1. #1
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    Feb 2005

    Default Help with oral board ??

    Hi guys, I have a oral interview tomorrow. I have been studying for it but, one question is bothering me. The question about drug use or stealing, example would be "you think a firefighter has a drug problem or has stolen from the department, what would you do?". Can someone give me any advise on how to answer this question, properly? I have no tolerance for drugs use or stealing, and would think you would want to report it to a superior, but thought I would see if you guys had any ideas. Thanks, Chad
    Last edited by mx920cj; 12-29-2005 at 01:10 AM. Reason: bad chose of words

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    Mar 2003


    First off, I would rename the title of this topic.

    Secondly, I have been hammered with both of my responses. I have said go directly to him and I got hammered because what if it ended there and the guy was drunk.

    Or I have gone to the superior and that was incorrect.

    My advice, and the others may know better, would be to approach the guy and say something like "hey, I saw you did it, you need help. I think you should approach an officer. You can either do it without me or I'm gonna take you and we will do it together."

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    Changed the title, bad wording for sure. Thanks for the reply, your response makes alot of sense, and seems to cover all the bases. Thanks again, Chad

  4. #4
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    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Scenarios

    It's amazing how many candidates are still working at the 11th hour on what is probably going to be 100% of the score to get hired. The oral board.

    These are scenario questions. The first thing you want to do is verify what you suspect. Without first doing this you could get eaten alive.


    Do you think you have what it takes to answer situation questions correctly?....answer this (in less that an hour).

    What would you do as a rookie FF? If your Captain asks you to come inside his office to review your final evaluation of probation. When you notice a smell of alcohol on his breath?


    This is a perfect example how you can be fooled on a scenario question. I believe there are only 30 oral board questions. They can be disguised in hundreds of different ways. This is one of the disguises for drinking on the job.

    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 oral board questions you already have answers for.

    This is one of the simple tools we have to uncomplicate the oral board process.

    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.

    So take off the disguise of that this is your captain. Dissect the question down to its simplest form; one word. What is this about? Right, drinking. What side of the line is this on? Right or left. If it's on the left side of the line what do we do? Drinking is not tolerated. Right again, ask questions to determine if your suspicions are correct (are you drinking?). If so, you go straight up( why don't we go to our supervisor) no matter who or what rank is on the other side of the table; and stick to your answer no matter what. YOU WILL NEVER BE WRONG! TRUST ME!

    Fantasy land:

    The oral interview is like fantasy land. It is not like the real world. Your answers in the oral board might not be what you would do in real life. Donít fall into the trap. The board understands the rules. You canít fool them. If you try, the board will crank up the music and let you dance your fool head off. Donít try to intellectualize and bring heavy logic to this process. If you do, someone, who understands the rules in fantasy land better will get the badge. So, please follow the yellow brick road rules in fantasy land and donít look behind the curtain.

    Here's another way this question can be disguised:

    You go in the locker room and see a fellow firefighter drinking something that looks like alcohol. What do you do? The clone, soap opera answer would be: I would try to get him into the day room, play cards and try to smell his breath; or I would have him go home sick, or have another firefighter come into relieve him.

    These are all soap opera answers. Unfortunately they are taught in fire academies and fire technology programs. They will make you a "Clone" candidate. Don't go on this journey. They are insulting to the oral board. You will loose valuable points here. We are intelligent beings on the other side of the table. Give us credit for that. Don't start a soap opera.

    Ask a question that would verify your suspicions and give a direct answer; not a soap opera.

    Understand that if the oral board fires up a question that sounds like drinking on the job, it's going to be about drinking on the job. If it's a question that sounds like taking drugs on the job, it's going to be about taking drugs on the job; It's not going to be aspirin. If the question sounds like it's about stealing on the job, it's going to be about stealing on the job. If they fire up a question that sounds like sexual harassment, that's what it's going to be about, or they wouldn't bring it up.

    If they fire up these questions, take off the disguise ask questions to verify what you suspect decide what side of the line it belongs and then take action in fantasy land. Don't be like so many candidates by starting a soap opera.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire ďCaptain BobĒ Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


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    Nov 2005


    Let me make this as real to life as I can.

    As a Chief Officer I am not looking for a candidate who is going to cover up something he knows is wrong. Conversely, I expect a candidate to gather the facts BEFORE he accuses. Just because the question makes it APPEAR the firefighter has done something wrong doesnít mean he has. I canít tell you how often I get involved in an investigation about a firefighter who has supposedly done something wrong only to find after an investigation he or she is innocent.

    The question would sound something like:

    You are a rookie firefighter. What would you do if you believed you saw a senior firefighter stealing a can of car wax?

    First of all I believe firefighters are honest and ethical. I believe there is a reasonable explanation. There is no way a firefighter is going to steal something.

    As a firefighter I have an obligation to make sure there is nothing wrong going on. I would approach the firefighter and ask him about the can of wax. I would expect him to give me a reasonable explanation such as he already paid for it or he has been asked to take it to another station. If this was the case I would do nothing further because as I mentioned previously I believe all firefighters are honest and ethical.

    If, he told me to mind my own business or to get lost I would now become uncomfortable. This now appears that he may be doing something unethical. I would tell him that one way or another the Captain needs to find out about the situation. Ideally I can convince him to go to the Captain. If he wants I will go with him. If not I will go on my own.

    Follow up question:
    The firefighter realizes his mistake and offers to put it back.

    I would still make sure he brings it to the Captainís attention. I have an obligation to the department, the community and to myself to do the right thing. I am not going to compromise my values over this or anything else. He has a problem and we need to get help for him.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief

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