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Recruitment Officer Anthony Payne 

Editor in Chief | Nehemiah D Frank 

Anthony Payne is the Minority Recruitment Officer or Equal Employment Officer (E.E.O) for the Tulsa Fire Department. He’s occupied his current position for 2-yrs and has been employed by the City of Tulsa as a Firefighter for nine.

Anthony is a hometown guy, born and raised in Tulsa, Okla. After high school, he attended Langston University where he earned a degree in psychology. Unlike, many college graduates Payne wanted to return back to his hometown of Tulsa to give back and contribute to the community. 

Payne says, “My most rewarding experience [working for TFD] has been giving back to the community.”

One day Payne was checking-out at a local convince store where a cashier recognized him.

“‘You saved my life. You pulled me from my burning car. I wouldn’t be here had it not been for you saving me that day. I wouldn’t be here for my kids and grandkids. Thank you for saving my life,’”  Officer Payne quotes a woman he once saved the life of. 

Another rescue story Anthony shared with us was one where a house was on fire, and a man had fallen from his wheelchair and was trapped inside. Anthony and his team were able to rescue the man and the mans home as well.

Throughout the year firefighters have to perform CPR to get a heart beat or lungs breathing again. Payne was one of the heroes and has also said saving lives has been fulfilling.

Before Payne took on the job, Sen. Kevin Matthews and Tropical Smoothy owner Tim Smallwood occupied the minority recruitment officer position. Mr. Smallwood and Senator Matthews will tell you that they both have the Tulsa Fire Department to thank for the current success as business owners.

Firefighters usually work 9 to 10 days per month. Often working 24 hours on and they get 48 hours off.

“In that time you’re able to start another business if that’s what you want to do,” says Officer Payne.

Officer Anthony Payne at TFD Headquarters

The median income for Tulsans is $27,313 per year; And being a firefighter pays exceptional well in comparison to what the average Tulsan takes home. TFD firefighters make a whopping $35,000 while in the academy. Upon graduation their salary is bumped to $40,000 annually not including if their fluent in more than one language or know sign language. Bilingual speakers and or recruits that acquire a two or four-year degree earn more than the starting average.

Fortunately, unlike the Tulsa Police Department that requires a bachelor’s degree, a fire department applicant doesn’t need a 4-year degree.

“Training is roughly about 26 weeks, and most of the training is done in the morning before the day gets hot.”

One of the best perks you get while being a fireman is you can retire early. You can earn a pension after 20-yrs of service. A person entering at the age of 21 can retire by 41.

A 5-story training tower used to test new recruits.

Minimum Requirements

Age: Must be between 21 and 45 years of age at the time of hire date.
Education: High School Diploma or GED.
Licenses: National and State EMT Certification.
Character: No felony convictions, crimes of moral turpitude, or dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
Residency: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen.
Medical Requirements: Final determination of an applicant’s medical acceptance shall be made by the City of Tulsa’s Physician and the Oklahoma Firefighter Pension and Retirement System.

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TFD currently has 676 uniformed authorized firefighters, and currently, 56 of them are African American. They are still looking for more brave men and women of color who would like to serve our city as firefighters. 

For more information about how to become a firefighter for the City of Tulsa email Officer Anthony Payne at

Tulsa Fire Department Headquarters 1760 Newblock Park Drive Tulsa, Ok 74127

Nehemiah D. Frank is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times and a descendant of two families that survived the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Although his publication’s store and newsroom...