Ohio FD considers changing age requirements for new hires

Currently, candidates must be no younger than 21 and no older than 31 to join the Middleburg Heights Fire Department as a firefighter-paramedic


Beth Mlady
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — The Middleburg Heights Civil Service Commission is considering the possibility of changing the city’s age requirements when hiring firefighter/paramedics.

Fire Chief Briant Galgas told the commission at its July 20 meeting that he was “really just throwing (the idea) out there.” Applicants seeking a position in Middleburg Heights currently must be at least 21 years old, and no older than 31.

The Middleburg Heights Fire Department is considering lowering the minimum age for new firefighter-paramedics from 21 to 18 and raising the maximum age from 31 to 35. (Photo/Middleburg Heights Fire Department Facebook)
The Middleburg Heights Fire Department is considering lowering the minimum age for new firefighter-paramedics from 21 to 18 and raising the maximum age from 31 to 35. (Photo/Middleburg Heights Fire Department Facebook)

The ensuing discussion explored the idea of lowering the minimum age to 18 and possibly raising the maximum age to 35.

Fire Department Lt. Dale Higginbotham indicated in a June 24 memo to the chief the objective in lowering the minimum age is "to increase the pool of experienced candidates who will take the entrance exam."

"This will also help to ensure that the candidates are physically able to perform the duties of firefighter/paramedic during the length of their career," Higginbotham said.

Galgas acknowledged he has more research to do with local paramedic programs to see what their graduate populations look like and when their students generally take the civil service exam.

“I’m wondering if maybe having an annual (civil service) test, as opposed to waiting two years, would encourage the guys that are just getting ready to graduate, that are truly thinking about their career now, to sign up for the test,” Galgas said, adding applicants who make it on the Civil Service Commission’s candidate list often “get snatched up or are going somewhere else” in the year after they take the exam.

Commission Chairman Bernie Benedict said offering the test annually would be expensive for the city and could be "kind of redundant."

The commission decided to continue the discussion at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 18.

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©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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