or university.
  • OR, for applicants with a military service background, must have full-time military service with an honorable discharge.
  • OR, six months of full-time, satisfactory, paid work experience.

Other Requirements

In addition, you will be required to be a Certified First Responder with Defibrillation Certificate (CFR-D) by the end of your probationary period. FDNY provides a CFR-D training program during the probationary Firefighter training course. Once the training course is successfully completed and you receive your certificate, $30 per pay period will be deducted until the total cost of the training course is covered. Those who fail to obtain a CFR-D by the end of the probation period will be terminated.


  • Lifelong medical coverage for you and your family
  • Growth opportunities
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Up to four weeks paid vacation per year
  • Generous pension

Firefighter Salary Guide

Number of Years Base Fringe Total
Starting Salary $43,904 $1,292 $45,196
After 1 Year $46,066 $9,035 $55,101
After 2 Years $50,173 $9,468 $59,641
After 3 Years $55,192 $10,075 $65,267
After 4 Years $60,837 $10,667 $71,504
After 5 Years $85,292 $25,631 $110,293

Firefighter Salary Guide for Promotional Opportunities

Rank Base Fringe Total
Lieutenant $94,300 $31,548 $125,848
Captain $108,244 $40,919 $149,163
Battalion Chief $140,945 $20,336


Benefits for EMS Workers

FDNY EMS members receive a generous benefits package and a competitive salary.

  • Over 20 different health plans with family and domestic partner
  • Overtime, shift differential and meal money
  • Five-year pension vesting with full pension benefits after 25 years of service, deferred compensation and 401K plans available
  • Excellent promotional opportunities
  • Veterans’ credits for those who meet the requirements

*Base salary does not include overtime and other benefits. Salary and vacation time are subject to change.

EMT Salary Information:

Number of Years Salary
Starting Salary $39,386 – $47,016
After 1 Year $41,616 – $47,828
After 2 Years $42,357 – $61,580
After 3 Years $49,047 – $74,402
After 5 Years $59,534 – $76,472

EMS Trainee Salary Information:

Number of Years Salary
Starting Salary $36,330
After 3 Months $39,386 – $47,016
After 1 Year $41,616 – $47,828
After 2 Years $42,357 – $61,580
After 3 Years $49,047 – $74,402
After 5 Years $59,534 – $76,472

Paramedic Salary Information:

Number of Years Salary
Starting Salary $53,891 – $60,796
After 1 Year $59,363 – $66,463
After 2 Years $61,783 – $69,395
After 3 Years $68,155 – $82,850
After 5 Years $75,872 – $92,635