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The Los Alamos County Fire Department (LAFD) is one of the largest career fire departments in the State of New Mexico and operates in the smallest county in New Mexico at 109 square miles. LAFD was originally organized under the Manhattan Project in April 1943 and initially served the community with 7 civilian firefighters and 25 volunteer firefighters. Military services took over operations in September of that year and provided fire protection until 1989 when governance was transferred from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Atomic Energy Commission to the Incorporated County of Los Alamos (LAC). The department provides fire suppression, emergency medical services, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, aviation rescue, fire prevention, fire investigation, code enforcement, public education, and domestic preparedness planning and response. LAFD provides these services with a career staff of 150 personnel (140 uniformed/10 civilian) and operates out of 5 stations. The LAFD is internationally accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (Center for Public Safety Excellence), recognized for achieving excellence, providing customer service beyond expectation, and striving for continuous quality improvement. LAFD has a Public Protection Classification of Class 1 from the Insurance Services Office. Accordingly, we expect professionalism from each member.


How to apply

The Los Alamos County Human Resources Division requires an application through the LAC Human Resources webpage at:

Apply Here

All applicants are required to create a user profile in order to submit an application. Due to the high volume of applications please observe the following requirements:

  • The information on the application form will be used to determine minimum qualifications for the position;

  • Certifications must be identified on the application and copies attached to be considered; and

  • Resumes may be attached but will not be used to determine qualification for a position.

Applications can be filled out in person in the Human Resources Division at 1000 Central Avenue, 2nd floor, Los Alamos, NM 87544. Computers will be available to do so and HR personnel is available to assist as needed during business hours. For additional information contact the Human Resources Division at (505)662-8040. Los Alamos County is an equal opportunity employer.


The Academy

Becoming an LAFD Firefighter takes P.R.I.D.E.

Professionalism- the foundation of our general culture and guided by our commitment to public relations and external communications initiatives, ensuring an enhanced interaction with the community we are honored to serve.

Readiness- demonstrated by our training, technology, physical resources, and our commitment to continuous improvement.

ntegrity- demonstrated by doing the right thing on and off duty for the benefit of our department and the community.

edication- the improvement of the community and the safety and well-being of our fellow team members.

Excellence- is at the heart of our individual and department goals, recognizing that we are entrusted with the safety and welfare of our community.

Recruits in the LAFD Firefighter Academy take part in manipulative and technical training in basic concepts of fire department organization, ropes, knots and hitches, hose and hose handling, ladder evolutions, wildland fires, fire investigation, fire prevention, salvage operations, fire department apparatus, tools and equipment, breathing apparatus, extinguishers, personal protective equipment, communications, technical rescue, hazardous materials, and Emergency Medical Services.

LAFD firefighter candidates should be physically prepared for the demands of the job as a firefighter.

At the Academy, Recruits participate in a Physical Fitness Training Program designed to educate, inspire and train Recruits to achieve and maintain an appropriate level of health and fitness for a long and fruitful career in the fire service and throughout their personal life.A fire academy works on a 4x10 schedule, working 10-hour days four days per week with three-day weekends. Recruits will also work overnight shifts to prepare them for the 48/96 shift schedule.

LAFD Recruits will participate in a minimum of 1,200 hours of fire training within the various disciplines. Your daily routine will include physical fitness, lecture, hands-on training, evaluations, and testing.

As future members of the LAFD, recruits will be held to extremely high ethical, moral, and community standards as they progress through the Academy and throughout their careers. The Fire Academy is the first step in your journey as an LAFD firefighter. Our program will not only prepare you physically, it will also give you the knowledge, skills and abilities you will need to make yourself a community asset. 


Minimum Qualifications

Position Summary:
Under general supervision of the Company Officer, provides entry-level fire suppression, prevention, and emergency response while training to become a Firefighter. Performs public education, rescue and emergency medical services for the residents and visitors of Los Alamos County, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Maintains confidentiality of all privileged information.

Fire Recruit Job Description

Minimum Qualifications:
•High School Diploma or GED (on or before June 2, 2023)
•Must be eighteen years of age (on or before April 21, 2023)
•Must be a United States Citizen.
•Must possess, or ability to obtain within first thirty days of employment, and maintain a valid New Mexico CDL-E driver’s license.
•Must promote to Firefighter 2 by the end of the Fire Academy.
•Must possess, or ability to obtain within probationary period, and maintain an EMT (B, I or P) license that qualifies for New Mexico Administrative Code 27.2 Certification and Licensing requirements, and maintain positive Medical Direction status. If non-New Mexico EMT, including Paramedic license, must pass New Mexico State licensing examination and achieve positive Medical Direction status before end of probationary period.
•Must obtain ICS 100, 200, 700, 800B and 804 certifications or equivalents by the end of probation.
•Must possess, or must make application for a DOE Q clearance within thirty days of employment with ability to obtain, and maintain a DOE Q clearance and is subject to additional federal background investigation. Prior to issuance of the Q clearance, must be eligible at all times to be escorted into secured areas until such time as the initial investigation period has expired and a Q clearance is issued. Subsequently, should Q access authorization be under review, but not suspended or revoked, and employee remains eligible to be escorted into a secured area, a reasonable time for reinstatement shall be allowed.
•Successful passing of the LAFD examination related directly to the job duties by receiving satisfactory scores on an assessment of their abilities.
•Successful completion of an examination by a licensed physician and be free of any physical condition as listed in the LAFD Medical Standards per NFPA 1582.
•Be free of any mental or emotional condition, which might adversely affect performance. May be required to be examined by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.
•Successful completion of the physical agility standard requirements of the LAFD and annually thereafter.
•Successful completion of mandatory drug screening and subsequent random drug screenings.
•Successful completion of the background investigation, including FBI fingerprint check.
•Must not have been convicted of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude. 
•Firefighters shall serve a probationary period of not less than twelve (12) months.

Preferred Qualifications:
•Associates Degree from an accredited college or university in Fire Science or related field.
•Current DOE Q Clearance.
•Current Paramedic Certificate or License.


Selection Process

The  applicant’s first step begins with the application process. Applicants qualification will be determined from their application for employment and not a resume. Applicants must ensure all appropriate fields are complete and accurate. Once the application has been approved during a recruitment process, the candidate will be notified of the test dates. The Candidate will begin the testing process with a written exam, conducted online and administered by I/O Solutions.

If the candidate is successful, a physical fitness test will be scheduled. The physical fitness test consists of the following:

1.5 mile run in 15 minutes (15:00) at an altitude of just over 7,000 feet above sea level.

A Criterion Task Test (CTT) - completed within 6 minutes 59 seconds (6:59). The CTT is comprised of five stations simulating fire ground activities. Visit to gain useful information on what to expect.

After successful completion of the written and physical tests, the candidate will be scheduled for an oral interview. While the candidate is not scored on appearance, appropriate attire is expected.  Candidates must also present a valid picture identification.



During the academy (approximately ~26 weeks), recruits are assigned to a 40-hour work week (2080 hours annually). After successful completion of the academy recruits will be placed on a 48/96 schedule with a 14-day FLSA (2912 hours annually). Salary rates, effective July 9,2023.

  • The Los Alamos Fire Academy is ~26 weeks induration with the typical workday approximately 10hours/day for 4 days a week. Additionally, cadets are required to spend a minimum of one night every two weeks. The base rate for a recruit during the academy is $28.74 per hour.

  • During the academy recruits will accrue overtime compensation in accordance with a 7-day FLSA period. Upon assignment to shift Firefighter II/Cadet can accrue overtime or compensatory time in accordance with a 14-day FLSA period.

  • Recruit/Firefighter II Cadet can earn up to $61,500 in their first year of employment with the department. This does not include new hire bonuses or overtime.

  • All new-hire Firefighter II/Cadets must serve a one-year new hire probationary period.

  • After the probationary period personnel can be made eligible and selected for additional Specialty Team Incentive Pay. Personnel are allowed to have two paid incentives. These specialty teams and incentive rates are as follows:

Personnel are eligible after obtaining necessary licenses for EMS Incentives of

  • Other paid incentive that does not count toward the two paid incentives is Shift Training Team (STT). STT pays an additional $160.00 per pay-period or $4,160 annually. The STT is responsible for facilitating department trainings for their assigned shifts.

  • Personnel can also be part of some of our un-paid specialty teams. These include.

  • After 2 years of employment personnel are eligible for Longevity Pay in accordance with the scale below:

Years of Service

Extra Pay Per Hour/Annual (2912)


$.52/ $1,514


$.86/ $2,504


$1.20/ $3,494


$1.72/ $5,009


$2.40/ $6,989


$4.12/ $11,997


$6.18/ $17,996

**All rates of pay identified above after completion of the academy and assignment to shift, incentive/specialty team pay, and longevity pay are all identified and outlined in the Agreement between the Incorporated County of Los Alamos and the International Association of Firefighter’s Association (IAFF) Local 3279.



25 year PERA Retirement Plan(65% paid by Employer, 35% paid by Employee)

LAC Employee Pension- This is a mandatory supplemental retirement plan, similar to a 401k, with contributions from the employee and Los Alamos County (LAC). LAC contributes 9% and the employee contributes 1%. Employees are fully vested after 7 years.

457 Deferred Compensation Plan available

Health Insurance Benefits- Medical, Dental, Vision and Basic Life Insurance- LAC currently pays
80% of the monthly premium for employee, employee plus one or family.

Tuition assistance- After completion of new hire probation (one year), LAFD employees are eligible to receive tuition assistance.


Sign-On Bonus

Firefighter New hires will receive a total of $7,500 over the first year:

$2,500 after 30 days completed in the Academy
$2,500 upon academy graduation
$2,500 just prior to the end of the first year

Firefighter New hires that are Nationally Registered Paramedics & licensed to provide care in New Mexico UPON HIRE will receive a total of $15,000 over the first year:
$2,500 after 30 days completed in the Academy
$2,500 upon academy graduation
$10,000 just prior to the end of the first year

Free dorm housing provided for academy recruits