Generous starting salary with step increases annually until reaching top grade firefighter. There is opportunity for advancement, health insurance and a retirement plan. Firefighters work on 24 hour shifts followed by 72 hours off. The current starting salary for a firefighter/EMT is $44,608. Top grade firefighter is $68,625. Throughout your career you will have the opportunity to become a NYS Paramedic which will provide a salary increase. You will also have the opportunity to pursue advancement to a fire "officer" position such as Lieutenant, Captain or Chief.