Frequently Asked Questions
When is the next firefighter test date?Answer
Currently, no exam is scheduled. The Civil Service Entrance Exam is valid for one year from the date the test is given or until all names are exhausted from the eligibility list. The most recent exam was given April 3, 2010. We anticipate that the next exam will be given around the same date in 2011. The Human Resources Department accepts applications for firefighter positions year round. If you have a current application on file, you will be notified by mail when the next exam is scheduled. The application is available on this web site. Completed applications should be returned to the Human Resources Office at PO Box 1967, Texarkana, TX 75505.
What is the procedure for hiring a firefighter?Answer
Chapter 143, Texas Local Government Code, (Civil Service law) establishes the general guidelines for hiring firefighters in the Texarkana Fire Department. Applicants must first take the entrance exam. Those applicants that pass the entrance exam are placed on an eligibility list in order of their score. When an opening occurs, the candidate with the highest score is considered first. Each candidate must successfully pass a physical ability test. Then, the candidate's background is checked by various means, including a polygraph exam. Following an interview with the Fire Chief and an oral interview board, the successful candidate is given a conditional offer of employment. Following this, the candidate undergoes a physical examination and assessment, including a drug screen. If these phases are passed successfully, the candidate is hired.
What are the qualifications for a career firefighter?Answer
A firefighter candidate must be at least 21 years of age at the time of the written test and must not have reached his/her 36th birthday at the time of hiring. The candidate must be certified by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection as a structural firefighter and must also be certified by the Texas Department of Health as an EMT-basic or higher. Candidates are expected to have demonstrated personal maturity as evidenced by a drug-free lifestyle, a clean driving record, and no criminal history. Candidates must also be sufficiently physically fit to pass a physical ability test, a physical exam, and a physical assessment.
What are qualifications to be a volunteer firefighter?Answer
The Texarkana Fire Department is a full career department. We do not have volunteers.
Can I do outside burning inside the City Limits?Answer
No. City Ordinance 9-13 effective November 6, 2008 bans all open burning with a few exceptions under recreational fires.
How do I set up a tour of the Fire Station?Answer
To set up a tour of any of our fire stations or to schedule a fire prevention program, contact Beebe Lachowsky at the Fire Administration Office at 903.798.3994. The administration office is normally open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays. Tours will be scheduled at times that do not conflict with other scheduled departmental activities.
Where is the closest fire department to my residence?Answer
If you are within the City Limits of Texarkana, Texas, the Texarkana Fire Department is the closest fire department. If you need a specific station location, contact the Fire Administration Office at 903.798.3994 and we will assist you. We will need a specific address. If you do not live in the city limits of Texarkana, we will also try to assist you, but we do not have response district information for all of the fire departments in Bowie County. We may have to refer you to a specific volunteer department for further information.
What fire department would respond to my residence?Answer
The Texarkana Fire Department responds to fires only within the City Limits of Texarkana, Texas, unless our assistance is requested by the department having primary response authority. If your residence is within the City Limits of Texarkana, Texas, then the Texarkana Fire Department would respond to your residence. If your residence is not within the city limits, please call the Fire Administration Office at 903.798.3994 and we will try to assist you with this information.
What is the City's fire insurance rating (ISO Rating)?Answer
Our ISO Rating is a 2 on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the best. This number is used by the insurance industry to determine fire insurance premiums for both commercial and residential property.
Can you shoot fireworks inside the City?Answer
No. It is against the law to sell, possess or shoot fireworks inside the city limits.
How do I know if there is a burn ban in effect?Answer
Contact the Fire Administration Office at 903.798.3994 and we will assist you with this information. A burn ban map is also available on the Texas Forest Service web site at http://www.tamu.edu/ticc/maps/burnbans.jpg.
How many smoke detectors should I have in my house?Answer
There should be at least one smoke detector located near the sleeping area(s) of the house. If you sleep with your bedroom door shut, a smoke detector should also be located inside the bedroom. You cannot have too many smoke detectors. If you would like assistance with the number of smoke detectors, a home inspection, or any home fire safety problem, please contact the Fire Prevention Division at (903) 798-3994.
How do I report a complaint about a fire hazard?Answer
Contact the Fire Prevention Division at 903.798.3994.
What is the best kind of fire extinguisher for my house?Answer
A multipurpose fire extinguisher is best for the home. Look on the label for the extinguisher rating. This rating should be at least 2A:1OB:C. This extinguisher can be used on any type of fire commonly found in the home. It will often be labeled A-B-C.
Is a permit required for the installation of an alarm system?Answer
There is no permit required for residential fire alarm systems. Commercial fire alarm systems do require a permit. Plans and component specifications for the system must be submitted to the Fire Prevention Office for review and approval before the installation begins. Contact the Fire Prevention Division at 903.798.3994 for further information.
What are the requirements for posting my address numbers?Answer
Each business and residence is required to have its address number visible from the street. The minimum number height is 4". If your building is more than 50 feet from the street, the minimum height is 5". Numbers on a mailbox, gatepost, or similar structure may be substituted for numbers on the building, but numbers painted on the curb are not an acceptable substitute. The appropriate portion of the City Ordinance dealing with address numbers is shown below.
- An official building number placed pursuant to this section must be least four (4) inches high, and have at least a one-half (1/2) inch stroke in the main body of the number, and be composed of a durable material and of a color which provides a contrast to the background. The number shall be mounted a minimum of three (3) feet and a maximum of thirty (30) feet in height measured from ground level. Buildings located more than fifty (50) feet from the curb of a street shall have numbers at least five (5) inches in height. For the purpose of this section, durable materials for use in numbering shall include but not be limited to, wood, plastic, metal, weather-resistant paint, weather-resistant vinyl, or weather-resistant numbers designed for outside use on a glass surface. Suitability of materials, size of numbers and locations, in nonstandard circumstances, shall be at the discretion of the public works department.
- For single-family residences, the requirement of this section may be met by providing two-inch high numbers on both sides of a U.S. mailbox located near the curb in front of the house, or a freestanding structure approved by the building official with numbers at least four (4) inches in height. Only single freestanding mail boxes on the same side of the street as the structure represented shall be suitable for display of the official building number pursuant to this section.
- The numbers shall be conspicuously placed immediately above, on, or at the side of the proper door of each building so that the number can be seen plainly from the street on which the number is based. Whenever any building is situated so that the number is not clearly discernible from the street line or vision of the building from the street is otherwise obscured, the number or numbers assigned shall be placed near the walk, driveway or common entrance to such buildings, and affixed upon a gatepost, fence, mailbox, post, or other appropriate place so as to be easily discernible. Numbers painted or stenciled on the curb shall not be a lawful substitute for the display of address numbers prescribed by this article.
What is a Knox Box and when is it required?Answer
A Knox Box is a key lock box that allows safe storage of building keys in a location accessible to the Fire Department. They are required on all new commercial buildings, but may be installed on any building at the discretion of the building owner. For additional information, please see the Texarkana Fire Department fire code information sheet, Emergency Access Key Boxes(.pdf).
What are the requirements for fire lanes in commercial construction?Answer
Fire Lanes are required on most commercial buildings to insure adequate access to the building for emergency apparatus in the event of a fire or other emergency situation. Specific fire lane requirements can be found in the Texarkana Fire Department fire code information sheet, Fire Lanes for New Construction(.pdf).