1. #1
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    Default Made it through the Written and physical test, looking for advise.

    Hello all.

    My name is Larry and I am from North Texas. Here is a little about me.

    I have been a Volunteer FF/NREMT-B for 4 years with a small rural department.

    I passed the NREMT-I written test October of last year. I have not taken the practical yet.



    I have tested for my local Municipality three times:

    1.) November 2002. Didn't pass written, didn't go onto the physical.

    2.) December 2005. Passed written with a 76. Made top ten in the physical test. Made Oral and written assessment interviews, I did not make the Chief's interview. Didn't get hired.

    3.) June 16, 2007. I passed the written test with a 78 and passed the physical test, I was told I was number three in the physical. The Oral and written assessment interviews are coming up shortly.

    I am worried about my low written test score. Although, I plan on blowing them away in the Oral assessment interview. That is were you all come in, hopefully.

    I have turned in my Personal History statement.

    Do any of you have any advise for this next step?

    I was told that there are 53 other people that are moving on to the next round. The City is said to be hiring 12 for the Academy.

    Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    Larry

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    i dont know where you live but out here in southern california, most departments do the written test as a pass/fail, if you get invited to the next round (in your case, the PAT) then your written test score is done with. Like most other people say, the interview is where you put your all marbles. the interview is when you get rated. i wouldnt worry about your written test score and focus on the interview.
    if you are 1 of 54 and there is 12 positions open?
    id say the odds are with you, 2/5th of the people are going to get a positon. give me those odds anyday.

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    Default The proof is in the badge!

    Larry:
    If you didnít pass the last oral to go on to the chiefs interview thatís where the problem is.

    The biggest mistake, job interview candidates make in this situation is when they know people on the panel, they don't think they need to do all the work. They figure everybody already knows about them, and they don't have to say anything. Or, entry level, "It's on my resume, it's on my application, I don't have to say everything." If it doesn't come out of that slot between your nose and your chin (your mouth), you don't get credit. You might as well have never shown up. This is how important it is to be auditioning for the part. You play your part no matter who's sitting there.

    I can't tell you how many times I've talked to volunteers from departments they've waited for years trying for that golden opportunity to get hired in that community as a full-paid fire fighter. Then they've blown it. Because they went in and saw Paul was on the board. He knows Paul, they bowl. Randy over there, why he's married to Randy's cousin. My gosh, he knows everything about me. They come out, and somebody else gets their badge! It devastates them.

    They failed because they didn't present the package. The other candidates did. It's show time, ta dah. You have to bring out the top hat, the cane, step it out, and give the board the complete show. It's you! It's the bright lights. It's Broadway! You gotta make it happen. You gotta make the magic.

    When I said this at a recent firefighters convention, Dan shared the following:

    ...I went through exactly through what he's talking about, at a promotion in my department for this position of lieutenant. I knew all the people on the board including a division chief. I was thinking, "Geez, I've known these guys for 16 years. And, I don't have to say anything, they know me." During my critique afterwards, the division chief said, "You know, Dan, you've got so much going for you, but you didn't blow your own horn." If you would have blown your own horn, you would have said all the things that you got going for you, you'd have had it. Since you didn't say a word, and I can't give you the badge." If you don't say it, you don't get credit for it, period.

    The defense rests.

    So, Larry, how can you make it happen this time around to get one of those 12 jobs?

    What tools can you use to practice and rehearse your oral board answers? Right, a video camera. You need to see how you look in action. But you are trapped with a video camera. Mirror? Sure standing in front of a mirror is good. But you are missing the most valuable tool of all. A hand-held recorder.

    I received a call from one of our candidates. He has made it to a few oral boards and one Chiefís Oral without success. He has been invited to the San Diego oral board and wanted to set up a private coaching session. In just a few moments I was aware of something critical. Then I asked him if he was using a tape recorder to practice? Like most people (99.7%), he hemmed and hawed and finally said, ďWell, no. But, Iím thinking about it.Ē

    Even though we hammer and hammer the point home that you have to use a recorder and hear how you sound, he still didnít get the message. His answers were garbage. Many applicants want this job so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. I guess that doesnít include using a tape recorder to get your timing, inflection, volume, where to cut out material, get rid of the uhís and other pause fillers, or to find out if you really sound like Donald Duck. You need to get married to your hand-held tape recorder. You need to hear what the oral board is going to hear out of your mouth. Itís narrows the distance between you and the badge youíre looking for!

    What is the first thing a candidate says when he hears his voice on a tape recorder? Yep. Thatís not me. Yes, it is McFly. You need to get married to a hand held tape recorder and practice everywhere you go.

    This is usually a guy thing. Guys think about their answers in their head and write them down. Then they think their answers are going to come out of their mouths like magic in the oral. Trust me, they donít! The brain and mouth donít work that way.

    Try this. Take 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. You can find sample oral board questions here: http://www.eatstress.com/thirty.htm

    Practice your answers with the recorder. The recorder goes everywhere your car keys go. If you hear something you do not like when you play it back, turn over the 3X5 card and write it down. The next time you go after that question, turn over the card first and see what you donít want to say.

    Let me tell you how critical this really is. If youíre not using a tape recorder to practice, practice, practice, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and over learn your material until it becomes second nature to you, you might as well not show up for the interview. You are wasting the oral boards time and your time! Seek out another career. Understand you still have to interview there too. The above candidate has already lost some great opportunities. Had he been faithfully using a tape recorder to prepare for his oral boards, he probably could have had a badge already.

    Some will say, ďWell, if I practice it too much it will sound canned.Ē NO it wonít! It sure will be planned though. Practice makes permanent. ďLuck is preparation meeting opportunity.Ē One practice session with a tape recorder is worth 10 speaking out louds. After practicing, you will get to a point where your answers will get into your subconscious. Thatís where the magic begins. You canít be fooled.

    Be advised that your competition knows the value of using a tape recorder. They are catapulting past you if youíre not using one too.

    Start asking your self this question: What am I doing that can best prepare me for the most important part of the hiring process? . . . The oral board. Because if you canít pass the oral board, or score high enough on the list, you donít get the job. Never! Ever! Ever! Now, whereís your recorder?"
    Last edited by CaptBob; 06-22-2007 at 09:41 AM.
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    Default Thank you guys

    CaptBob,

    You are right on the money. I have worked for the same Municipality for eight years. I knew everyone on the panel, except for the FF's. There were four city employees and four Fire Department members.

    I answered everyone of the questions. I did not take for granted the relationships I have with the other city employees.

    This is were I have a hard time with what you are saying. When I say this, I mean absolutely zero disrespect.

    Are you saying to "toot" my own horn?

    Quote: "You have to bring out the top hat, the cane, step it out, and give the board the complete show. It's you! It's the bright lights. It's Broadway! You gotta make it happen. You gotta make the magic."

    Sir, I am not very good at doing this. I am confident in myself, I am confident in my answers, but modest when it comes to talking about myself. I would rather prove myself through my actions than "talk-it-up" about myself.

    Everynight I go to bed thinking of the what type of questions I may be presented with. I remember some of them from the past interview. I have self-critized everyone of them that I can remember. There was one in particular that I was really flustered by, "Larry, what is your greatest weakness?" Shoot, I am not cocky but I could not think of one thing. Then after I left I was still thinking about that one question. Then it popped into my head.....Math, math is a weakness for me.

    I am willing to do anything it takes, stand in front of a mirror, use a video recorder or use a hand-held recorder. I will in fact try these out and see what happens.

    CaptBob if you have anyhing else to add please do so. Thank you for your advise, it is greatly appreciated.

    Larry

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    halligan, you say math is your greatest weakness? understandable but the next part to that would be what are you doing to fix your weakness? are you taking math classes? doing fire related math problems at home? your gonna wanna show you might be weak at something (math) but you need to show them that you are reaching towards a goal to strengthen your weakness.

    Best of luck,
    Jason Norton

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    Default Hearing is Believing

    Sir, I am not very good at doing this. I am confident in myself, I am confident in my answers, but modest when it comes to talking about myself. I would rather prove myself through my actions than "talk-it-up" about myself.

    This is quite common. But how do you prove yourself with actions in the oral board? You have to be able to put together a presentation that WOWS them into giving you the badge over the other candidates. The recorder is the quickest way possible.

    Youíre looking for a seamless no surprises interview. As you have already learned just stumbling on a couple of questions can put you out of the running. I encourage candidates to take as many tests as they can. Because the more tests they take the better they get at taking tests. Then when the test comes along they really want to get hired for they are ahead of the curve and they wonít get caught by a question they havenít heard before.

    The strengths and weakness is a common question. How many more are you not familiar with?

    Jason is right in being able to show you are improving on your weakness. More on weaknesses here: http://www.eatstress.com/weakness.htm

    Hearing is Believing
    Firefighters Need A Strong Voice
    http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/Fire-Service-Careers/Hearing-is-Believing/8$48482

    BOB SMITH
    Firehouse.Com Contributor
    Have you ever listened to wind chimes? One hangs in our backyard. It contains six chimes. When there is not much breeze, only one chime is heard. It's a constant monotone gong, gong, gong, gong. When the wind changes direction ever so slightly all six chimes begin to play a melody.

    It would only take you a short time as an oral board rater to hear the same constant drone when too many candidates use a flat monotone voice. It sounds like they were giving a patient assessment, sounding like the gong, gong, gong, blah, blah, blah of the one lone wind chime.

    Then a candidate, who knows what the panel is going to hear out of his mouth, because he has prepared with a tape recorder, sits down in the hot seat and comes out swinging. Hitting all the notes, with the necessary timing, inflection, enthusiasm and volume polished. Just like the slight increase in a breeze to activate all the notes on the wind chimes, if candidates only knew it would only take a few minor changes to orchestrate their interviews closer to their badges.

    It doesn't take long on a phone conversation with a candidate to realize why they are having problems.

    A recent candidate had such a monotone voice I asked if he knew? He said yea, but that's just my voice. I told him I didn't believe that for a second. What can I do about it, he asked. I've been testing where I can for four years, going to school and work as a federal firefighter.
    Trying to get on his turf, I asked him during a coaching session what do you do with your time off? What are your interest, hobbies? What really rings your bell? Nothing seemed to work to break his monotone voice.

    That was until a few days later I get a call from an energized candidate. I didn't recognize the voice. Yes, it was Mr. Monotone. He told me he didn't realize how bad it was until he listened to the tape recording of his coaching session. He said, "Man I sounded retarded. I can't believe how much stuff I left out. How many times I said "Whatever" and other stupid pause fillers I didn't know I was using."

    The mystery of why this super qualified candidate could not get hired was solved by listening to a tape of what the panel had been hearing for four years.

    You too can create the winds of change that can turn things around and ring all the chimes; coming out of the fog with the chimes that turn into tones dropping and you're moving towards the rig on another call. The fifth call in a row. It started at shift change. You haven't had a chance to stop for anything more than to restock and get the rig ready for another run and not getting anything to eat. You're not hungry anyway. Because you're working with a crew where the red-hot captain tells dispatch you're available from the scene you are on so you won't miss any calls. You're living the dream of a lifetime. Riding big red. The monotone voice a distant memory.
    ______________________________ _______________

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    Fire "Captain Bob"

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    Default Hearing is Believing

    Sir, I am not very good at doing this. I am confident in myself, I am confident in my answers, but modest when it comes to talking about myself. I would rather prove myself through my actions than "talk-it-up" about myself.

    This is quite common. But how do you prove yourself with actions in the oral board? You have to be able to put together a presentation that WOWS them into giving you the badge over the other candidates. The recorder is the quickest way possible. I'm guesing you didn't use a recorder on your last test?

    Youíre looking for a seamless no surprises interview. As you have already learned just stumbling on a couple of questions can put you out of the running. I encourage candidates to take as many tests as they can. Because the more tests they take the better they get at taking tests. Then when the test comes along they really want to get hired for they are ahead of the curve and they wonít get caught flat footed by a question they havenít heard before.

    The strengths and weakness is a common question. How many more are you not familiar with?

    Jason is right in being able to show you are improving on your weakness. More on weaknesses here: http://www.eatstress.com/weakness.htm

    Hearing is Believing
    Firefighters Need A Strong Voice
    http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/Fire-Service-Careers/Hearing-is-Believing/8$48482

    BOB SMITH
    Firehouse.Com Contributor

    Have you ever listened to wind chimes? One hangs in our backyard. It contains six chimes. When there is not much breeze, only one chime is heard. It's a constant monotone gong, gong, gong, gong. When the wind changes direction ever so slightly all six chimes begin to play a melody.

    It would only take you a short time as an oral board rater to hear the same constant drone when too many candidates use a flat monotone voice. It sounds like they were giving a patient assessment, sounding like the gong, gong, gong, blah, blah, blah of the one lone wind chime.

    Then a candidate, who knows what the panel is going to hear out of his mouth, because he has prepared with a tape recorder, sits down in the hot seat and comes out swinging. Hitting all the notes, with the necessary timing, inflection, enthusiasm and volume polished. Just like the slight increase in a breeze to activate all the notes on the wind chimes, if candidates only knew it would only take a few minor changes to orchestrate their interviews closer to their badges.

    It doesn't take long on a phone conversation with a candidate to realize why they are having problems.

    A recent candidate had such a monotone voice I asked if he knew? He said yea, but that's just my voice. I told him I didn't believe that for a second. What can I do about it, he asked. I've been testing where I can for four years, going to school and work as a federal firefighter.

    Trying to get on his turf, I asked him during a coaching session what do you do with your time off? What are your interest, hobbies? What really rings your bell? Nothing seemed to work to break his monotone voice.

    That was until a few days later I get a call from an energized candidate. I didn't recognize the voice. Yes, it was Mr. Monotone. He told me he didn't realize how bad it was until he listened to the tape recording of his coaching session. He said, "Man I sounded retarded. I can't believe how much stuff I left out. How many times I said "Whatever" and other stupid pause fillers I didn't know I was using."

    The mystery of why this super qualified candidate could not get hired was solved by listening to a tape of what the panel had been hearing for four years.

    You too can create the winds of change that can turn things around and ring all the chimes; coming out of the fog with the chimes that turn into tones dropping and you're moving towards the rig on another call. The fifth call in a row. It started at shift change. You haven't had a chance to stop for anything more than to restock and get the rig ready for another run and not getting anything to eat. You're not hungry anyway. Because you're working with a crew where the red-hot captain tells dispatch you're available from the scene you are on so you won't miss any calls. You're living the dream of a lifetime. Riding big red. The monotone voice a distant memory.
    Last edited by CaptBob; 06-22-2007 at 06:27 PM.
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    Default Alright.....

    Well

    I borrowed a hand held recorder from my FIL. I printed off your 30 questions from the web page and I have been going over them the past couple of days.

    I have been working on my word choice for each question. Putting together a couple of different options for responding to each question.

    By listening to the recording....I don't feel any excitement in my voice...I am usually very excitied when discussing the FD and my pursuit for the job. Yet, in the recording I sound scared and timid.

    I read over your web page and realized I have my own personal stories about responding to accidents....my question though, for you and whoever else reads this is....?, Does the panel, specifically the FF's want to hear of my stories...how much detail do I need to go into? I don't want to come across like I am bragging...or that I know it all.

    Any thoughts or comments...please chime in.

    Larry

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason6368 View Post
    halligan, you say math is your greatest weakness? understandable but the next part to that would be what are you doing to fix your weakness? are you taking math classes? doing fire related math problems at home? your gonna wanna show you might be weak at something (math) but you need to show them that you are reaching towards a goal to strengthen your weakness.

    Best of luck,
    Jason Norton
    Jason,

    Thank you for the advise. I have included your thoughts into my repsonse for the "What are your weaknessess" question. I am in fact working on this concern. I studied for three months before I took the written test. I studied atleast three different math books all including the following; Algebra, decimals, fraction and percentages.

    Once again thank you for your comments.

    Larry

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    I have been working on my word choice for each question.

    Word choice? What does that mean? Why?

    By listening to the recording....I don't feel any excitement in my voice...I am usually very excitied when discussing the FD and my pursuit for the job. Yet, in the recording I sound scared and timid.

    This is how you will sound in your oral unless you can amp it up with your inflection, timing and enthusiasm.

    I read over your web page and realized I have my own personal stories about responding to accidents....my question though, for you and whoever else reads this is....?, Does the panel, specifically the FF's want to hear of my stories...how much detail do I need to go into? I don't want to come across like I am bragging...or that I know it all.

    Who else can tell the story? Your Stories? Firefighters love firefighter stories. If you open up with a signature story, you instantly separate yourself from the other clone candidates. Stories show the oral board who you really are. You capture the board and take them on a journey with a story they have never heard. Is this making sense?

    Stories are more than facts
    If you can create the excitement, emotion, the color and magic to relive the actual event, you will capture the interest and a top score on that question. A big part of getting this job is convincing the oral board that you can do the job before you get it. Stories are convincing and can demonstrate your education and experience even if theyíre not fire related.

    During coaching with a candidate one day and he was giving me those clone answers why he wanted to be a firefighter. I stopped him and had him rewind the videotape of his life. He remembered being a life guard at age 14. Take it back further (this is one of the values of a coach). He said, "Oh, I'm from South America. When I was growing up, we lived with my grandfather who was the fire chief of the city. I got to go with him and be exposed to the who department."

    I asked if he had ever told that story in any of his oral board interviews? He said, "No". Why not? I will bet you big money you are a clone candidate right now. But, I bet you also have some personal signature stories that could instantly change your interview scores.

    Practice those stories with a tape recorder. Condense them down to a minute or less. Don't go on a journey. The oral board is not packed for the trip. Once you answer an oral board with a signature story, you can marry the rest of your answer with those clone answers you have been using. Try it and see the amazing difference.

    You won't have time and it's not appropriate to use a signature story for every answer. Tell the story. Make the point. Move on.
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    "I have been working on my word choice for each question.

    Word choice? What does that mean? Why?"

    Word choice= Making sure I sound as intelligent as I am. I am trying not to stumble through my answers.

    "This ishow you will sound in your oral unless you can amp it up with your inflection, timing and enthusiasm."

    Roger that....time too step it up.

    Thanks CaptBob

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    ok im no expert at interviews but if you use too big of words to make yourself seem more intelligent the panel might think you are trying to BS your way threw the interview just talk to them like you would any other adult, they will understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason6368 View Post
    ok im no expert at interviews but if you use too big of words to make yourself seem more intelligent the panel might think you are trying to BS your way threw the interview just talk to them like you would any other adult, they will understand.
    Yea, too many candidates have been told and believe there are certain key words the raters are looking for you to say so they can check off a box and get a better score. We have never encouraged candidates to take this approach because it throws off their timing and presentation.
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    Thumbs up

    I understand. I will just keep practicing on what I know.

    Thanks guys.

    Larry

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    Default North Texas Test

    Hey Larry, what time did you get on the physical part of the test?

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    Thumbs up

    6:58.

    Who am I talking to?

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    Talking Oral and written assessment interview tonight.....

    We'll see how it goes.

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    best of luck to you.

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    Thanks Jason.


    Well I think it went well, we shall see.

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    Talking CaptBob & BC Lepore please check in......and anyone else that can help!!!

    Well....I passed the oral interview this time and I have a Chief's interview scheduled for the middle of next week.

    What do I need to expect?

    This is my third time to test and I have never made it this far. I feel so honored to even be making it to the Chief's interview considering were I started.


    TIA
    Last edited by Halligan80; 07-31-2007 at 02:58 PM.

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    Even though this is for all of the marbles, don't panic now!

    Many candidates start to panic when they are notified that they are going to a chief's. They think they have to reinvent themselves. Reinvent the wheel. WHOOAA! Understand what got you there. You are only going to the chiefs oral because of the great stuff you already used in the first oral. You're riding the winning pony. Don't switch ponies.

    Too many candidates switch ponies because "they said". I've never been able to find out who "they" are. If you do not continue to use the good stuff that got you this far, you could drop out of the race. This is a new arena.

    Candidates who are going to the chiefs interview, start talking to their friends. They convince that they need to do something more. By the time of the interview, they're a wreck. It's not them going into the interview. A clone of someone else. The badges are often given to other candidates.

    The chiefs interview is open to any types of questioning. They are really trying to find out more about you. How you're going to be as a firefighter for the next 25+ years. Do you fit their culture? We like to hire candidates that are them selves on purpose in the interview. Someone who has a personality and conversational. Are you that person in an interview?

    Stan was going to our departments chiefs oral. He made an appointment to come by our station. While there, he asked what more he could do to make it over the top. I told him he was riding the winning pony and not to switch during the home stretch. Three months later I was down at the training center where they were training new recruits. I saw a familiar face. I said, "Stan is that you?" He said, "Yes, I rode that winning pony all the way in!"

    Saddle up and ride to glory.

    What can you expect in a Chief's Oral?

    By: Ruben Grijalva
    California Fire Marshall

    Chief's Orals will vary widely depending on the style of the Fire Chief and the department. However, here are some suggestions:

    1. Get to know about the Department and the Chief before the interview. What are some of the core values of the organization? What are some of the key issues or projects that the department is involved with? Some Chief's like that you took the time to know a little about what the department is all about? However, if the topic comes up...be genuine...don't B.S.!

    2. The Chief's interview is often casual in that there are not necessarily a specific set of fixed questions like on the more formal oral board. The Chief may ask about anything that is on your resume or follow up questions in response to your comments. Casual does not mean that you don't wear professional business attire.

    3. One thing is certain, this is the Chief's brief opportunity to get to know you. I cannot speak for all Fire Chiefs, but I tend to use this opportunity to look for examples in your experiences that demonstrate maturity, stability, responsibility, judgement, compassion, work ethic and other characteristics that I believe are important to be a successful firefighter.

    By the time you reach the Chief's interview, you probably have already been through the written, PPT, and oral board(s). In those portions of the testing you probably have demonstrated your memory, reading comprehension skills, mechanical aptitude, basic math, physical ability, ability to work others as part of a team, understanding of firehouse etiquette, communication skills, and likely have addressed some honesty/integrity scenario.

    4. Don't be afraid to talk about yourself in terms that demonstrate the qualities mentioned above. Give specific examples.

    5. Stay on track with the point you are trying to make. Don't get lost and wander off into irrelevant areas. You'll miss your point, which may also cause you to become more nervous than you already might be. Listen closely to the questions and be responsive to them.

    6. Finally, try to be relaxed and conversational in your manner. Be confident, but not cocky. Make good eye contact. Try to be natural...be yourself...that is who the Chief wants to get to know!

    I hope this helps. Good Luck!
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  22. #22
    Forum Member
    Halligan80's Avatar
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    Wink Will do ^CaptBob^

    I was told they are hiring 14 and that there is 25 that made it to the Chief's interview.


    They also called all of my references yesterday. .


    I went and baught a suit last night.
    Last edited by Halligan80; 08-01-2007 at 05:58 PM.

  23. #23
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    Smile

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS


    I made my Local Municipal Fire Academy.....

  24. #24
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    Default

    We've been following your threads. Congrats on your success.

    To help you get started in the academy and as a new rookie here are a couple of Secrets to be read:

    http://www.eatstress.com/academy.htm

    http://www.eatstress.com/new.htm
    ______________________________ _______________

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

    www.eatstress.com

  25. #25
    Forum Member
    Halligan80's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks CaptBob.

    I can't wait to get started.

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