Fire Protection Activities

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The regulations setting out the requirements of the § 7(k) partial exemption for fire protection personnel are found at 29 C.F.R. § 553.210. To be eligible for this exemption, an employee must meet all of the following criteria:

  • be trained in fire suppression;
  • have the legal authority and responsiblity to engage in fire suppression;
  • be employed by a fire department of a municipality, county, fire district, or state; and
  • be engaged in the prevention, control and extinguishment of fires or response to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.

Fire protection employees can include firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, rescue workers, ambulance personnel, and hazardous materials workers as long as they meet the criteria listed above.  There is no limit on the amount of nonexempt work that an employee employed in fire protection activities may perform.  If the employee meets the criteria, the employee qualifies for the partial exemption.  (The 80/20 rule for firefighters was deleted from the regulations in 2011.)

Not included in the term “employee in fire protection activities” are the so-called “civilian” employees of a fire department, fire district, or forestry service who engage in such support activities as those performed by dispatchers, alarm operators, apparatus and equipment repair and maintenance workers, camp cooks, clerks, stenographers, etc.  These support employees do not qualify for the partial exemption.