TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday passed a bill allowing members of the National Guard and military reserve called to active duty to remain age-eligible for civil service firefighter positions. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Parker Space, would provide parity with existing law that offers retained eligibility for military members seeking police officer positions though the Civil Service Commission.
“Firefighters with military service bring great value to a fire department and their patriotism shouldn’t be a barrier to employment,” said Space (R-Sussex), who has been a volunteer firefighter since 1989. “This bill brings military firefighters in line with service members who want to become police officers. It recognizes their service to this country and helps fire departments with recruiting efforts.”
Firefighters in New Jersey must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years old. This measure (A119) would allow Guard members and reservists who met the firefighter age requirements when they took their civil service examination to retain eligibility if they turn 36 while fulfilling military obligations.
According to April 2022 data from the state Department of Community Affairs, there are approximately 7,760 career firefighters in New Jersey, which is up slightly from 7,390 in 2020. However, the total number of firefighters has decreased by about 230 over the last two years.