From The Mayor's Desk ...
I always say that being mayor of New York is the best job in the world - but, as every kid will tell you, there's no profession any more exciting and appealing than being a firefighter. It offers the chance to help protect your neighbors, and earn the respect and admiration of millions. And just as important to adults are some of the FDNY's other great benefits - like flexible work schedules, health coverage for life, and the option to retire after 20 years with a pension.
So, I know what you may be thinking: "How can I sign up?" Well, fortunately, the time is now. And since the exam that determines department hiring takes place only once every four years, you don't want to miss out. Sign up before October 13th - and you too might become one of our city's Bravest.
In fact, we've revised the requirements you need to take the test to attract more applicants. Anyone between the ages of 17 and 29 with a high school diploma can register for the exam. Previously, 30 hours of college credits were required; now applicants must have either fifteen college credits, or at least six months of military service, or at least six months of full-time work experience.
Let me stress that this is not a reduction in standards. Far from it. Applicants will still have to take the same rigorous physical and written test as they have in the past. And we will continue to select only those who achieve the highest scores. We are also lengthening and intensifying the training period that recruits must complete at the Fire Academy. But because we've now changed the requirements to apply, we should have a bigger pool to choose from, which will offer up stronger and more diverse candidates.
Recently, we've made a lot of progress in building a fire department that better reflects the diversity of our city's population. Over the past five years, the FDNY has hired twice as many minorities as during the entire previous decade, which has tripled the number of minority firefighters. But we still have a long way to go.
That's why we're making a special effort to ensure that the upcoming exam is an opportunity available to as many New Yorkers as possible. We have, for instance, beefed up the FDNY's recruitment unit so that it now conducts outreach year-round. We are offering free tutorials and physical training programs to help applicants prepare for both parts of the test. We've also teamed up with the Arnell Group on a multi-language ad campaign that's targeting communities that haven't traditionally been well-represented in the Fire Department.
As I said before, anyone interested in taking the test, which will be held in January, can apply up until October 13th. Call 311 or visit the FDNY's website at nyc.gov for information about the test and how the best job in the world also has the best benefits in the world.
Over the past 140 years, thousands of heroes have served the FDNY. Now we're building a fire department for the 21st Century - one that continues to be brave, skilled, and highly dedicated, but also one that more fully represents the great city it's charged with protecting. That might include your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister, or maybe, just possibly - you.