Visiting a fire station can be a very educational and rewarding experience when you are testing to become a firefighter. However, if you are not careful, the impression you make, as well as the behavior you present may actually go against you when it comes to getting a job with that fire department. I am a firm believer that you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.
Why would you even want to visit a fire station you might wonder? Here are the three main reasons why you would visit a fire station:
- To find out more about the job of a firefighter
- To obtain more information about that fire department, either before they offer a firefighter examination or during the firefighter examination process
- To visit with any acquaintances or friends that are working in the fire service
What benefits can you receive out of visiting a fire station?
- Getting the chance to network, make friends, and make contacts that may be able to assist you in the future. Even if that fire department doesn't hold a firefighter exam for the next few years, I bet many of those firefighters have friends or relatives that work on many other neighboring fire departments that they can put you in touch with for assistance.
- Getting the chance to learn more about the job of a firefighter.
- Getting the chance to ask questions of the firefighters that you may have not been able to find answers for on the department website or through other methods
- Getting the chance to meet firefighters that may be sitting on your oral interview panel either in that department or a neighboring department (I can't count the amount of times I have met someone at a fire station only to find them at a later date on my oral board interviewing me, either in their own department or a neighboring department). The benefit here is that if you make a great impression on that station visit, it can go in your favor. However, the downfall is that if you make a poor impression, it can also go against you.
- Getting the chance to talk to the newly hired firefighters so that you can ask them questions relating to what they did to get hired, and to find out what information they can share with you that might assist you in your pursuit.
Here are some suggestions to ensure that you make a good impression and that you properly present yourself to the firefighters: