I have been on a volunteer department for 8yrs. I have my FF 1&2,and I am currently taking FO Strategies & tactics then Tech Rescue.
I want to pursue a career in the fire service. I have heard that fire departments dont want any experience in their recruits so they can train them the way they want? If that is true should I write down all my certs on my application? I have ten years left to apply. I will be taking my EMT-b this spring and want to pursue a fire science degree..
Thanks for the help
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Thread: Just a couple of questions
01-22-2009, 09:22 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Just a couple of questions
01-22-2009, 11:01 PM #2Knowledge is the difference between KNOWING and GUESSING
"You guys are good, but you'll never invent anything-it's all been done before."
FF/EMT-IV (medic in training)
01-23-2009, 12:59 AM #3
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- north of San Francisco
I donít think there is a department out there that would choose a person with no experience over one with experience and credentials alone. The problem comes from the more prepared candidates expecting special treatment and to be hire on as a ďTurn KeyĒ firefighter.
We have actually had people show up on the first day of the academy that thought they were going to help teach. They ended up having a harder time getting through because they knew and liked the way they used to do it, not the way we showed them.
But the only way to separate yourself in an interview, and get a shot, is to be as prepared as you can be. Imagine if you went into an interview evenly matched with the people before and after you. The only difference is that you have some volunteer time and F/F1 and F/F2. As long as you present it properly, it stands to reason that you will score higher than them.
Instead of using a cocky approach, I think that your ability to describe your knowledge of what the job is and what is required, knowledge of ladders, pumps, power tools, having pulled hose, and having been part of the culture of the fire service, demonstrates you are qualified to at least get a chance. Telling them that you understand that you donít know how to do it the right way, their way yet, lets them know you arenít going to be an attitude problem. Along with classes and experience at emergencies I am sure you have experience in cleaning bathrooms and being a new guy. Sharing this with them, in balance with you education and experience I think will allow you to deliver the whole package, and that is what they are looking for.
Good Luck, Capt Rob
01-24-2009, 12:43 PM #4
An age old question
Its funny when someone asks do depts. look for candidates with experience or shy away from that. Everyone has an answer that is for everyone else but you just can't make any generalizations in this business. When I was interviewing, I like you had previous experience and had worked hard to position myself well. I tested for two neighboring depts. I made it to the chiefs on both. Funny part was that I got hired by one and didn't get a final offer with the other. We all ended up going through the same academy and their candidates later told me they got hired and the chief liked them because they had no previous experience or "bad habits" that would be hard to break. That specific dept. had some bad history with some of the current guys and wanted to get some clean slates so to speak. Then my dept. said the exact opposite they hired me because of my experience so its unfair to tell you that yes they want exp. or no they don't. Just take every test you can work as hard as you can and start perfecting your oral interview answers. You will continue in the fire service and for the rest of your career you will hear rumors that will never come to be true, and some that will. Its the nature of the fire service. Just take every test you can and keep doing what your doing, more times than not they will look at your experience in a great light. And since you will have practiced your interview skills you will have great answers when it comes to questions of whether or not you are teachable, approachable, and open to criticism. Which of course you are right?? Good LuckCL
01-24-2009, 02:05 PM #5
Ummm- You "heard" it from "them" and "they". Here is something you should know- hearing it from "them" and "they said" is not always accurate or true. Please dont believe everything you hear from everyone. That includes this board.
First- Fire Departments across the land want different Candidates for different reasons. Most want some level of training, experience and education. To shoot down what you heard, some departments out there only hire "Lateral" positions. This means you must have paid, flll time expereince. Most like to see some Explorer, Reserve pr PCF time and working on an ambulance supporting ALS is helpful too.
Second- Very few FDs would like fresh Candidates with no expereince. LA City comes to mind. They like to hire accomplished people from a non-fire service background, including military expereince, semi-pro athletes, etc.
Last- Ok, now you want to be full-time. I recommend first finding out where you want to live and work. Pick a spot to land, plant roots and get established. Then find out what the wants and requirements of that area are. Do they want medics or will your FF1 and FF2 work there? They wont in CA.
There are no absolutes and "only ways" in the nation's fire service.
Bryon- Please remember that the 8 years on as a Vollie is nice, but you are not fully trained yet and everyone/anyone can be a Vollie. I am not shooting down that exeperience, but you are now approaching a starting point. You have to re-think that you are starting over now, a Rookie. Its hard, but that the game.
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-25-2009 at 07:13 PM.
01-24-2009, 07:01 PM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
Don't believe for a minute that fire departments want to hire someone without experience so they can "train them their way". If this were the case, why would anyone put themself through fire science courses or a basic fire academy?
Be aware of free advice. This is some of the worst advice I have heard in a long time. If it doesn't sound right, it probably isn't.
01-25-2009, 03:47 PM #7
Clear up confusion
Never did I want you to think that fire depts. look for people with no experience, to clarify some depts. I have personnally tested for before being hired wanted people with life experience, but didn't care if they had previous fire experience. Seattle is a great example of that, they hire numerous candidates including friends of mine with no previous "fire experience" but a large amount of life experience. There philosophy is that we want to train you "our way" not their way and past experience can hurt some who have a hard time adapting to new ways and for others it can be a god send during a stressful academy. So to make my comment clear, there is no clear cut answer to that question, every interview panel or chief hiring looks for different areas that they want in new hires, the more you have in ways of experience on and off the job, will help not hinder you.CL
01-26-2009, 02:38 PM #8
Last edited by ffbam24; 02-05-2009 at 12:25 PM.
01-27-2009, 11:52 AM #9
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
I don't really think Seattle has a preference one way or the other about past experience. My class was roughly 50/50 of past experience and no past experience.
As far as oral boards go and listing your experience my advice is to list it. In my oral boards I always said something like "currently I am a volunteer at x department. This has given me the experience of throwing ladders, pulling hose, etc. I believe this will help me in YOUR academy because I won't be focusing on what a nozzle is or how to thread a coupling - I will be focusing on learning what your instructors are teaching me" And my number one rule in the academy was never ever to say "at xyz we did it this way". I think I succeeded in that one
01-27-2009, 10:54 PM #10
I haven't used any other names and haven't tried to sell myself on my posts, if you are referring to those who post extremely long posts that seem slightly generic than I would agree wholeheartedly. I simply gave an opinion based on some similar experiences I had on both sides of the coin. Anyone who is safe and still alive in the fire service knows that the guy who thinks he knows it all is the guy about to get injured and never would I proclaim to be that. I offer local services to local guys, nothing more if you don't agree with that, so be it. But I have had several friends go through Seattle's academy and saw many guys get hired with little to no experience, is that the norm, who knows its just what happened then, as I stated. I certainly don't think that makes me an expert. And the reason I charge for going through mock oral boards with guys is so I can justify the time away from my wife. Go onto any oral board coaching service, and I can name a couple that are on firehouse much more frequently than I and they offer over 4x what I charge. Maybe you should save some of the energy for those. As you can tell by my profile I have only sent a couple of dozen posts and that would certainly not make me a person using forums for advertising, again you don't need to look far if that is what angers you in the fire service.CL
01-28-2009, 06:20 PM #11
Being selfless is one of the desirable traits of a firefighter.
Last edited by ffbam24; 02-05-2009 at 12:24 PM.
01-28-2009, 06:35 PM #12
By all means, when applying for a department, list all your certifications on the application if there is room (within reason). If there isn't, don't try to jumble them all in there. Just list the pertinent ones to the job you're applying for.
FFI & II; great. If they have technical rescue teams and you have specific certs; even better. You may even use a separate sheet of paper (if the instructions say to list them separately). If that's the case, then make sure you have them typed out neatly.
MikeyD has a good advice on how to approach that if/when you get to an oral board.
01-28-2009, 08:28 PM #13
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Thanks for all the input. I am going to go get all the training that I can to better serve our community . I suppose that if that dings me on a FT department then maybe I wouldn't have liked working for them anyhow.
Thanks again for all your help.
01-28-2009, 11:57 PM #14
Forums shouldn't be soapboxes
We could write a whole thread about helping people get hired and what if any charge is fair or not. There are plenty of people out there who use there dept. name and or rank to validate what they say as fact, I don't believe that is the best way or most accurate way to show people that you are legitimate at anything that you do. I don't talk about people I help because first off I promise them my utmost discretion and they appreciate that. I have helped lots of people with oral boards or common sense applications in the hiring process and to be honest alot of the oral board itself has nothing to do with firefighting, its about body language personal appearance and presentation, also on how you speak. I have a college degree in speech and communications and feel very qualified to work with people. If anyone didn't feel comfortable with me helping them, then they are not obligated too. NO offense but the age old statement about not having enough time in the fire service means I don't have enough experience on something is plain silly. I work with 30 year veterans who are much less proficient on calls and don't take pride in what they do. Does it mean that they are more prepared to go on a call than I am because I have been a full-time professional for 7 years not 30. You tell me when I can become legititamate. 10 years? I mean really its a trivial tiresome argument. Again if you have a problem with people coming onto forums using it as a place for free advertising, in many ways I would agree with you. Also when people give advice or statements of opinion as fact I would also tend to say its not right. But believe me having only posted less than 20x online I can tell you, you are looking at the wrong person to throw the first stone. Sorry you feel how you do, but you are upset at the wrong person and make some fairly unproven odd statements of fact yourself. Again your opinion is fine but doesn't need to be spewn on a forum for all to hear. If you actually had a personal problem with any of my opinion you could have easily sent me a private message instead of using the forum for your soapbox.CL
01-29-2009, 02:56 PM #15
Having the certifications is a start, but they don't get you hired.
Coach, did you just actually say in a public forum that your 30 year members are less proficient and have less pride than you? Sure hope they don't find this thread.
01-29-2009, 06:58 PM #16
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Ok,I will do some searches on here about taking the oral board interviews. As you can see I don't post alot I like to read and try to help myself first. If I can't find what I looking for then I will post again so maybe you guys can steer me in the right direction.
01-30-2009, 12:52 AM #17
Good luck Bryon last thing you need is a couple of disagreeable firefighters steering your forum in the wrong direction, good luck there is lots of good help on here for free that will definately steer you in the right direction and as somebody mentioned somewhere having close friends and family give you feedback is always better than from someone you don't know. Family steers you right most all of the time. Good luck in your quest. You too FFBam hope this didn't give you an ulcer. CheersCL
01-30-2009, 12:52 PM #18
Ulcers? LOL! Okay, you are funny.
I voiced my opinion. Don't worry, not going to stalk you with every post you make.
Good luck Bryon. Don't hesitate to ask if you don't find an answer after a search.
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