RFDExployer has sparked my interest because it sounds he was just like me 20 years ago. I joined the Air Force to become a fire fighter in the hopes I could travel the world and return to California to become a fire fighter. I chose to stay in and make it a career, I traveled the world and then some. Now I have 20 years as a Air Force Fire Fighter and have numerous advanced certs. Fire Officer III, Inspector III etc.... I retire this summer and have filled out many CA city job applications for fire inspectors, battalion chief and so on. 20 plus applications and only two asked me if I was a veteran. Frankly I am beginning to feel that my military service means nothing in California as obviously my IFSAC and DOD certs neither do.
Is it just the same old certification problem known nation wide? A New York Fire Fighter is not certified in Florida and a Florida Fire Fighter is not Certified in California and on and on and on. Is it true California fire fighters are also feeling less marketable because also?
Any Chief Officers out there in California want to give me some advise?
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04-20-2007, 05:46 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
- Eglin AFB, Florida
question For California Chief Officers
04-20-2007, 07:30 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
I work for a major So. Cal fire department as a BC. My department does not take laterals so I am not an expert on the subject. I can tell you, however, that my California certifications were not recognized by the military.
There are a couple of So. Cal fire departments that are open for lateral BC filing. Shoot me an email and I would be happy to share the info with you.
04-21-2007, 02:43 PM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- San Francisco Bay Area
Oral Board Skills
Iím not a chief. I did act as a BC for several years.
I donít believe itís all about the certs, experience, military or where ever life has led you. I really believe that where you make the cut or not has everything to do with if you learned how to take a firefighter oral board interview that is like no other.
I've seen candidates with great credentials. They had degrees, certificates, paramedic, volunteer, military, experience and every other merit badge you could imagine. But they couldnít present the package at the interview. And, if you can't present the package, you don't get the job . . . Period! Never! Ever!
If youíre passing the written and agility, which are usually pass/fail, and youíre not placing high enough on the oral, thatís where the problem exists.
What most candidates do if they donít place high enough on the oral is go back and try to pack on more credentials. ďOh, I have to finish my degree or get through that academyĒ They do little to nothing in gaining the skills for the oral board, which is usually 100% of the score. If you donít do anything to improve your oral board skills nothing is going to change, you will never, ever see that badge. The oral board is for all the marbles. This is where the rubber meets the road.
Stop looking in the magnifying glass at others . . . and start looking in the mirror at your self. Thatís where the problem is.
As Steve Prziborowski, Fire Captain - Santa Clara County Fire Department wrote:
Do what you have to do be more marketable so you can take more tests and have something more to offer a department, but remember that it all comes down to that 15 to 30 minute oral interview. I've seen some awesome candidates with resumes packed full of accomplishments that couldn't sell them self in an interview to even make the top 50%.
If youíre an officer trying to get on another department as an officer or chief check this out: http://www.eatstress.com/chieftim.htm
Can you imagine a Navy Seal Medic who couldnít get hired?
Yep, thatís right. This super qualified candidate couldnít get hired. Why? He couldnít pass the oral high enough to get called back.
The cornerstone of what we do is to convince candidates to lace their oral board answers with personal life experiences. This alone will separate you from the other candidates. Because no one can tell your story. No one.
I coached this Navy Seal. Like many candidates he was stuck in the process. He had a lot of clone garbage. At one point he held up one of those books with all the answers and said, "Should I still use the answers out of this book?" I told him, "Not if he wanted to get hired." On one of his answers I stopped him. OK, now tell me a personal story that can relate to this answer? The story he starts with we throw out. The second story too. No, no, not the clone stuff. Tell me your personalized story that no one else can tell. The light went on.
He regrouped. Then he started telling the story of being on a mission at nignt in Afghanistan. He took me on the journey with him. The hairs on my arms and neck stood up. It was exciting, emotional. He relived it. I said, oh, my god. Thatís it. Rick said, you mean I can use that? Please do. It delivers the point in answering this oral board question. It will convince the panel you not only know the answer, you have lived it!
At the end of the coaching session he had a new killer presentation. All his own stuff. Not a clone of everyone else. We didn't give him anything he didn't already have. He was just shown where it was.
I told him if youíre not hired on your next interview you will be picked up soon by someone else. His next interview was the following week. I told Rick theyíre going to be ****ing all over themselves now trying to hired you before someone else does.
Rick had his next oral the following week. The next day he was called back for the chiefís oral the following week.
On Tuesday at 4:30 pm my phone rings. Itís Rick. You were right. I got the call.
What got him hired? Not packing on more certs. He already had what it took. He just needed the necessary oral board skills.
You can read the complete story here: http://www.eatstress.com/cantgethired.htm______________________________ _______________
"Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"
Fire "Captain Bob"
04-22-2007, 01:48 PM #4
ddietz- I am not a Chief Officer in California. But between Bob and Paul, I guess I might be one of the CA regulars here.
I can relay some of the information I have and seen. Overall ranks, California Fire members ARE very marketable out of the state. Numerous people have gone on to the Nevada/Las Vegas area, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah and other places. Granted, some of those people had the magic "P-card", but thats not always the deal. Some Chief Officers move arond as well.
California's Fire Marshal simply doesnt recongnize out of state cert because the standards are different. That doesnt say your non-CA are watered down, just different. Most people have to start in this state and then stay here.
As for coming over to a BC position without CA paid experience, I would have to be very honest with you and say it would be very near impossible.
If youre still in the AF, can you transfer over to CA? It would be a start. I would also like to commend a few options-
-Look at STATE jobs. (CA, NV, AZ, UT) They sometimes ask for less specific req's to apply for some positions.
-Look for the hidden back doors.
I tell this to hundreds of people and I usually get the blow off of "I dont want to work there or do that!" I say to myself, well then- "You must not want it bad enough." Perfect example- The state of Nevada has been screaming to fill their multiple CONSERVATION CREW SUPERVISOR positions. Hmmm- Full time fire line supervisor job, safety retirement (3%@50), strike team out to fires anywhere in the state and the option to promote/transfer to FF, Capt., BC and other jobs throught out the silver state. And count on some OT pay as well. Any fire job sounds good to me vs. flipping burgers.
And some other factors-
-Nevada does give Vet. credit.
-You will be doulble dipping pay wise. (current pay + retirement check)
-You can punch out after only 5 years of service. (vested)
-NO STATE INCOME TAX in Nevada!
-Low cost of living. (housing, food, gas, etc...)
Here are the links-
Con. Crew Sup. 3
Con. Crew Sup. 2
There are lots of options. Email or PM me if you want the info.
Last edited by CALFFBOU; 04-22-2007 at 02:21 PM.
04-22-2007, 09:28 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
- Eglin AFB, Florida
CALFFBOU- Thanks best advice so far. I am looking into those back doors allot and I have come close a few times, just getting a little frustrated. I just recently went to a class with a CA fire guy who stated some CA guys are not feeling as marketable either. I was stationed in CA for four years so I do hold CA minimal certs. Thanks again for the advice. I'd like to drop you a e-mail if I could.
04-23-2007, 05:12 PM #6
dd- I tried to PM you and its disabled. Please feel free to PM me.
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