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Thursday, December 16, 2010

How To Become A Firefighter Part 5: More Station Visits

Congratulations, you've passed the initial interview.

Now you need to shift gears and do a little more research. The initial interview is usually conducted by line personnel. In other words, the guys with whom you'll hopefully be working. They want to get to know you and see if you are the type of person that would fit in with their crew.


The interview with the chief is different. He's not going to be working with you on a daily basis. Because of this will want to get a different vibe from you. Will you be good for the department and the citizens that it serves? Are you worth the thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars that they will have to invest in you to make you one of their firefighters?

So now you need to visit some more fire stations. Preferably stations with a BC. All the same guidelines that I talked about before apply here too. Talk to them about where the department is headed in the next 5-10 years. What major changes, if any, are going on. Talk about funding for the department. This is the time to get into the nuts and bolts of how the department is run and where it is going. Just like before, the more you know, the better.

If you can find a copy of the departments strategic plan, read it. It will let you know where the chief would like to take his organization over the next 5 years. If your applying to a municipal department, learn about the city. The elected officials, economics of the city, local cultures, annual city events etc. If you're applying to a county or state department you should do the same thing. At least as best you can.

Something else I forgot to mention before. Know the capabilities of the department. Find out if they have a HAZMAT, USAR, heavy rescue, boats, swift water team, technical rescue team, dive team, ice rescue team, air ops.....you get the picture. Most department are pretty proud of their specialties. Stroke their egos. Learn target hazards. Those places that would be very bad if they were to go up in smoke. You know, oil refineries, hospitals and the like.

Again, if you know some chief officers at any department, active or retired, see if you can set up some mock interviews. Perfect practice makes perfect.

Next, The Chief's Interview And Beyond
Previously, The Interview
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