Paul Lepore is a Battalion Chief with the City of Long Beach, California, Fire Department. He entered the fire service as a civilian Paramedic for the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. After completing his education at the Los Angeles County Paramedic Training Institute, Lepore worked in the high impact area of South Central, Los Angeles.
Firefighting and Military Experience
Candidates who have served our country in the Armed Forces have a huge advantage over those who have not. It is generally believed that while a military veterans may not have as many certificates and fire science units as the other candidates (they were busy serving our country), they offer so much more.
Fire departments traditionally spend thousands of dollars to advertise, recruit and hire firefighters. Background investigations are an important component of the hiring process. They are completed by most fire departments across the country to help produce a list of top candidates.
In the public eye all fire departments are painted with the same broad brush, and regardless of what type of damage control we try to do, it is nearly impossible to try to change public opinion. Every time a firefighter is shown in a less than professional light, it erodes our standing in the community. It is up to us to maintain our image.
The best way to stand out in the hiring process is to understand the role of a firefighter. A great way to gain knowledge and experience in the fire service is to become a volunteer or reserve firefighter. These candidates will have made a name for themselves long before the testing process.
The fire department interview is a unique challenge that is a component of the hiring process for most fire departments. Many of the questions put a candidate in a "no win" situation. The best way to learn how to succeed in the interview is to educate yourself on the process.
Getting hired in the fire service today is a very difficult challenge. Most successful candidates far exceed the minimum entry-level standards. The more qualifications an applicant possesses, the more he or she will be able to prove to the fire department that they are the right person for the position.
A unique look at an average day in a firefighter's shoes. Most commonly, firefighters work in 24-hour shifts, reporting to work at 0700 and work until 0700 the next day. Learn what else you can expect in your first year as part of the fire family.
Everyone has an opinion of age when it comes to hiring new firefighters. Younger candidates generally have fewer personal and financial obligations, and are more likely to have the free time to pursue education and training prior to being hired. An older applicant, on the other hand, will usually fit in much better than a younger one. He or she has spent years in the work force learning what it takes to get along, and has learned acceptable social behavior through "life experience."
Life can be extremely busy. How often do you hear someone say, "I can't believe how fast time flies? Where did my day go?" Personally, I find that if I do not set goals, life passes me by." Goals don't have to be big. Start small. I'll show you how.