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  • Visiting a dept the day before you test?

    Traveling out of state to take test can be hard espeically when trying to get a feel for what the dept is like. Whats your thoughts on visiting one of the stations the day before your test date/possible interview day?

  • #2
    Might be a little touchy depending on the dept
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

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    • #3
      I have heard of guys traveling to distant cities to test, and being offered beds in bunkrooms to sleep in while there. Personally, I would want a hotel room the night before a test so that I can sleep a full night.

      Any person can visit any station at any time for any reason. I see no harm in knocking on a door- they will probably welcome you with open arms and answer your questions.
      "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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      • #4
        would you tell them you would be testing with them the following day?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cayden10 View Post
          would you tell them you would be testing with them the following day?
          You are from out of town. You knock on the door the night before their test. I don't think they will be stupid. Oh, and one other thing......Make sure you knock on the door with your elbows.
          "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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          • #6
            The ideal way to do it is to visit the department six months before the test and try to get a feel for what the department is looking for in an entry level firefighter. I guarantee you will be the only one knocking on the door at that time.

            The day before the test will be a nightmare for the men and women in the station. Every person in the testing process will be knocking on the door. Since you are from out of town, you do not have a lot of choice.

            Yes, you should knock on the door. Have a list of questions prepared. For god's sake DO NOT ask them how many stations, engines and trucks, or anything else you could find on our own. DO NOT HAVE THEM DO YOUR HOMEWORK FOR YOU.

            Ask things such as:
            Where is the department headed?
            WHat do you like about the department?
            What special projects is the department involved in?
            What characteristics is the department looking for?
            What can you expect from the academy and probation?

            You get the idea. And don't forget the ice cream.
            Paul Lepore
            Division Chief
            Aspiringfirefighters.com
            AspiringFireOfficers.com

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            • #7
              Originally posted by paulLepore View Post
              You get the idea. And don't forget the ice cream.
              I told him to knock with his elbows!
              "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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              • #8
                Now I get it. That's really funny. I have never heard that :-)
                Paul Lepore
                Division Chief
                Aspiringfirefighters.com
                AspiringFireOfficers.com

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by paulLepore View Post
                  Now I get it. That's really funny. I have never heard that :-)
                  It's an east coast buff thing. Or for guys who are detailed out.
                  "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FWDbuff View Post
                    It's an east coast buff thing. Or for guys who are detailed out.
                    I always ring the door bell with something other than my hands too!
                    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

                    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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                    • #11
                      Please, please, please don’t knock on my door the night before your interview. Please don’t knock on the door at all, call first. We have plans for our day, or may have had a day of training and be absolutely done, that is not when you want to talk to us. Also if one or all of my crew is involve in the test we aren't allowed to talk to anyone. By calling first, you can get a time when we want to talk to you and I can get a form you can fill out so you could ride out on calls with us if one comes in while you are here. Also a lot of departments don’t allow station visits or ride-alongs after the test is announced, so as Paul said above, you want to be way ahead of the curve, it will allow you to get in and being proactive tells us a lot about you.

                      I had a guy last week say, “I called the main number and they wouldn’t give me the numbers”. Of course they didn’t, our numbers are unlisted for a reason. But during business hours you can call the main number and just ask for station five, or six. Remember there are three shifts at every station so if you go through the list and don’t get a positive response, call when the next shift is on. If you can talk to one of the last people they hired, you will be talking to the last person who did it right.

                      You defiantly want to bring something when you visit, but no one at my station eats ice cream. A guy came by last week and brought coffee. When you call, ask what you can bring. We had one guy make brownies in Pyrex, that way he had to come by the next week to pick up the pan and got a second visit. If you do bring something by, put your name on it, a thank you card,write your name on it, something so we remember who you are. I have come in a few times and was told by the off going shift about this great guy who came by, but they couldn’t remember his name.

                      Remember you can help or hurt yourself doing visits. If you come to station 5, they will be talking about you the next day at 4,5,6,7. Don’t feel too comfortable, don’t overstay your welcome and please don’t just drop in.

                      I have invited everyone in the local fire academy to visit or ride along for three years when they come to see our truck; I invite everyone I see as well as all of you, any time. We get very few people visiting, but we know the those we see, we will probably see again in the academy.
                      Last edited by FFighterRob; 04-13-2011, 12:18 PM.
                      Good Luck, Capt Rob
                      www.myfireinterview.com

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FFighterRob View Post
                        Please, please, please don’t knock on my door the night before your interview.

                        Also if one or all of my crew is involve in the test we aren't allowed to talk to anyone.

                        Also a lot of departments don’t allow station visits or ride-alongs after the test is announced.
                        It's going to be different everywhere you go. In the City of Philadelphia for example, the Fire Department has absolutely NOTHING to do with the test. The Fire Department, in fact, really doesn't even get involved until your initial application process (which is AFTER you are selected from the civil service exam list, based on your written test score.) As I stated, I have known of guys from out of town that were invited to bunk out in Philly stations to save them the cost of a hotel room.

                        And I have never heard of a Department not allowing station visits after a test is announced. Must be a California thing.
                        "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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                        • #13
                          It is not a California thing, some departments in the state do this, also Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah, and some Canadian departments cut off the visits during a test. It is a department by department thing, not a state by state thing.

                          Many departments, as well as my own, don’t have anything to do with the actual testing process until the initial, or chief’s interview. But the ability to show your interest, as well as determination to spend the time, energy, and expense to visit the stations shows the interview panel a little about you. It doesn’t matter if the panel is from your department, other departments or mix of civilian and line personnel it isn’t something I would skip.

                          I would say that I would feel silly if I was asked in an interview if I had visited the stations, but I can’t. I really did feel silly because it happened to me. I was asked in my Sacramento exam, “So did you get by one of our stations to get the packet we have for the people testing”? I had to say no. Then I was asked how far away I lived, about 45 minutes. I felt I was doing great up until, then and then didn’t feel so good.
                          Good Luck, Capt Rob
                          www.myfireinterview.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FFighterRob View Post
                            It is not a California thing, some departments in the state do this, also Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Utah, and some Canadian departments cut off the visits during a test. It is a department by department thing, not a state by state thing.

                            Many departments, as well as my own, don’t have anything to do with the actual testing process until the initial, or chief’s interview. But the ability to show your interest, as well as determination to spend the time, energy, and expense to visit the stations shows the interview panel a little about you. It doesn’t matter if the panel is from your department, other departments or mix of civilian and line personnel it isn’t something I would skip.

                            I would say that I would feel silly if I was asked in an interview if I had visited the stations, but I can’t. I really did feel silly because it happened to me. I was asked in my Sacramento exam, “So did you get by one of our stations to get the packet we have for the people testing”? I had to say no. Then I was asked how far away I lived, about 45 minutes. I felt I was doing great up until, then and then didn’t feel so good.
                            Again, many Departments don't have "selection panels." In Philadelphia, if you pass the written civil service exam, you get a numerical placement on the list based on your possible score of 100 (with 10 added points for a valid DD214.) Then you are selected based on how many bodies they need. After you are selected to be a candidate, you go through the physical screening, the background/criminal check, etc. Similar processes are used in Baltimore, Camden NJ, Newark NJ, FDNY, etc (with some changes.)

                            The people in charge of hiring you could care less when and if you took the time to visit a fire station in Philly and how much interest you showed. All they care about is when the clock says 1700 on it.

                            No fire station in Philly is going to turn away a visitor, especially if they bear gifts. Riding is not officially sanctioned, but occasionally buffs have been known to "accidentally fall onto the rig if the bells go off."
                            "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Station Visits

                              As mentioned above station visits and Ride alongs can help you or destroy you! Trying to get in a station visit at the 11th hour can be dicey.

                              When our son Rob was testing he showed up for a station visit. The guy answered the door told him to go away, they weren't hiring and he didn't stand a chance. A year after Rob was hired by this department called this same guy called him up and asked him for a trade. Yea, he reminded him of that day at the door.

                              Candidates want the opportunity to do ride alongs as a way of showing interest, gain information for their oral, and can say in their oral they had been to the stations. Often they don't know the culture and etiquette.

                              We had a candidate in one day for a ride along. He had an opinion on every topic that was brought up, including sports and the current movies. When it came time for lunch, he was the first one on his feet to fill his plate. His mother would have died if she had seen it.

                              Let me be blunt here. Dummy Up! You don't have enough time to have an opinion! In this situation you have to be humble, have your questions already written down and realize you are a snotty nose rookie. Too many candidates come in wanting the badge so bad they act like they already have time and want to impress the guys with all of their knowledge. BIG ERROR!

                              Because, this information will spread like wild fire and destroy you with those who will be making the decisions. Too many candidates tank themselves here and they never know what happened. This applies even if you're already a firefighter applying for another department.

                              Don't take the bait. Even if you have a friend in the station. If the guys want to joke around and play games, don't do it. You are not part of their family yet. You have not time!

                              Some departments don't allow ride alongs during test time. If you're lucky enough to do a ride along, show up on time with a desert. If it's ice cream, make sure it's the round stuff; not the square stuff. We had so much square stuff during one of test we had a contest in the back yard to see who could throw the square stuff the furthest.

                              After giving this information at a college fire program a candidate shows up at my station the next day. He didn't make an appointment, have desert, or have any questions ready. McFly?.

                              One candidate told me in another class that he had made an appointment and had to wait a half hour when he got there. Poor baby. Understand this is our home. We spend more time at the fire house than with our own family. So here you come waltzing into our home with not knowing what to do.

                              If you're fortunate to get a ride along stay for lunch if offered. Offer to pay your share and do the dishes. Leave before dinner and never spend the night. You might interfere with the kick back time during and after dinner.

                              Should you go to as many or all the stations in a department? Please spare us this part. Don't turn yourself inside out trying to cover all of the stations hoping the word will get back that you did. It will make you look anal and compulsive, which you probably are if you're doing this. This will raise its ugly head in the psychological test if you get that far. One or two stations is fine. If you try to do them all only increases the chances of saying or doing the wrong thing or catching a shift of malcontents that will bad mouth you.

                              If you're bent on doing a ride along, first make an appointment. During test time things get crazy. Be patient. Act like you would if you were the new rookie in the station.
                              Last edited by CaptBob; 04-13-2011, 04:12 PM.
                              _____________________________________________

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

                              More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
                              http://www.firehouse.com/contact/10544410/bob-smith


                              Fire "Captain Bob"

                              www.eatstress.com

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