recently went through an interview and they asked these questions and was wondering how you guys would answer these!!!! I felt very unprepared for these types of questions. does ne other dept. ask these similar questions??
1)you are a rookie firefighter and you have no doubt in your mind that your lieut. is sleeping with your captains wife. you know this because you live across the street from your captain??? very weird but thats what they asked word for word.
2) you are a rookie firefighter going on an interior attack on a structure fire n your captain orders you to go in n you know if you go in that you will die. they even say that i have flashbacks before entering???
3) another question they asked if you see a veteran firefighter taking oil home but when you ask him about it he says we will replace it. what do you do??
any thoughts or opinions would be very helpful!!!!
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10-18-2008, 09:36 PM #1
- Join Date
- May 2006
very tough questions how would you guys answer??
10-18-2008, 09:57 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
I'm not sure about the answers ... but don't listen or buy anything from "Captain Bob" ...
10-18-2008, 10:14 PM #3
1. Personal business is just that, personal.
2. I would say how am I certian I will die? The capt. has experience so why would he willingly kill us. If I am certian tell the capt. I can't go in and I will deal with the breach of duty at the station. You should be able to explain your reasoning well enough to convince the capt's superior why you made that choice.
3. I would tell the firefighter he has a set time to return the oil before he is reported.
I am no interview master. I hope others weigh in.FF/Paramedic
10-18-2008, 10:17 PM #4
- Join Date
- May 2006
thanks tnf!! appreciate your response
10-18-2008, 11:18 PM #5
First, these questions are not tough and here are my answers-
1. For me, first I would document what I saw, where and when. Maybe even get photos to back it up. After I have something, I would sit down with the Captain in private and tell him what I know. Is it any of my business? No. But if the roles were reversed, I would hope someone would tell me vs. just letting it go on behind my back.
2. I would tell the Captain- No, I am not gong in, its too dangerous and respectfully point out why. He/she might not have seen what you saw.
Disipline me, write me up, whatever but this job isnt worth dying for. And Captain's make mistakes all the time. Is a building that going to be demoished in a few days anyways worth my life? NO! I rather have paper written on my than my death be in the paper.
3. The motor oil. Hey- stealing is stealing. He makes enough money to buy his own oil. If its the department's oil today, whats next...my wallet? The station kitty? Again, document what you see and then have a private chat with him on whats going on before you report it. Its his problem, not yours. Stealing is stealing and there is no excuse.
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 10-18-2008 at 11:24 PM.
10-19-2008, 01:46 AM #6
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
10-19-2008, 02:41 AM #7
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Rescue601 yes CaptBob tries to sell his services but he also puts out a large amount of free information that is very helpful. As said put up or shut up!! In two replies you did not even try to help this guy out, so help or don't say anything at all.
Questions 1 and 3 are in my eyes are a variation of the very popular "you see a FF take a watch at a fire what do you do?"
In my eyes simple Character questions.
First thing is to never jump to conclusions.
Second is to get more information.
Third confront if necessary.
Fourth turn in if necessary.
Example answers to these Questions.
1.) First off I don't know for sure the Capt is sleeping with the Lt's wife. For all I know they are friends or their wives are good friends. They could even share wives!!(you never know) I would try and be outside the next time she came over and call her out, say hello let her know I saw her. Then Maybe talk to the Capt. and asks what is up with it. If I don't get an answer I like I would tell him that is BS and he needs to cut that sh*t out or I will be forced to act.
3.) First off I don't know for sure the guy is steeling oil. Maybe an officer knows that he is taking a quart home and has gotten permission to do this. Maybe being a rookie I don't know the rules and this has been a practice for some time of borrowing stuff as long as you return/replace it. If he says he will return it I would tell him to let and officer know and see what his response was. If he plays it off like he wants no one to know I would get the feeling he is being shady and call him out on it. If not I would wait till next shift and if he replaces it no harm no foul. Guys barrow things from the firehouse all the time as long as they get back/replaced when used no one really has a problem with this and some firehouses have a policy about it. If he does not replace it I would tell him I am going to turn him in on it if he does not do it himself.
This covers all your basis. You don't rush to judgment, you find out if there is a reason or explanation. Then if its a problem you don't hesitate to turn them in. The job is built on being reputable and 1 bad thing can ruin years of hard work.
The answer for the 2nd question is as easy as TNFF319 put it. First make sure you are certain in the situation that you will die. If that is the case point it out to the Capt. My answer would sound like this.
"I would tell the Capt. that I don't think going in is safe. I would point out what I saw or didn't see that is making me feel this way. The Capt. has allot of things going on at a fire and he may miss a small detail that I see that would change his mind. The Crew is a Team and yes the Capt. is the leader but 8 sets of eyes are better than 2 any day of the week so just because he is leading us does not mean he has all the answers or is right. We work off each other and no one should die for ANY REASON on this job be it preventable.
Just my take on the questions.
Last edited by ant195; 10-19-2008 at 02:46 AM."Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with the poor timid spirits, who know neither victory nor defeat." FDR
10-19-2008, 05:22 AM #8
So.....? Did he come in here yet? No. Have you helped the OP out yet with some adivce? No.
Capt. Bob has helped out a lot of people for free. He has a toll-free # and calls people back. Rescue601- First time I have seen you in here and I dont even know your career level. Either take part in the discussion or be quiet, please.
Stop being a jack *** and causing problems in here.
10-19-2008, 05:28 AM #9
On the oil question- I have been a paid FF for over 17 years and that might qualify me as a "veteran".
Anyways, its one thing I cant stand is cheapness. Sure times are tough and you gotta stretch a dollar, etc.
But if you've been on the job for awhile, in real life you should not have a problem buying and maintain your personal auto or personal life. There should be no excuse for taking motor oil, cooking oil or anything else from the station. You should be finacially responsible where the city, county or fire district should have to be supporting or loaning anything to an employee hoping to be returned on the back side.
Again, I just hate cheapness when grown adults should be more financially responsible.
Thats just me, hit me back.....Bou
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 10-19-2008 at 02:08 PM.
10-19-2008, 01:00 PM #10
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- north of San Francisco
The first question has to do with knowing the boundaries, especially as a rookie firefighter. What people do in their off duty time is their business. If it is not illegal, and you don’t even know for sure what is really going on, I would keep my mouth shut.
My response would be, “I really don’t care what other people do in their off time, let alone their bedrooms. But how do I know they are sleeping together, are they doing it in the front yard? I have more important things to do while I am on probation than worry about the sex lives of the people that have been on the department for years.”
The last thing an oral board wants to hear is that you are going to come into their department and “fix” things. In any question like this, I would include something about not having time to worry about things that aren’t your business as I will be spending all of my energies learning all I need the pass probation. But that is a very strange question to ask. But I have talked to newly hired people that have experience just that kind of thing, even been invited. There is one very well know department in California that has a segment of swingers and they will sometimes recruit from the new people. Talk about a difficult position to be in.
The second question is one of the oldest and most ask of all time. The interesting thing is that the answer changed back in the mid to late 80’s depending on the part of the country and progressiveness of the department. It used to be that you just did what the captain said, "He has more time and knowledge than me, he must know best", was the correct answer.
The first thing I would do is ask if there is a life hazard or known rescue in the fire. While we still won’t go into a no win situation regardless we do fight fire differently with a life is at risk. But I have never heard this question asked where there was a rescue.
I would then point out what I see to the captain. He may not have seen it. While the captain is in change at an emergency, we rely on the rest of the crew passing on what they see, we can’t notice everything. It didn’t say if you were to go in by yourself or if he was going with you, but usually it is by yourself. I would ask if the department has a two-in-two-out policy. If it does, and it should, I would say, “So are you asking me if I would violate the department’s policies? The answer is no, I can’t. But I can do a lot of firefighting from where I am". I am not sure what you mean by flash backs, but if you have information of a change in fire conditions that is something the captain should announce to everyone on scene.
One thing it is good to know and memorize is the priorities of the fire service. "I will risk a lot to save a lot, a little to save a little, and I will risk nothing to save that which cannot be saved". If it is that hot in a fire no one could be alive in there. If you were to go in and be injured or killed that would do no one any good and change the whole fire ground. Everything would change from fighting the fire, to saving you.
The oil question is often asked in many different ways. I have even heard it asked where the chief is putting gas in his private car. This is similar to the first question in that we are not looking for people to come in and change of fix things. As was said above, this may be something that they allow, in my department the district gets good deals and we can buy things from our supply department to share in the savings. What I would say is that I would help him load it in his car, or at least go out and talk to him while he is doing it. Some departments have a log book that you log any items used for ordering purposes, and I would log it. If not I know if we were missing oil there would be questions and I would mention I saw Capt X put some in his car at that point. But the bottom line in the first and third question is that you are the new person and need to mind your own business and not go into their department and upset the balance. If these things are going on, and as a new person with just a little time on, you notice them, the people that have been there a long time have to have already know about it. There are no secrets in the fire service.
I hope this helped.
Good Luck, Capt Rob
10-19-2008, 01:28 PM #11
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
These are scenario-based questions that can throw candidates off their game as it did you.
Notice how they state “you are a rookie firefighter” and the problem exists with a captain, veteran firefighter or someone else of higher rank to throw you off your game.
With scenario based questions you want to first verify what you suspect. You can accomplish this by asking what are you doing, is that yours or confirming an order back to the officer to verify what you heard.
I believe there are only 30 oral board questions. They can be disguised in hundreds of different ways.
Here is a simple way to break a disguised question down. Dissect the question down to its simplest term, one word, of what the question is really about (i.e. stealing, drugs, drinking, etc.). Once you have removed the disguise, you can place it in one of the 30 plus oral board questions you already have answers for. You can find a list of the 30 sample oral board questions here: http://www.eatstress.com/thirty22.htm
One way to help you do this is picture a piece of paper with a line drawn down the center. On the left of the line are issues dealing with ethics, such as stealing, drugs, or drinking. With ethical issues, you ask appropriate questions to determine what you suspect.
If true, you don’t deviate . . . you go straight up to a supervisor. On the right side of the line is anything to do with getting along with others; you will go to great lengths to work it out before going to a supervisor. If you can decide what side of the line the question belongs, you have a better chance of knowing how to answer the question.
Using the above formula and looking at the questions you wrote consider these “Nugget” ideas:
Question 1: “you are a rookie firefighter and you have no doubt in your mind”
When an unusual question comes up like this it’s probably because it happened in their or a neighboring department.
Big clue here “no doubt in your mind” Well; your mind can be like a dangerous neighbor. Sometimes you shouldn’t go in alone. The oral board can be like fantasyland. What you do in real life might be different, but not here.
There are 2 schools of thought here. The best answer is it’s none of your business. If they ask more just be the broken record and state it’s none of your business. If you lapse into action without verifying you could open a can of worms you might never be able to close.
The second school of thought is to start investigating and then snitching. If you’re bent on going in this direction first ask the question, “What are you doing?” to the person on the panel who asked you the question like they’re the officer involved. That answer would probably determine what you will do next.
Question 2: Violating a Direct Order Scenario:
The way this question is usually presented is you are being sent in alone. In this scenario type question one panel member is usually asking you this question. If you can create banter back and forth with the panel member, as if they were the Captain who is giving you the order, you can start building up valuable points.
You can start out by repeating the order to make sure you understood it. The Captain will confirm that’s the order. Than you can banter back and forth if you notice safety concerns. Once you get to point where the rater officer wants the task carried out ask him what the department policy is with sending one man into a fire? They will probably say they have a 2 in to out policy. Then, look directly at the panel member and ask, “As my captain are you asking me to violate department policy?” If the answer comes back yes, that’s what you will do.
Hey, in real live you might do something else. But again the oral board is fantasyland in many ways. Just go through the drill. You could add that you don’t know what the Captains plan is or what additional resources they have coming that could be in place before you advance a line, perform a rescue or any other emergency situation.
A recent candidate got to the point where you were and he refused to follow the order. Later in the interview a panel member gave him the opportunity to revisit his decision. That should have been a clue they wanted him to follow the order.
More on violating a direct order here: http://eatstress.com/directorder.htm
Question 3: another question they asked if you see a veteran firefighter taking oil home but when you ask him about it he says we will replace it. What do you do??
If they fire up a question that sounds like stealing, it’s going to be about stealing. If they fire up a question that sounds like drinking on the job, it’s going to be about drinking on the job. If they fire up a question about taking drugs, it’s not going to be about aspirin.
Using the formula again once you take the disguise off what is this scenario question about? Appears to be stealing, eh? What side of the line is it on? Is steeling tolerated? Against the law? Violation of public trust of a sworn officer?
Here again verify first. This would give you a big clue what should happen next. i.e.: Act like the person on the panel is the one who is involved with taking the oil. Establishing banter with them can help you rack up more points. Ask, What are you doing? Is that yours? If they won’t do the banter with you, then you play both parts. The question and the answer i.e. I would ask him is that was his. If he answered no and it wasn’t any of my business. I would say, well, I see you doing it and now I’m part of the problem. Why don’t “WE” go talk to the captain? If he won’t go, I will.
What could be stealing confuses most candidates.
A large city presented this question as you come in the locker room and see a senior firefighter taking a candy bar out of someone’s gym bag. Too many candidates thought and said hey it’s only a candy bar. Well, what if this had been the guys wallet? Well, that’s different. Then treat the candy bar like a wallet because it’s still stealing. Those that did not treat this question as stealing failed the question.
More on scenario questions here: http://eatstress.com/scenario.htm
Last edited by CaptBob; 10-19-2008 at 02:27 PM.______________________________ _______________
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob"
10-19-2008, 02:14 PM #12
Ok, I admit I like FF Rob's answer for situation #1 better. Good info.
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 10-19-2008 at 09:06 PM.
10-19-2008, 08:20 PM #13
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
1) You are a rookie firefighter and you have no doubt in your mind that your lieut. is sleeping with your captain’s wife. you know this because you live across the street from your captain?
This is a tough question. In most questions, a savvy candidate will be able to iron out the facts and determine if a wrong doing did in fact occur.
In my mind there is no way you would be able to dictate whether or not they were sleeping together. I could argue it either way. It’s up to you to find an answer that you are comfortable in delivering.
2) you are a rookie firefighter going on an interior attack on a structure fire and your captain orders you to go in. You know if you go in that you will die.
In order to properly answer this question, you must understand some things about the fire service. First of all, there is no way for you to know that you would die. This makes no sense. More importantly, we take care of each other in the fire service. No officer wants to give an order that will result in injury, or death to one of his crew members. We just couldn’t live with ourselves if that happened. Knowing this, we are very careful about the orders we give.
Remember, you are a rookie firefighter who has not been to many fires. There is a plethora of new experiences that you will have. Many of these will scare you such as entering a confined space, breathing through a self-contained breathing apparatus, rappelling off the side of a building, or in this case entering a structure fire.
The fire department is a para-military organization. I do not give an order and keep my fingers crossed that the receiver will follow it. Someone who disobeys a direct order will be terminated, especially a probationary employee.
So, how do you answer the question? It’s really quite simple. I would repeat the order back to my Captain to make sure I heard it correctly. I would them explain to him or her what I saw and why I felt it was unsafe. (For academy graduates here is your time to shine – if it was a fire in a lightweight constructed building that I thought was going to fail, if the fire was exhibiting signs of a Backdraft (make sure you are prepare to answer the signs of a Backdraft), or if I saw growing vent pipes on the roof (if the question directs you to the roof).
Once the Captain sees what you see and still orders you to proceed, you had best follow the order. I WOULD NOT HIRE SOMEONE WHO THOUGHT HE WAS SMARTER THAN MY OFFICERS. We are a paramilitary organization. We could not survive this way.
3) If you see a veteran firefighter taking oil home but when you ask him about it he says we will replace it. What do you do?
This one is pretty simple. You have witnessed someone stealing something from the department. It is imperative that you gather your facts and make certain this is the case.
Once you have ascertained this to be true, you encourage him to tell the Captain about the situation. If he wants, you will go with him. If not, you will go to the Captain on your own.
For the record, the only reason he is going to replace the oil is because you caught him. How long has this been going on, and what else has he taken.
Last edited by BCLepore; 10-19-2008 at 11:24 PM.Paul Lepore
10-20-2008, 03:57 AM #14
- Join Date
- May 2008
- So Cal
FYI, I bought the Capt.'s program a year ago and I am already hired using some of the information I got from his program. A lot of good advice there and here on the boards as well.
I also have bough BCLepore's book as well and this question falls right in line with advice from his book. I know those two get a bad rap sometimes on these boards but if you read their actual comments, they are well thought-out and full of insight.
As far as the questions go, you have to decide what kind of issue it is.
The 1st question:
I would basically stress that it is none of my business. If it were brought up at the department and I was asked if I knew anything, I would tell him exactly what I have seen. But if there's no concrete proof, it's out of your hands.
You're a rookie...what do you know? Not a lot. So the answer is simple. You're freaked out because this is probably one of your first real fires. If there is a specific hazard that you see is life threatening (Fire fully involved, rollover/flashover, smoke stained windows, structure collapse, lightweight building const., etc) point it out to your Capt. If he still tells you to go interior...Do it. He's not going to put you in harms way because he'd rather lose a house and even a victim than to make you one yourself.
Easy. Stealing. Black and white here. Give him the opportunity to fess up to the Capt. himself. If he blows you off, tell him WE should go see the captain. If he does not agree, then he leaves you no choice but to go to the capt. yourself. Stealing, drugs, alcohol, and lying are all black and white issues.
Last edited by emmex510; 10-20-2008 at 06:06 PM.
10-20-2008, 09:42 AM #15
- Join Date
- May 2006
hey guys i really appreciated your guys help on this!! it really cleared up alot seeing wat everyone else put!! once again thanks alot
10-20-2008, 06:02 PM #16
- Join Date
- Apr 2006
Hey guys.. for his #2 question.. sometimes don't they look for the whole "safety" aspect? Like take care of yourself before someone else? I know in school we were always taught to ONLY question a Capt when it involved you thinking you were in harms way. Every dept different though.
However on the side of caution, I'd go with what my Captain says. This question is designed to make you think on your feet, much like the fireground. And as long as he says "flashback" and not "flashover" lol
Last edited by ACfire1; 10-20-2008 at 06:05 PM.
10-21-2008, 02:17 AM #17
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
Question #1 is not "private" nor "it's none of my business" type of question in my opinion. Imagine the wrong rookie candidate approaching his Lt. with knowledge of his misdeeds.......Who would out rank who now? That rookie would have some serious power over his Lt. Bad situation...........
10-21-2008, 03:02 AM #18
Here is my approach on Q #1. Turn the tables. If you were the one being cheated on, wouldnt you want to know?
If you have been in the fire service for some sort of time, chances are you have been involved in a heart-to-heart chat with a crew member in a private setting.
I see nothing wrong with sitting down with a brother and telling him something I think he needs to know. This is done only when I confirm I really saw something of value with my own two eyes.
You need to sit down with this person with some serious evidense or proof- first.
10-24-2008, 12:03 PM #19
First off let me say that it is the users choice to use any of the individuals who sell their wares on this or anyother site. To make a statement that one does not know the answer and "Don't buy Captain Bob's material" is out of line.
Secondly we had a question just about like #2 when we did our testing for Long Beach Fire and it had to do with blind faith in your Captain when you know for a fact that you will die. It had to do with jumping off a 150' bridge to save someone who was drowning. The Captain is yelling "JUMP" and needless to say I had 12 jumpers and they all died. So you need to listen to the question and figure out what they are looking for and remember safety is a major concern.....even if you are a rookie. I know you saying that your Captain would not put you in a situation that would hurt you....but make sure your Captain has all the facts as you enter the burning building.Respectfully,
Lifetime Member CSFA
IAFF Alumni Member
10-24-2008, 04:42 PM #20
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
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