Preparing for Firefighter Candidate Interviews
Battalion Chief Paul Lepore
Why do you want to be a firefighter?
Years ago, when I was researching potential career choices, I learned that the father of one of my friends was a firefighter. As I quizzed him about his job, I was struck by how much he loved what he was doing. It was rare to find someone who truly enjoys what he does.
The more I researched the fire service, the more convinced I became that it was the right choice for me. Since then I have visited many fire stations and have gone on several ride-alongs. The reasons I want to become a firefighter are numerous. They include the following:
I enjoy helping people. It gives me great pleasure and it would be very fulfilling to have a profession in which I was able to help people every day.
I would like to be part of a team that solves problems in the community. Whether it is a fire, flood, hazardous material spill, or medical emergency, it feels good to know that citizens can rely on the fire department to help solve their problems.
Being a role model in the community is also important to me. I know children look up to firefighters and I feel we have an obligation to be there for them. I realize the importance of having a smile on my face and being respectful at all times. I also know that firefighters volunteer their time to promote good will within the community. I feel this is a vital part of a firefighter’s job. What also appeals to me is the camaraderie that develops in the fire station. Living and working together for 24-hours at a time allows firefighters to develop some incredibly strong bonds.
I like the challenges that a day at the fire station can bring. Even though our on-duty days are planned out, plans can be interrupted at a moment’s notice for an emergency response.
Since I am a problem solver, I would thrive on contributing my problem-solving skills to the team. But I know if I’m having difficulty solving a problem, I would be able to rely on the other crewmembers to come up with a solution. The amount of shared knowledge among firefighters is tremendous.
I know being a firefighter will provide many opportunities for learning. There is a tremendous amount of information that a firefighter must learn in order to become competent in his or her job. It would be up to me to set a goal and study hard to achieve that goal. Once I have mastered the roles and responsibilities of a firefighter, I know that I will have many opportunities to test for more challenging roles such as paramedic, engineer, lieutenant or captain.
I like working with my hands. I know the fire service uses a myriad of specialized power, hydraulic and hand tools.