How To Become A Firefighter
How To Become A Firefighter
Chief Lepore has spent nearly thirty years in the fire service teaching people how to get hired. He has chronicled his experience in three different books, all geared toward helping people get hired in the fire service. Chief Lepore did not have a relative in the fire service who could give him tips on getting hired. He was determined to learn the inside secrets of what the decision makers were looking for in an entry-level firefighter candidate. Once hired in the Fire Service, he has made it his mission to help others succeed in the hiring process. Each of his three books focuses on a specific part of the hiring process.
Chief Lepore’s most popular book is called Smoke Your Firefighter Interview (360 pages). It provides readers with a view of the interview from the perspective of the panel raters. The objective is for candidates to see themselves through the eyes of the raters. By the end of the book, readers will understand exactly how they are being scored. More importantly, they will understand how to completely answer the types of questions that they will encounter on the fire department interview. Since it is often weighted 100% of the candidate’s final score, earning a high score on the interview is essential to getting hired.
In this book, Chief Lepore uses his 30 years of fire service experience to review over 90 commonly-asked fire department interview questions. The author shares not only the questions that you can expect in your fire department interview, but also how the panel expects the entry-level candidate to answer them. Most importantly, Chief Lepore explains the reasons for the correct answer. The “Reasoning” section that follows each question is often longer than the answer itself. It covers the exact key points that the interviewers are looking for in the previous question. This section includes the following: expectations of a probationary firefighter; understanding the candidate’s knowledge of their position within the organization; the rank structure of the fire service; and how to expertly navigate the tricky waters of stepping up as the new firefighter when he or she identifies something that is not right. The reasoning section is designed to provide an in-depth insight into the unique culture present in every fire station in every department throughout the country. It is expected that entry-level firefighters understand the culture prior to getting hired. For those who understand it, the interview questions make more sense. For those who are new to the fire service culture, passing the interview can be a daunting task.
The interview panel will quickly identify candidates who simply memorize the answers to both routine and complex questions, but have no understanding as to why they would act or perform in a certain way. The panel’s follow-up questions are designed to identify how committed candidates are to their answers.
Smoke Your Firefighter Interview allows readers to do more than simply memorize the right answer. By explaining the rationale, which often includes the culture of the fire service, readers are able to understand and internalize the “right” answer. Since readers now completely understand the concepts, they are able to clearly express their thoughts to the oral board. The oral interview is the most important part of the hiring process.
The Aspiring Firefighter’s Two-Year Plan ( 275 pages) clearly explains the path an aspiring firefighter should follow to wisely utilize his or her time while testing for the fire department. This is a great challenge for someone who is unfamiliar with what we are looking for in an entry-level firefighter. Many candidates spend a great deal of time going in what Chief Lepore considers to be the wrong direction. They spend a great deal of time focusing on things that are not very important to the chief officers who make the hiring decisions, and not enough time on the things that are important. Chief Lepore uses his nearly 30 years of fire service experience and provides a thorough checklist that the reader can use to gauge him or herself against the competition.
Chief Lepore’s goal is shorten the learning curve for the reader to clearly understand what path to take in regards to education, training and experience. This is critically important, as there are literally hundreds of people vying for each open position. Those candidates who have the most to offer will have a greater chance to fill the vacant positions. The challenge is that candidates frequently have an incorrect view of what is attractive to the fire department. It is imperative that entry-level candidates maximize their time and effort to build their resume.
Oftentimes the minimum requirement to be hired in the fire department is to be 18 years old and possess a high school diploma and a driver’s license. The reality is that with the large number of applicants for every fire department opening, we can be very selective in whom we choose. This book clearly explains the path a candidate should take to better position him or herself as a top tier candidate.
Chapters include the following: a day in the life of a firefighter; the hiring process; physical agility exams; the importance of education; how a candidate’s age impacts the hiring decisions; the fire department’s views on tattoos; a physical fitness routine; background investigations; sample resumes; the importance of completing a basic fire academy; what to expect for those considering paramedic school; the importance of selecting the right friends; expected conduct when visiting a fire station; how to behave on a ride along; and a wife’s and children’s perspectives. The reader will have a greater insight into why some candidates get hired right away, while others struggle and may ultimately never get hired.
Smoke Your Firefighter Written Exam breaks down every phase of the written exam. Chief Lepore covers virtually every topic that you would be likely to encounter in an entry-level firefighter written examination. The book covers the following: math equations, including complex word problems, geometry, addition, subtraction, multiplication, long division, volume, and percentages; reading comprehension; map reading; spatial relations; determining mechanical advantage; and matching parts and figures.
Each chapter opens with a very clear discussion on how to solve a particular type of question. Next is a series of questions with a list of possible answers. Following each set of answers is the correct answer, with an explanation of how to work the problem. This allows the reader the ability to clearly how to solve the problem. Since most fire departments administer a written examination, it is imperative that an entry-level candidate is able to pass them.