Pre-existing Medical/Background Problems when Applying to Become a Firefighter

03 September 2022
Capt. Bob Smith

Pre-Existing Medical/Background Problems when Applying to Become a Firefighter

If you have a pre-existing medical problem or a serious issue in your background, do yourself a favor and find out early if it will interfere with getting a firefighter job.

All to often I receive calls asking "What do I do now?" These candidates have spent time and money gaining education, experience and put their life's on hold trying to get this job; when they have an pre-existing medical problem or traceable background problem that would keep them badge less.

Situations like not just one but two DUI's. Knee surgery with scars. Back surgery that would show in an X-ray (yes, they are going to X-ray your back) and/or be part of your records with your doctor and insurance company.

Take the poison early. If you have the slightest concern for a medical problem, have the leading expert in this field of medicine (no, not your family doctor) evaluate your condition. If they feel you're fit for duty, have them give you a letter.

If you have a DUI, an arrest or other black mark on your record, see if it can be expunged (sealed). For other potential problems in your background, have a brief reasonable explanation of the situation.

You don't want to be like a candidate who called last week who had a pre-existing medical problem. They called him Friday for a medical Tuesday. Monday was a holiday. He had kept his head in the sand in denial when he knew the medical call was the next step. He didn't have many options prior to his medical.

The time to find out is now; before you're going for all the marbles.

When records are expunged, they are not sealed. The only way one can have his/her conviction(s) sealed is if the conviction(s) happened when that person was under the age of 18 when the conviction occurred. Even when the conviction is expunged, you still have to disclose the conviction; however, you need not disclose it if the application/form/packet specifically states expunged convictions need not be listed. Trust me, I have done a lot of research on this issue.

We would like to thank Capt Bob Smith for his article and insight.