2019 Georgia Code
Title 25 - Fire Protection and Safety
Chapter 4 - Firefighter Standards and Training
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 25-4-8. Qualifications of firefighters generally

Universal Citation: GA Code § 25-4-8 (2019)
  • (a) Except as provided in Code Section 25-4-12, any employee, volunteer, or private contractor of a fire department operating in this state or certified as a firefighter shall, as prescribed by the council:

    • (1) Be at least 18 years of age;

    • (2) Not have been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, a felony in any jurisdiction or of a crime which if committed in this state would constitute a felony under the laws of this state within ten years prior to employment, provided that a person who has been convicted of a felony more than five but less than ten years prior to employment may be certified and employed as a firefighter when the person has:

      • (A) Successfully completed a training program following the Georgia Fire Academy curriculum and sponsored by the Department of Corrections;

      • (B) Been recommended to a fire department by the proper authorities at the institution at which the training program was undertaken; and

      • (C) Met all other requirements as set forth in this chapter.

        The council shall be the final authority with respect to authorizing the employment, appointment, and certification of a person who has been convicted of a felony more than five but less than ten years prior to seeking employment when the person is seeking employment as a firefighter for any municipal, county, or state fire department which employs three or more firefighters who work a minimum of 40 hours per week and has the responsibility of preventing and suppressing fires, protecting life and property, and enforcing municipal, county, and state codes, as well as enforcing any law pertaining to the prevention and control of fires;

    • (3) Have a good moral character as determined by investigation under procedure approved by the council;

    • (4) Be fingerprinted and a search made of local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record;

    • (5) Be in good physical condition as determined by a medical examination and successfully pass the minimum physical agility requirements as established by the council; and

    • (6) Possess or achieve within 12 months after employment a high school diploma or a general education development equivalency, provided that the council may by rule or regulation prescribe for the waiver of such requirement.

  • (b) For the purposes of this Code section, a person shall be deemed to have been convicted of a crime if such person shall have pleaded guilty to a charge thereof before a court or federal magistrate or shall have been found guilty thereof by the decision or judgment of a court or federal magistrate or by the verdict of a jury, irrespective of the pronouncement of sentence or the suspension thereof, unless such plea of guilty or such decision, judgment, or verdict shall have been set aside, reversed, or otherwise abrogated by lawful judicial process or unless the person convicted of the crime shall have received a pardon therefor from the President of the United States or the governor or other pardoning authority in the jurisdiction where the conviction was had or shall have received a certificate of good conduct granted by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles pursuant to the provisions of law to remove a disability under law because of such conviction. Any person convicted of a felony while he or she is a certified firefighter shall have his or her certification revoked.

  • (c)

    • (1) For the purposes of making determinations relating to eligibility under this Code section, a local fire department shall provide information relative to prospective employees to the local law enforcement agency and a state fire department shall provide information relative to prospective employees to a state law enforcement agency. Such local or state law enforcement agency shall be authorized to obtain conviction data with respect to such prospective employees of a local or state fire department as authorized in this subsection. The local or state law enforcement agency shall submit to the Georgia Crime Information Center two complete sets of fingerprints of the applicant for appointment or employment, the required records search fees, and such other information as may be required. Upon receipt thereof, the Georgia Crime Information Center shall promptly transmit one set of fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a search of bureau records and an appropriate report and shall retain the other set and promptly conduct a search of its own records and records to which it has access. The Georgia Crime Information Center shall notify the local or state law enforcement agency in writing of any derogatory finding, including, but not limited to, any conviction data regarding the fingerprint records check or if there is no such finding. All conviction data received by the local or state law enforcement agency shall not be a public record, shall be privileged, and shall not be disclosed to any other person or agency except as provided in this subsection and except to any person or agency which otherwise has a legal right to inspect the employment file. All such records shall be maintained by the local or state law enforcement agency pursuant to laws regarding such records and the rules and regulations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Crime Information Center, as applicable. As used in this subsection, "conviction data" means a record of a finding or verdict of guilty or plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere with regard to any crime, regardless of whether an appeal of the conviction has been sought.

    • (2) The local or state law enforcement agency shall provide to the chief of the fire department which requested information on an applicant any criminal data indicating that the applicant was convicted of a felony. Such information may be provided to the council. The provisions of paragraph (1) of this subsection relating to privileged information and records of conviction data shall apply to any information provided by a law enforcement agency to a fire department.


Ga. L. 1971, p. 693, § 7; Ga. L. 1977, p. 1224, § 7; Ga. L. 1980, p. 601, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 989, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 18; Ga. L. 1985, p. 283, § 1; Ga. L. 1995, p. 325, § 1; Ga. L. 2008, p. 243, § 5/SB 414; Ga. L. 2012, p. 83, § 1/HB 247; Ga. L. 2016, p. 64, § 4/HB 727; Ga. L. 2018, p. 202, § 1/HB 699.

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