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Becoming a Morgantown firefighter

Potential candidates for positions with the Morgantown Fire Department were given the opportunity to practice their agility skills during an open house Saturday afternoon at the Northside Fire Station on Van Voorhis Road.

MFD Capt. John Lemley said the department has 56 firefighters on staff, with three more starting Aug. 1.  The department would be fully staffed at 61, leaving at least two new members to be hired.

Lemley said the hiring process creates a list of candidates whose names could stay on the list for as long as three years.

The first part of the process, the agility test, includes six components — the stair climb, hose drag, equipment carry, forcible entry, search and rescue.  In order to pass, all elements of the test must be completed correctly in 7 minutes, 15 seconds or less. The test will be July 30.

Those who pass the agility test July 30 will be presented with a written test study guide by the Morgantown Fire Civil Service Commission (MFCSC), Lemley said.

Candidates must score a 70% or better on the written exam, which will be given Aug. 31.  After passing, the candidate will have an interview with MFCSC.

“New hires begin with a recruit class Monday through Friday for a period up to eight weeks long,” Lemley said.  “During this time the recruit attends classroom and hands-on training.” 

The captain said new hire classes include WV Firefighter I and WV Firefighter II training, as well as Hazardous Materials Operations and Emergency Medical Responder or First Aid/CPR.  Lemley said training may also include Rescue Core and Rope Rescue I. 

Once new hires complete recruit school, Lemley said, each member will be assigned to one of three duty crews working rotating 24-hour shifts.

According to Lemley, MFD shifts run from 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. and the three-week shift rotation is Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, then Thursday and Saturday, then Monday and Wednesday.

A typical workday at one of the three MFD firehouses begins with “a check of operability of radio communication equipment, personal protective gear and respiratory protection devices,” Lemley said.

“The vehicles are checked along with the associated fire, rescue and EMS equipment carried on each apparatus.  And each fire engine, ladder or small vehicle is washed as needed.”

Lemley said duties also include keeping the firehouse clean, swept and mopped, as well as cutting the grass on Saturdays.

“On Monday through Friday fire personnel may be receiving classroom or practical training, which is often continuing education but occasionally a new topic,” the captain explained. “We attend annual training for response to incidents involving aircraft at the Morgantown Municipal Airport.”

MFD firefighters also attend building familiarization tours, conduct measurements of buildings for fire service fee assessment and conduct annual service testing of the department’s fire hose inventory, Lemley said.

Firefighters are also encouraged to take time for physical training, as each of the three stations has a fitness area available for them to use.

MFD will be accepting applications until July 28.  Applications are available on the city’s website,, or may be picked up at the city clerk’s office, at 430 Spruce St. in Morgantown.

More information regarding additional applicant requirements can be found at

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