In the last article, I discussed Phase 1: Developing your firefighter candidate research binder. This is critical because you want to have testing information at your fingertips and not have to wait for others to tell you which fire department is accepting applications. You should still be paying for a service to notify you of firefighter job openings as a back-up plan; but this research binder will put you in charge of your own destiny!
IS THIS A WASTE OF MY TIME DOING THIS?
First of all, it is not a waste of time. Think back to the need to be proactive. Do you want to be in charge of your own destiny, or do you want someone else to be? I would rather have myself be in charge. That way, I have no one to blame but myself. Also, think of it as a way to educate your self in your local and regional geography. Testing to become a firefighter took me to places I probably never would have ventured to otherwise, and it really educated me as to what cities and counties are within the State of California. Remember, knowledge is power. You never know when that information might be useful in the future. By building this data base now, it will help narrow your focus in the future, thus allowing you to save time and also concentrate on other areas.
The best way to be proactive is to do your own research. In the last article, I showed you how to start your research by getting a binder, and blank sheets of paper. I had you start by drawing a 50 mile radius around your residence, and then 100, 150, and 200 mile radius markings around your residence. I then had you list out county-by-county, each city that was within that county, within the 50 mile radius closest to your house.
Now we will continue developing your testing data base to assist you in finding out when a fire department will be accepting applications.
You will end up with a binder having 3 Chapters as follows;
- Chapter 1 - Fire Departments: County-by-county
- Chapter 2 - Fire Departments: City-by-city
- Chapter 3 - Action plan / to-do list
II. PHASE 2 (Organizing your firefighter candidate research binder into chapters)
A. CHAPTER 1: Fire Departments County-by-County.
Label your first section Chapter 1. This chapter will contain information on the cities within each county, and who provides the fire protection services. We now need to find out which Fire Departments are providing service within each county. How do we do this? We start by going to the local library. Every public library I have been to has a section of phone books, from the local area, throughout the state, and nationwide. Find a comfortable table and get the phone books from the first county you are going to research.
Let's say your first county is Santa Clara County. In the front of most phone books are the blue pages, which are the government pages. Each city and county has listings in the blue sections, and is listed alphabetically. Here is where you will need to look, city by city, for the words fire department. If there is a fire department in that city, you will usually find the business phone number, in addition to the address of their headquarters.
For example, the City of Campbell is covered by the Santa Clara County Fire Department. The address and business phone numbers are listed there. Now on your sheet of paper that you have started by listing the name of the county and the cities within that county, to the right of the City of Campbell, write Santa Clara County Fire Department in the space under Fire Dept. In the blue pages, if you continue to the City of Cupertino, you will see they are also protected by the Santa Clara County Fire Department, so put the same information in the space provided. Gilroy is your next city, and they have their own fire department, so write Gilroy Fire Department in the space to the right. Let's assume we've gone through the phone book for the whole county, and that here is the information we have discovered: