1. #1
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    Default Oral board questions

    Not sure how to approach these type of questions. Any advice?

    1. How would you make firefighters in your department more aware of the different cultures in the community?
    2. What do you think about affirmative action?

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    Cultural diversity questions are increasingly popular in fire department interviews. The reality is that we serve very diverse neighborhoods. In fact, some of our busiest stations are in the most diverse communities. A fire department that understands its community and is active within it is much more accepted by it. Being involved in the community is a very important part of the fire service. This is just one area where volunteer fire departments are much better than municipal departments. Volunteers from within the community make up the fire department. Conversely, many paid firefighters commute from outside the community. Once their shift is over they return to their homes.
    Having firefighters who live within the community and are involved in civic activities such as coaching youth sports, neighborhood watch, men's and women's organizations all help with the fire department's image.
    Affirmative action is a difficult question to ask an entry level firefighter. This is a tough question for a minority candidate as well as a Caucasian candidate. I can tell you as someone who has been in the fire service for 27 years that diversity is important. The question is how does the fire department increase its diversity without decreasing its standards? This question will spark plenty of debate.


    As I said above, this is a difficult topic to ask an entry level candidate. Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote that is geared toward aspiring Fire Officers. I think it may help you.

    Answer:
    I understand affirmative action is very important to the fire department, and we have a very difficult time recruiting and retaining minority candidates. I have given a lot of thought to this topic. I think one of the things we can do is we can be much more proactive in our recruitment. The fire department has always been a very popular profession in certain demographic circles within our community. In other circles, members of our community do not know anything about the fire department. As a matter of fact, a high percentage of firefighters have friends or relatives who were on the job. That is why they became firefighters, simply because they were exposed to it.

    One of the best places to recruit is at the local high school. We need to speak to the high school during the annual career day. It is important to talk to the young men and women and expose them to the fire department career, show them what we are all about. Hopefully the department has an explorer and a firefighter reserve program. In an ideal system we can channel the students toward the explorer program during their high school years. Once they graduate from a basic fire academy (or from a department sponsored training program), they can ride on the apparatus, which also augments our staffing. This would be our opportunity to get them at a young age before they make some life-changing decisions that would impact their ability to pass the background check and, namely, experimenting with drugs or some type of criminal record. It has been proven that if we can give them a goal and explain to them the consequences of drugs or making poor choices at this point in their life, it could impact them forever. We have a better opportunity to get them through our stringent background investigation in the future.

    The next thing we can do in addition to the recruitment at the schools is recruiting at the local colleges. Local colleges are a great place for us to recruit, particularly the athletic teams. Athletic teams consist of men and women who are in very good physical condition and are intelligent because they are in college. They understand the team concept and the importance of putting the needs of others before themselves. Another bonus for recruiting in college athletic teams is that there is a good chance to increase our diversity.

    Another good place to recruit is in the military. Military men and women in today’s society, coming home from deployments overseas, are fabulous potential firefighters. They are in good physical condition and they certainly understand code and honor. They understand doing a job and doing it right and they are used to working in tight quarters for long periods of time. They are used to working with people from different backgrounds, and they really understand and have a sense of duty and honor.

    So these are the places I believe we could increase our affirmative action goals. I think we could be very active in our communities and really help with our goals.

    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    AspiringFirefighters.com
    Last edited by BCLepore; 03-18-2012 at 11:40 PM.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore View Post
    Cultural diversity questions are increasingly popular in fire department interviews. The reality is that we serve very diverse neighborhoods. In fact, some of our busiest stations are in the most diverse communities. A fire department that understands its community and is active within it is much more accepted by it. Being involved in the community is a very important part of the fire service. This is just one area where volunteer fire departments are much better than municipal departments. Volunteers from within the community make up the fire department. Conversely, many paid firefighters commute from outside the community. Once their shift is over they return to their homes.
    Having firefighters who live within the community and are involved in civic activities such as coaching youth sports, neighborhood watch, men's and women's organizations all help with the fire department's image.
    Affirmative action is a difficult question to ask an entry level firefighter. This is a tough question for a minority candidate as well as a Caucasian candidate. I can tell you as someone who has been in the fire service for 27 years that diversity is important. The question is how does the fire department increase its diversity without decreasing its standards? This question will spark plenty of debate.
    Thanks for the advice chief. Affirmative action is such a sensitive area, but you do bring up a good point. By the way, it was a pleasure listening to you speak at the seminar at las positas college last month. Very informative.

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