10/03/12 240 W - + 5 - 3 How to Become a Firefighter (in New York) - Then and Now

From a reader, here's an amusing posting from a credit union foundation out of New York City, comparing the requirements for becoming a firefighter in 1887 and in 2001. Excerpts are below. Thanks, David!

1887 - To become a fireman a person must be twenty-one years of age and of good moral character. He goes first to the secretary, and procures from him a blank, which he fills out, and get four reliable men to sign, certifying that they have known him never to have been indicted or convicted of any crime; that they have known him for a certain number of years. The candidate then returns it to the secretary. He is then sent before the Medical Board and examined as to his physical condition. He is measured, weighed, and the circumference of his chest taken.

2001 -  All applicants must pass written, physical fitness, medical, and psychological examinations. A thorough character, employment, and background investigation will be conducted including fingerprinting. [They must] be a resident of the City of New York or of Nassau, Westchester, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland or Putnam Counties. Candidates must be able to understand and be understood in English. [They] must be able to prove your identity and your right to obtain employment in the United States prior to employment with the City of New York. United States citizenship is required at the time of appointment.

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