I talked to Aja Farris at Fam Jam 2019.
Why did you become a firefighter?
I work in the recruitment department. I am one of the first people that touch the youth and people who are looking for a career. I am a pivotal point in peoples, lives because they are trying to figure out where their passion lies. To be able to touch the youth that look like me (of color) is important to me, because I want them to realize it is an opportunity for everyone.
How long have you been serving?
It will be nine years in September that I have been a Columbus Fire Fighter, EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), fire inspector, recruiter, and assisting with the board that interviews potential new hires. It changed my life to be looked at as a hero and to know the efforts I make in the community is changing someone’s life is priceless.
What is the criteria?
You need to be at least 17.5 years old at the time of application. You have to be at least 18 years at the time of hire or the conditional hire. You need to be a US citizen, not have any felonies, have a valid drivers license, and a high school diploma or GED. All requirements are listed on our website, www.columbus.gov/civilservice click on fire exams, then fire fighter.
We want you to reach out to us. If you have any general questions about what we do, our phone number is 614-645-6387. We have an opportunity where you can do ride alongs and you can view the recruits going through their daily routine. It is important to keep your nose clean, make good decisions, and know that every decision will affect your now as well as your future. We can schedule you at one of our fire houses or bring one of our trucks to your events.
What is the pay?
We will pay you about $60,00/year to attend the training academy, which is about 8 months long. Going into your 5th year, you are going to make around $90,000 /year.
We work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. That ends up being about 115 days a year. It is pretty cool to have that much time off to spend with your family and friends.
When you are scheduled to work and there isn’t a fire, what do you do?
You are supposed to be training, studying, hands on with the truck, chores around the house, community service, and public outreach.