I do not think the testing crowd has a grasp on the concept that they are being graded on EVERYTHING. I receive dozens of emails each week and read many internet postings from aspiring firefighters. I am constantly disappointed by their numerous misspelled words, run on sentences, and poor choice of grammar. I do not consider myself a particularly gifted writer. My wife proofreads all of my important documents and papers for school.

When we receive a correspondence from someone that contains misspelled words, my opinion of him or her is brought into question. While the fire service does not traditionally require much education, we still consider ourselves to be professionals. When hired as a firefighter, there is a good chance you will be writing EMS and fire reports. Imagine sitting on the witness stand with a report on the overhead projector that is filled with grammatical and punctuation errors. It doesn’t look professional.

Since we only require a high school diploma, we seem to attract many people who have just that. I would like to submit to you that if you have difficulty with sentence structure, spelling, or grammar you should enroll in an English 100 course. The course will make you a better writer and it will help you pass the written examinations. More importantly, it will help you with everyday written communications such as email.

Everything I send out, including informal emails to friends gets spell checked. I am amazed at how often the spell checker catches a mistake. Emails have a way of being forwarded from one person to another. Take the time to make sure everything you send out looks professional.

Paul Lepore
Battalion Chief
www.aspiringfirefighters.com