You Want A Job As A Firefighter/EMT? – UPDATE

Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue


The Town of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, has opened up the floodgates for anyone interested in applying for the position of firefighter.  I have worked for this agency since it was created from the merger of three other emergency providers in 1993, but I also worked for all three of those other agencies at one point or another since 1982.  I have stuck with this team for so long and continue to do so for at least one main reason: Because Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue’s leadership and personnel are committed to a vision of excellence and service and prove it regularly.

We have seven stations serving a world-class beach resort community with all-hazards emergency response.  Since 2008 we have completely replaced our entire fleet of 10 engines and in two months we will have completely replaced our fleet of 10 ambulances.  Our tillered aerial is also scheduled for upgrades within this budget year and the other TDA in the next five.

Everyone on the line is required to be cross-trained and certified.  By the first year, all newly hired firefighter/EMTs must carry at least an IFSAC or ProBoard Firefighter II credential and a National Registry EMT Basic credential.   Within your first year, a stack of other required credentials will quickly accumulate from the classes we send you to if you are hired and don’t have that training.  But that’s just the beginning of a long career in which education is encouraged.

Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue supports earning a college degree if you don’t yet have one, and more than a few personnel have gone on to graduate with degrees through the Town’s tuition reimbursement program. In addition to the number of personnel who regularly attend the National Fire Academy, our organization also boasts its share of Executive Fire Officer graduates.  HHIFR is well represented by a number of personnel who write, teach and consult on the national and international issues in emergency services.  We have representatives on NFPA and IAFC committees, national and state training committees, and serving as instructors of the South Carolina Fire Academy.  In fact, all line officers are required to maintain an instructor credential with the South Carolina Fire Academy in addition to a number of other certifications.

If you truly believe that our mission is to prevent disaster first, we are the department you want to be affiliated with.  Our building and fire codes are some of the strongest in the region and they are enforced by our excellent Fire Marshal’s Bureau as well as the Town’s Building and Codes Enforcement teams.  A great number of occupancies on the Island are protected by fire sprinklers and equipped with monitored alarm systems.  We have a very proactive outreach to youth through participation in school education programs.  Our personnel teach regular CPR and first aid courses to the public, and we had one of the first community-wide AED programs in the nation.  Disaster planning and management is conducted by the Town’s own Emergency Management staff, located in our Headquarters and working hand-in-hand with the rest of the team.  If all else fails and disaster does strike on the Island, citizens and visitors call our own enhanced 9-1-1 communications center, operated by public safety communicators who are also part of the HHIFR family.

Our CFAI-accredited department runs advanced life support ambulances along with our engine companies and we not only respond, but we transport as well.  Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue co-hosts (with our brothers at Bluffton Township Fire District)  one of five recognized US&R Regional Response Teams in the South Carolina US&R Program as well as the regional HAZMAT Emergency Response Team, with responsibilities as part of the state-wide counter-terrorism response plan.  We have a brand-new training facility with a tower and propane props, our own fleet maintenance facility, and are in the process of rebuilding our fifth station out of seven, with the remaining two scheduled for demolition and re-construction in the next three to five years.

Hilton Head Island is a unique place to live and work.  While the United States Census lists Hilton Head Island with a population of 48,000, the average daily population exceeds 100,000 when you add in visitors, workers, day-trippers, and at peak can be up to 275,000.  The residents of the Island are very particular about their level of expectations. There are many CEOs, managers, military leaders, and retired executives who call Hilton Head Island home, as well as native Islanders, young families, and immigrants.  We have to serve all of them with a very high standard of care, no matter what their emergency is.  It is what we expect from our personnel, 24/7.

I have passed on more than a few opportunities when after reflection, I realize how good it is here and how much I enjoy it here.  We have amazing personnel working with us and we have a very supportive community to work in.  If you would like an opportunity to work with this team, please check out the links I have embedded in this post to learn more about us and our community, and take the time to apply.  As a parting note: While sharing this information via my blog does not qualify me for a referral bonus (I have to actually KNOW you), I’d rather that if given the opportunity, you mention that you found this process through the Firehouse Zen site.  My request is simply to illustrate the power of networking through this type of media.

Good luck! And click here if you haven’t already for the application site!


  • GA_Firelady says:

    I haven’t been keeping up with reading everyone’s blogs lately, so excuse me for being late in responding to this. Ironic thing is just 2 hours ago I skimmed google for places hiring firefighters and saw the posting for this.

    As much as I gripe about my department sometimes, I don’t know if I could actually bring myself to leave it. I do, however, wish HHI the best in filling their vacancies.

  • K Nelson says:

    I also just read this blog, honestly for the first time. I just moved to SC from Ohio to work a county service that is fairly large north of Hilton Head and honestly had I not gotten hired recently and would require another quick move I would love to test for such a great department.

    At 24 I still have time to settle out on where I will end in life and maybe someday I will test at HHI, but I also feel the same way as GA firelady. I hope that HHI will find the best candidates to fill the spots especially with the influx from the north the Carolinas is seeing recently of Firemedics like myself.

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