What does it take to become a Rockford firefighter?

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Fire Department is hiring new recruits.

Deangelo Bell was one of the older recruits, at 33-years-old. The cut off is 35.

“I was like, I don’t know. I woke up and did it,” he said. “I feel like studying and getting in the books is the best way to go about it, and obviously the physical aspect. You can’t just get out of bed and do this.”

Training to become a police officer lasts 14 weeks.

Rockford Fire Department recruiter Bo Chaney described the process: “The process starts out with the application. After the application, there’s a written test. After that written test, there’s a physical test. Those people that pass the written and physical, they get an oral interview, and after the oral interview, we comprise the list.”

Chaney says being a firefighter is more than just fighting fires.

“We do EMS, we have a dive team, where you can just specialize in diving and rescues. We have a technical rescue team that specializes in saving people from tornados. So, there’s other things within the fire service that nobody has any clue about, and I use that to try and recruit people,” Chaney said.

No matter what challenges he faces within the the first few weeks, Bell says it’s worth it.

“The best choice I ever made, for me. The best choice I made for my family. And now I can retire here and keep going,” he said.

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