In light of the recent headlines and those not so recent I pose a question: Should there be psychological exams as part of the entrance procedure for volunteer fire departments? Should those career departments which do not use psychs start? You tell me. I feel the headlines speak for themselves.
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05-17-2001, 06:19 PM #1RADFIREFirehouse.com Guest
Psychs for Fire Service...Career and Vol.
05-17-2001, 10:12 PM #2Captain GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
Psychological examinations have been part of my Department's entrance requirements since the late 1980's. We work in a business that is unique...one moment we are laughing, joking and being part an extended family as part of firehouse life, the next we are experiencing sheer terror when we roll up to a well involved dwelling with a report of occupants trapped.
Unfortunately, the headlines lately have given firefighters a black eye. I beleive that a psychological exam is well worth the cost to the community. You have to know if the brother or sister you are working with can handle the job...not only physically but mentally as well.
Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
[This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 05-17-2001).]
05-17-2001, 10:27 PM #3Plug UglyFirehouse.com Guest
I guess it is better to have a psych exam than not but it can never be foolproof. I think what Middletown NJ police chief John Pollinger said about a local fireman accused of setting fires says it best, "Unfortunately we have to recruit from the human race."
05-17-2001, 10:39 PM #4Eng522ineFirehouse.com Guest
Personally, I feel that psych exams should be mandatory. Can you possibly measure the impact of weeding out even a few potential arsonists or one guy that might go postal after a little bit of emotional stress? Having one of your own being charged as an arsonist has got to take an immeasurable toll on the company's morale, not to mention their public image and perception. Another area that I think we could improve on is making counseling available to members on a demand basis and also when an officer believes he/she sees a member approaching burn out or having some type of job related difficulty. CISD is also a great idea. Stay safe all.
05-17-2001, 10:56 PM #5AdzeFirehouse.com Guest
Gonzo: Can you email at firstname.lastname@example.org with details about your psych exam? I had posted a long time ago inquiring about this, and did not receive any responses. Thanks
05-20-2001, 02:07 PM #6jedge168Firehouse.com Guest
I think it's an extremely good idea. I just joined a new career EMS service and a psych exam was part of my pre-employment exam. From experience with some people I've worked with in the last 17 or so years, it definitely couldn't hurt.
05-21-2001, 09:48 AM #7Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
I don't neccessarily oppose the exams.
Certainly pysch exams in career departments combined with them primarily hiring from mid 20 to early 30 year olds (i.e. more maturity) help.
Most of the firefighter-arson cases in the fire service involve young people -- in their teens or early 20s. How effective are the pysch tests on this age group? I don't know...but it is a time when people are changing rapidly.
Even with accurate pysch tests, would someone how doesn't pass at 18 pass at 21? And what do you do then...never allow people to reapply, or always have that shadow of a doubt in the back of your mind, "He didn't pass the first time..."
Not discouraging them, but I'd need a lot of questions answered to accept them.
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