East Chicago Fire Careers

Two Firefighters Holding Jaws of LifeThe information on this page is  provided by the City of East Chicago Fire Department (ECFD) and the ECFD Civil Service Commission. If you have any questions regarding the content of this page, please contact them at 219-391-8472.


Fire fighters are hired from a Civil Service list that is established from a written examination. Applications for the examination are accepted only in the years that the examination is actually held. The application period is generally in March and April. The examination is held on a Saturday in June. To find out if the City of East Chicago is offering the Fire Fighters examination this year and or the dates of the application period, contact the city Fire Civil Service Commission Department at 219-391-8472.

To take the Fire Fighter examination, you must be a high school graduate or possess a high school equivalency diploma (GED). There is no age requirement to take the examination, but you must be ate least 21 to be hired.

Elements of the Examination

The Fire Fighter examination is a written, multiple-choice examination. The most recent examinations have included questions about several related areas.

Mechanical Reasoning

The questions are accompanied by sketches or descriptions of mechanical devices, hand tools, dials or gauges: You are asked questions about how the devices work or the underlying mechanical principles involved in the devices’ operation. You may be required to recognize or know the use for, various tools or devices. You may be asked to read dials or gauges. The devices, tools and gauges pictured or described are commonly used and not limited to use in the fire service.

Understanding & Interpreting Graphs, Charts, Tables & Diagrams

Following written instructions: the questions test how well you can understand information presented in a graph or table. They also test how well you follow written directions. You are given graphs, charts, tables, diagrams, operating instructions for devices etc. You must find information on these graphs, charts, tables or diagrams or follow instructions for operating devices to answer the questions. All information required to answer a question is provided.

Solving Problems Involving Numbers

The questions require you to add, subtract, multiply, or divide numbers to solve problems that occur in fire service activities. In some questions, sketches of simple geometric figures might be shown or simple geometric terms might be used. Formulas or equations necessary to the answer questions are provided.

Understanding & Interpreting Written Material Pertaining to Fire

The questions test how well you understand written material. You are provided with reading selections and are asked to choose statements that correctly paraphrase, summarize or draw conclusions from the reading selection. Knowledge of firefighting is not required.

Examination Evaluation

Once the exams are graded, the Fire Civil Service Commission establishes a Fire Fighter list. Candidates are placed on the list in order of exam score, from highest to lowest. As people are hired from the list, lower-scoring candidates move up the list.

Positions are offered to the selected candidates, contingent upon their successful completion of the ECFD and Police Department background check, medical examination, pre-employment drug/alcohol test, and the physical performance assessments of each individual candidate.

Veterans, of military service having served over 180 days of active duty are granted an additional 10% of their passing score.

Other Assessments

The ECFD Pension Board conducts the Medical Examination and the Physical Performance Assessments.

Medical Examination

All prospective fire fighters are required to pass a job-related medical examination, which verifies that the candidate is medically able to perform the essential duties of a firefighter.

Drug / Alcohol Test

At this time, candidates will also be required to take pre-employment drug/alcohol test. In addition, random testing is conducted throughout the year, according to City of East Chicago Drug Policy.

Physical Performance Assessment

All prospective fire fighters are required to pass a Physical Performance Assessment (agility test) to demonstrate their ability to perform physical tasks that are commonly performed by fire fighters.

Probationary Period

All new firefighters are required to complete a yearlong probationary period during which they receive extensive training and evaluation, both in a classroom-setting, field setting and on the job.

Salary & Benefits


The current (2004) starting salary is $35,405 (for probationary firefighter). The salary increases in incremental steps over 4 years to a current (2004) maximum of $41,179 (for master firefighter over three complete years).


Benefits include:

  • 20-year retirement plan
  • Dental Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Optical Insurance
  • Vacation