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  1. #1
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    Default Advice appreciated...MN resident interviewing with CDF

    Hello to all, I'm in a bind here..
    quick backround....
    I live in Minnesota, 23 years old, no commitments other than a little credit card debt. I'm about halfway done with my Fire Science degree here. I really want to get my foot in the door, however there are very few full time fire departments in this state and when they hire, applications can reach to the thousands mark (at least from what I know). All the on-call and volunteer depts. really want a commitment of at least 3 years-i've tested for 2.
    I was born in Sacramento and I have family there, and I'd like to move back. I applied to 11 northern CDF units, I got the first letter back today- from Mendocino Unit. They have an interview scheduled for me on March 9th. I'm very pleased that they accepted my app. I'm Minnesota certified Firefighter 1. I've taken the FF2 class, but not the state test. I've had haz-mat operational, and a few other small credit fire science classes. I'm NREMT-B as well.

    Do any of you think I have a realistic chance at being hired? Will they take my current certificates into account or do you think it's all going to depend on the oral interview?

    I do want it bad however being a student and not making a lot of money, it will be hard to come up with the money to fly out there for just an interview. If I had several interviews in a weeks time, I could justify it, but I havent heard from any other units. This will be very expensive but I'd do it if I knew I stood a chance. I know I'd be a great firefighter, I'd do my absolute best. however I'm not overly confident, and I'm still realistic...part of me thinks it's too early especially since I live 2,000 miles away, but the other part says "you don't know till you try, nothing ventured, nothing gained"...In the end I'll decide whats best for me, but I'd really appreciate any other viewpoints from all of you, maybe get more insight. otherwise....thanks for listening (or reading)


  2. #2
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    Go for it.The fact that you traveled 2000 miles might impress them.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber Golzy12's Avatar
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    Were are you goning for school, I'm a MN resident as well I'm going through Hennepin Technical College for my Fire Science degree. I think everyone has a shot at becoming a firefighter it's just a matter of how good you are at the hiring process, and chances are you won't get good at the process unless you get practice go out for every FD you can. As for the POC fd's in MN, chances are if you join your going to be on the department for more then 2 years if you plan being a member of that POC FD as long as your testing for a full time dept. I takes the average white male 3-5 years to get a FT gig.

  4. #4
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    Golzy Im at HTC as well, what classes are you in this semester? I'm only doing ambulance ops and the required academics for fire science this term because I'm behind on those...

  5. #5
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    Well first of all what you describe for getting hired in MN is not much differant from California, with the exception that there are many paid departments. It is not unusual for several thousand to apply to the larger departments. In recent years there have been decent sized hirings of 20 or 30 but 10 years ago when I was testing it was not uncommon to have 1000 or more people apply for a department only hiring 1 or 2.

    I don't know exact numbers but you could expect to be up against 100 to several hundred candidates for a seasonal position.

    Have you considered the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife or National Park Service?

    These rarely require a trip out unless you are actually coming to work, we usually do phone interviews if we are seriously looking at hiring you.

    The pay is not as much as CDF but its not too far behind at the seasonal level, we also have inexpensive housing available in many locations. With CDF you would need to find a place to stay on your days off. Housing in much of California is insanely expensive even in rural areas.

    I don't want to discourage you from trying to get hired with CDF, but to be realistic there is a very good chance your trip would be wasted, it just depends on what kind of risk your willing to take. I don't think your certs would particularly stand out since California won't recognize them, but the fact you were willing to come all that way for an interview would certainly make you stand out in the interview. CDF also has their own 67 hour wildland academy, many locals will already have this.

    If you are interested in any of the other wildland agencies I mentioned I would be happy to provide more information on applying, there is still time to apply. Do you have the basic 32 wildland training? (S130, S190, I100 & L180?)

  6. #6
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    Nonsurfin- I really appreciate the info, and yes I am interested in other agencies/services/departments. I have no wildland training. If you're able to list some links, that'd be awesome. I'll search around as well. thanks again for the info.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Golzy12's Avatar
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    Right now I'm taking
    Tech writing
    Incident command
    Fire inspector advanced
    Public speaking
    Managing FD personelle
    Fire Admin advanced
    Orientation to emergency management

    what classes are you taking?

  8. #8
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    Many of the Federal agencies will provide the required wildland training when you are hired, the EMT is a plus, only 1st aid / CPR is required and thats for sawers, we do like to have an EMT on the crew though. Career potential is somewaht limited but the seasonal positions are a great way to get somewhat established in a new area, at least you have a job waiting when you arrive even if it is limited to 4-6 months at a time.

    All of these agencies are in California, they are also in most other states in the west. They have alot of information about work locations, types of jobs and how to apply on their websites. It can be very helpful to contact potential supervisors since the hiring decisions are often made at the crew supervisor level. There are contact numbers in the websites, although station numbers are not listed if you call a district office and ask to talk to someone in fire they will often get you in contact with a crew supervisor who actually has an opening, thenyou just need to explain your interest and try to sell yourself just like an interview but its normally a little bit more relaxed.

    US Forest Service

    http://www.fs.fed.us/

    http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/


    Bureau of Land Management

    http://www.blm.gov/nhp/index.htm

    http://www.fire.blm.gov/


    US Fish & Wildlife

    http://www.fws.gov/

    http://fire.fws.gov/


    National Park Service

    http://www.nps.gov/

    http://www.nps.gov/applications/fire/index.cfm


    Also the Office of Personnel Management lists jobs

    http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/

    Search under series 0462 or 0455 for the wildland jobs.

    You also might try searching under series 0081 for structure firefighter jobs (these are usually civilian Department of Defense jobs), if MN is an IFSAC or Proboard state your FF1/2 will carry over, many states are not IFSAC Proboard so if MN is this can be a big advantage if applying to a DoD job in a non IFSAC / Proboard state.

    These websites have most of the information you will need, but if you have more questions I'll do what I can to answer them.

    Most of these agencies have an online application, one thing to consider when applying is be very specific when you list your experience, the first hurdle is to get past the screeners, these people are not firefighters so you need to be very specific when describing your relavent experience, you can not assume they know firefighters use SCBA or Chainsaws etc, they will have a list of stuff to compare to your application, just think of it as a written interview instead of an application and you should be fine.

  9. #9
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    You also might try contacting the MN Department of Natural Resources about the basic 32 class, while it isn't required to get hired it certainly won't hurt. It is usually a week long class or sometimes a couple of weekends. If they don't know it by the name basic 32 just ask about basic wildland firefighting classes, the ones you will want are S130 wildland firefighter, S190 intro to wildland fire behavior, I-100 intro to the incident command system and L-180 human factors on the fireline. These are usually taught as one class. I understand MN DNR hires seasonal firefighters as well but it doesn't sound like they have any real career potential in fire, however they may be a good place to find some training local to you.

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/index.html

    Also if you don't already know it wildland is quite a bit different from structural fire departments, both can be great places to work but the station life is often quite different.

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