Process of becoming a firefighter (after submitting an application):

Written Test: A written test will be administered every other year to all accepted applicants. This test may include understanding oral information, reading comprehension, analyzing data, mechanical aptitude, true/false, and multiple-choice questions.

Physical Ability Test: A state certified CPAT card and ladder climb must be valid at time of application and hire.

After the written test a list of candidates will be put together based on the final score and any applicable preference points (see preference points). When a position becomes available the following series of tests will be administered that you must pass prior to offer of employment.

Background Investigation: A thorough background investigation by the Belvidere Police Department will be compiled and a report will be given to the Fire Chief.

Reference Check: At the time of the Background Check the Fire Chief will also do a reference check.

Oral Interview: The candidate will be interviewed by the Fire Chief and the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners.

Polygraph/Physiological: A certified polygraph and physiological exam will be given and reported to the Fire Chief.

Medical Screening: A medical examination, including a physical and drug screening.


Age: At least 21 years of age and not past 35th birthday prior to closing of application period.

Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen prior to closing of application period.

Education: Must have a high school diploma or G.E.D. before application

Driver’s License: Must have a valid Illinois driver’s license by hire and able to obtain a Class B Non-CDL by conclusion of probation.

Vision: Must be correctable to 20/40.

Arrest Record: Must not have any felony convictions or have been convicted of certain misdemeanors.

Our Mission

To serve our community by providing emergency rescue and fire protection services that exceed expectations; to be there for the community at their greatest time of need.

We are… dedicated to the saving of lives, the protection of property and the prevention of fire.

The Belvidere Fire Department has been serving the City of Belvidere since 1886. We protect a population of 25,585 people in an area of 13 sq. miles. In 2022 the Department responded to 3,195 calls for service.

The Department maintains a full-time staff of 42 members. The staff includes the Chief, an Administrative Assistant, three Captains, three Lieutenants and 21 Firefighters/Paramedics, an Inspector and the Ambulance Crew that consists of: six Paramedics and six EMT’s.

The Belvidere Fire Department operates from three stations to provide effective coverage throughout the city. We have three engines, one ladder, one utility truck, one dive truck, two command vehicles, two ambulances a UTV, a Zodiac Boat & a Jet Ski.

Candidate Physical Ability Test

The CPAT is acknowledged as a reliable indicator of an individual’s ability to complete essential job tasks. The test requires candidates to engage in the following activities:

  • Stair Climb
  • Hose Drag
  • Equipment Carry
  • Ladder Raise and Extension
  • Forcible Entry
  • Search
  • Rescue
  • Ceiling Breach and Pull

All these exercises must be completed in under 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Candidates will be wearing a 50 lb. weight vest, hard hat and gloves throughout the test.

Preference Points

  • Internship
  • Resident of Boone County
  • Experience
  • Paramedic Certification
  • Military Experience
  • Associates in Fire Science
  • Bachelors in any field
  • Assignment to Department ambulance

After you are hired

After you are hired you will be sworn in as a firefighter. You will be issued all the needed equipment for station wear and emergency response. If you are not already a certified firefighter, you will begin your career at an approved fire academy where you will learn all the skills needed to be a firefighter in the state of Illinois. Upon graduation you will work a 24 hour on / 48 hour off schedule on one of three shifts. You will be assigned a mentor who will guide you throughout your 12-month probationary period.

Upon completion of probation, and successful passing of the basic job performance standards of the Belvidere Fire Department, you will be enrolled in a state certified paramedic school where you will learn the skills to provide lifesaving care on an ALS engine company.

Throughout your career with the City of Belvidere you will be provided with benefits such as:

  • Paid Training
  • Competitive Salary
  • Health/Vision/Dental Insurance
  • Paid Vacation
  • Specialized Training
  • Promotional Opportunities
  • Pension

How do I Physically Prepare for the CPAT?

The CPAT Test is an extremely physically demanding assessment. It is the first look at what it will be like to be a firefighter. You should follow an intense workout regimen at least 3 weeks before the test.

Official rules require that you attend 2 CPAT orientations and 2 practice tests prior to the actual test.

The CPAT Events

Stair Climb

The purpose of this event is to simulate the critical tasks of climbing stairs in full protective clothing while carrying a high-rise pack (hose bundle) and climbing stairs in full protective clothing carrying fire fighter equipment.

During this event, you will be required to wear two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights on the shoulders to simulate the weight of a high-rise pack (hose bundle). Prior to the initiation of the timed CPAT, you will have a 20- second warm-up on the StepMill at a set stepping rate of 50 steps per minute. There is no break in time between the warm-up period and the actual timing of the test. The timing of the test begins at the end of this warm-up period when the proctor calls out “START.”

For the test, you are required to walk on the StepMill at a set stepping rate of 60 steps per minute for 3 minutes. This concludes the event. The two 12.5-pound (5.67-kg) weights are removed from your shoulders. You will then walk to the next event.

Hose Drag

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of dragging an uncharged hoseline from the fire apparatus to the fire occupancy and pulling an uncharged hoseline around obstacles while remaining stationary.

You will need to grasp an automatic nozzle attached to 200 feet of a 1 3/4-inch hose. You will place the hoseline over your shoulder or across your chest, not exceeding the 8-foot mark. You are permitted to run during the hose drag. You will drag the hose 75 feet to a prepositioned drum, make a 90° turn around the drum, and continue an additional 25 feet. Then stop within the marked 5-foot x 7-foot box, drop to at least one knee, and pull the hoseline until the its 50-foot mark is across the finish line.

During the hose pull, you must keep at least one knee in contact with the ground and knees must remain within the marked boundary lines. This concludes the event. You then walk to the next event.

Equipment Carry

This event will simulate the critical tasks of removing power tools from a fire apparatus, carrying them to the emergency scene and returning the equipment to the fire apparatus.

You will need to remove the two saws from the tool cabinet, one at a time, and place them on the ground. You will then pick up both saws, one in each hand, and carry them while walking 75 feet around the drum, then back to the starting point.

You are permitted to place the saw on the ground and adjust the grip. Upon return to the tool cabinet, you will place both saws on the ground, then pick up each saw one at a time, and replace the saw in the designated space in the cabinet. This concludes this event.

Ladder Raise and Extension

The purpose of this event is to simulate the critical tasks of placing a ground ladder at a fire structure and extending the ladder to the roof or window.

During this event, you will walk to the top rung of the 24-foot aluminum extension ladder, lift the first rung at the unhinged end from the ground, and walk it up until it is stationary against the wall. This must be done in a hand over hand fashion, using each rung until the ladder is stationary against the wall. You must not use the ladder rails to raise the ladder.

You will immediately proceed to the pre-positioned and secured 24-foot aluminum extension ladder, stand with both feet within the marked box of 36 inches x 36 inches and extend the fly section hand over hand until it hits the stop. You then lower the fly section hand over hand in a controlled fashion to the starting position. You will then walk to the next event.

Forcible Entry

This event is designed to simulate the critical tasks of using force to open a locked door or to breach a wall.

You will use a 10-pound sledgehammer and strike the measuring device in the target area until the buzzer signal is activated. Your feet must remain outside the toe-box. After the buzzer is activated, you will need to place the sledgehammer on the ground.


This event will simulate the critical task of searching for a fire victim with limited visibility in an unpredictable area.

During this event, you will need to crawl on your hands and knees through a tunnel maze that is approximately 3 feet high, 4 feet wide and 64 feet in length with two 90° turns.

At a number of locations in the tunnel, you will navigate around, over and under obstacles. In addition, at two locations, you will crawl through a narrowed space where the dimensions of the tunnel are reduced. The movement is monitored as you advance through the maze. Upon exit from the maze, the event is concluded.


The purpose of this event is to simulate the critical task of removing a victim or injured partner from a fire scene.

Now you will grasp a 165-pound mannequin by the handles on the shoulders of the harness, drag it 35 feet to a pre-positioned drum, make a 180° turn around the drum, and continue an additional 35 feet to the finish line.

You will not be permitted to grasp or rest on the drum. It is permissible for the mannequin to touch the drum. You are permitted to lower the mannequin to the ground to adjust your grip. The entire mannequin must be dragged past the marked finish line. You will then walk to the next event.

Ceiling Breach and Pull

This event is designed to simulate the critical task of breaching and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire extension.

You will remove the pike pole from the bracket, stand within the boundary established by the equipment frame, and place the tip of the pole on the painted area of the hinged door in the ceiling. You will fully push up the 60-lb hinged door in the ceiling with the pike pole three times. You will then hook the pike pole to the 80-lb ceiling device and pull the pole down five times.

Each set consists of three pushes and five pulls. You will repeat the set four times. You are permitted to stop and, if needed, adjust the grip. If you do not successfully complete a repetition, the proctor calls out “MISS” and you must push or pull the apparatus again to complete the repetition.

The event and the total test time end when you complete the final pull stroke repetition as indicated by the proctor who calls out “TIME”.