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  • Have Questions Re: Internships

    I am a College student at Fox Valley Tech. College in Appleton WI. currently studying under their Fire Protection and Training Program, in hopes to one day become a fire fighter.

    My question is this: I want to intern at a department nearby, beit vpaid or unpaid. Do you need an Intern Cover Letter, if so can anyone help in supplying an example. I have no previous f.f. experience, and think it would be a good idea if I got some somewhere.

    As; are cover letters really necessary in applying for an internship or should one just show up and basically say, "put me to work"?

    Any thoughts, comments, concerns, and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You!!!!!

    [email protected]
    or
    [email protected]

  • #2
    Doogie2,

    Not sure about Wisconsin but I did my 2 semesters of internships with paid departments. What I did was go and talk to the chiefs to find out if they would accept me as an intern for my Public Administration Degree because I wanted to specialize in fire departments. I found all the chiefs I talked to very receptive and was accepted by all but could only chose one. I had to take a letter from the Department Chief and supply it to my University and the University Department Head had to approve it.
    So, in essence, talk to your colleges department head and see if he or she will approve an internship with a fire department, if they say yes, go and talk to some area chiefs and see if they'll accept you. Be advised that those departments will not allow you to fight fires or command in any sense (liability issues). You'll more than likely only be allowed to do administrative jobs such as budget, apparatus specs, staffing control, equipment specs etc. All this will be done under the direct supervision of the Department Chief and he will be grading your performance and forwarding it to your department head. You'll also be fine tuning your interpersonal skills by not only dealing with the Chief but other local government officials i.e. city council, auditors, city managers and mayors. Also remember that you will more than likely have to do a thesis covering a subject directly related to the fire department. I did mine on a 7 city consolidation of departments into 1 Metro Department. Wasn't as easy as it sounds but it worked out well. Come up with your idea before you go after the internship.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 09-10-2003, 05:59 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Depending on exactly what you want to do, I had the best of both worlds -- interned (twice) at the Congressional Fire Services Institute in Washington, DC and lived at the College Park Firehouse in Maryland. I got paid (plenty to buy gas and food) and stayed for "free" at the firehouse. The summer was better because staffing was light, so I was able to do more. When I went back the following spring, things were a little crowded with all the students back, so I was pretty much left on my own and did the best to get myself involved as much as possible. My BS's were in Arson Investigation and Fire Sci. Administration.

      I also had National FF 1, so it was compatible with MD. It helps to have the same "qualifications" for where you want to go.
      Last edited by DianeC; 09-09-2003, 01:47 PM.
      "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
      -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

      Comment


      • #4
        Consider this

        Remember, You're Just a Rookie

        I believe in education. If you want to get a Public Administration, Engineering or any other degree as a career track, great. Don’t think it will be the key to get into the fire service. I look for the shortest distance to the badge. If I were starting out, I would run to paramedic school. Yes, you can get on without it. I have candidates all the time who get a badge without being a medic. But for the time spent and with more than 80% of job offerings being fire/medic, the odds are better.

        I’ve coached several candidates who have had B.S./BA degrees in Public Administration areas. They have been misguided by counselors that said this would be an asset to get into the fire service. What ends up happening is these candidates show up at an entry-level oral board boasting and trying to hammer the board with their degree. What they don’t understand is not many on the other side of the oral board table have this degree. And most of these candidates will never have a chance to use it in the fire service. Can you get hired going the education route? Sure. It happens all the time. Many of our non-medic candidates just started the LA City Academy.

        An associate sent me this information from a fire officer who instructs Fire Protection and Fire Management programs at California State University Los Angeles. With the subject of wanna-bees desiring to get their BA/BS degrees confirmed what you and I already know about candidates in interviews showing up with BA/BS degrees. And that is they get either laughed out of the room or the interview panel becomes resentful and down goes the interview score! DUH!

        This from a SF candidate: I'm currently on the SFFD H-2 list "4th Generation hopefully SFFD"! I'm also a volunteer firefighter/EMT. My volunteer Fire department requires Paramedic certifications for entry-level firefighters. After graduating from a four year university... I had an administration internship with my volunteer department where I wrote and designed the District's Master Plan and preformed statistical analysis for "time respond" for Fire suppression and medical calls. I also went on ride alongs with the engine, truck and even with the chief himself. I was told by the chief if I went out to get my paramedic license... I would be hired on the spot. Becoming a paramedic is not my cup of tea... it's been beaten in my head as a child "from my grandfather and father" to be a firefighter not a medic... ! All of the paid firefighters like my work ethic and all say they should let me in as a Firefighter/EMT.

        My reply: With all due respect to your family members, the playing field has changed. It must be killing you to see these guys hired and it's not you. Like it or not, understand that 75%+ of calls are medical in nature. Eighty percent of the job offerings are for fire medics. Had you gone to medic school as I encourage candidates to do, gained the valuable in service medic street time, you wouldn't be trying to fight your way into a department as an EMT. You would be wearing the H-3 badge for SFFD (I'm 3rd generation San Franciscan myself) or another department.

        John came in for a coaching session after not being able to pass any oral boards. He was one of those candidates who I think was misguided into a Public Administration Degree. During his coaching, he kept trying to come back to his degree. I finally told him, "Screw you! You want to come into my oral board and try to hammer me with a degree you may never use?" You’re applying for a snotty nose rookie position as a firefighter!" John dropped his head and said, "Maybe that’s why I can’t get through any orals."

        John ended up going to paramedic school (which he should have already done instead of the B/A degree). Although he mentioned the B/A degree in his oral board answer "What have you done to prepare for this position" he focused on his personal life and paramedic experience. He got his badge!


        Many departments have educational incentive programs where they will pay you to go to school. I took advantage of this program and received an additional 5% pay. This 5% was included in my retirement.

        But never forget this From Steve Prziborowski, Fire Captain - Santa Clara County Fire Department:

        Do what you have to do be more marketable so you can take more tests and have something more to offer a department, but remember that it all comes down to that 15 to 30 minute oral interview. I've seen some awesome candidates with resumes packed full of accomplishments that couldn't sell them self in an interview to even make the top 50%.

        You can find more interview articles in the career article section of this firehouse.com web site: http://cms.firehouse.com/content/con.../bio.jsp?id=18

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

        Fire "Captain Bob"
        Author of the new book Becoming A Firefighter--The Complete Guide to Your Badge!

        www.eatstress.com

        888-238-3959
        Last edited by CaptBob; 09-09-2003, 02:48 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

        Comment


        • #5
          Capt Bob,

          You give some good advice about becoming a Paramedic to get hired and he should go for that. I think he was just looking to the future and was far enough into his degree program (internship) that to turn back now would be a waste and a mistake. Should he harp on a degree? No, its on his filed paperwork. They already know that. Should he become a Paramedic? Yes he should. My question would be. What is his time table? Education is a personal thing and should be considered self satisfying and it does show intiative and dedication. Will any degree (A.S. B.A. or other) guarantee him the job? No it won't. Would being a Paramedic be advantageous? Of course it would be. There are many avenues that should and/or could be covered and completed before applying but an education is never a bad idea, regardless of the major taken. Will my degree guarantee me anything, absolutely not but I never regretted it for a second.
          Last edited by FireLt1951; 09-10-2003, 05:55 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Public Admin.

            Change Message
            Last edited by FORTff; 12-31-2008, 10:09 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Doogie, maybe you should go to school for marketing and start a fire service consulting business. Then you could learn to shamelessly market your consulting on a web forum in violation of the terms of service!
              PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

              Comment


              • #8
                George,

                Thanks for the post, I thought this individual was selling something. What I found upsetting was that the poster was in my opinion, advising this young individual to quit college in the late stages of the degree process. Your internship comes at the end of that long process. I agree with getting the medic training but there are many, many departments that require college credits or degrees in order to be considered for employment, not just medical certs. I think this individual is going in the right direction and can continue getting additional education and certs after graduation. Again thanks for the post.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I urge all of you who feel the same as I do about people marketing their wares on this forum to report them to the WT, as I do.
                  PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    George,

                    I wouldn't have a problem with CaptBob chiming in... If he actually wrote posts. Obviously, many people have found his advice helpful. However, he doesn't participate in conversations. He just sees keywords in a thread and posts an appropriate column from his Web site. The proof of this exists in the fact that he shows up in every thread about probies or jewelry with the same "leave your cell phones and earrings at home" column.

                    Edited to add... In my neck of the woods, paramedic engine companies and fire-based EMS transport are not common. Most FDs train their people to EMT-B or First Responder. So, the paramedic route would be a two-year waste of time if you're doing it just to "Get The Badge."
                    Last edited by cozmosis; 09-10-2003, 02:38 PM.
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We've had a lot of candidates come in and keep pounding on the fact that they are medics just as much as the guys with the degrees that may or may not do my department any good.

                      Before anybody thinks that I'm anti-medic, I'm not. I've been one for a long time. I have seen a frightening trend though because, as a previous poster noted, 75%+ of our calls are EMS, and fewer and fewer candidates could give a fat rats *** less interest in other fire department responsibilities. Somebody still has to do the other stuff, too. Fire prevention, investigation, and suppression are all right up there with EMS. No way in hell is anyone's training status as a medic gonna be my sole determiner for hiring somebody.

                      I read a LOT about a person's attitude in their interviews. If they come in arrogant about their training, and trying to shove any of it in my face, I have bells, whistles, and red flags go off all over the place. I know of a couple that have done just that kind of thing, had terrible attitudes, and were hired because they were either medics or in school to be one. They basically just thought that the department was incredibly lucky that they came to work there, and that they shouldn't be expected to do the firefighter thing. After all, they were medics. Give me a break! There is a difference between arrogance and confidence. Learn what it is.

                      None of this has anything to do with being a medic though. For me it's all in the individual's attitude. Personally, if you come into my interview with arrogance about whatever your training/education is, you're going to "get the boot". You come in with some degree of civility and project professionalism, with a true desire to learn and to do the job, and you're going to probably "get the badge".

                      Conventional wisdom? Maybe not, but I'll put the people I've helped hire up against any of these others any day of the week. We've got a pretty good batting average. I think my department is the better for it.

                      All things being equal, sure, I'm going to hire the people that have the medic training. But, I can better afford to spend the money to train a good person that has no training at all, than to hire the ones that come in with an attitude. There is no way I can budget for those kinds of costs. Sometimes they are in a currency other than dollars.

                      Doogie, I got kind of side tracked from you're original question. FireLt1951 pretty well nailed it. Not much I can add beyond that, except to encourage you to finish your degree. You can do the medic thing after school.
                      Last edited by Steamer; 09-10-2003, 02:58 PM.
                      Steve Gallagher
                      IACOJ BOT
                      ----------------------------
                      "I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Doogie,

                        As a FF/EMT who is currently in medic school I would advise staying the course you are on. By all means get your Medic...but after you finish college. I am in the postion that once I finish Medic I get to start college so I can get a nice raise and one day be a chief.
                        AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

                        IAFF Local 3900

                        IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

                        ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

                        F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Agreed

                          Steamer:
                          I agree with you posting about the caliber of candidates coming in through the medic system. Unfortunately up to 80% of the job offerings are for fire/medics. I’m getting calls at an alarming rate of medic candidates getting fired during probation because of all those things you listed.

                          "Attitude is your rudder through life."

                          I talked to a devastated candidate at a written test. This paramedic had been hired with four other medics by a good fire department. After four months he was fired. He said he thought things were going fine. Then, the captain started telling him that the other firefighters didn't like some things he was saying, started counseling and documenting him for not taking down the flag, rolling up the hose, etc. He said he was busy doing other assignments. The writing was on the wall.

                          I asked him what the other new rookies were doing? He said they were too busy kissing ***. My only reply was, "I hope you learned that if you were too busy kissing ***, you wouldn't be trying to get another job!"

                          What you do when you first start out will set your reputation and follow you throughout your career. What the candidates don’t realize, if you don't start out on the right foot, they will show you the door. The crew already knows more about them before you show up on the floor.

                          "There is now winning here. Only degrees of losing."

                          Fire "Captain Bob"
                          Author of the new book Becoming A Firefighter--The Complete Guide to Your Badge!

                          www.eatstress.com

                          888-238-3959
                          _____________________________________________

                          "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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Steamer,

                            Your post is a good one and sensible. This young man is beyond the stopping point now. If he were to stop now it would be a sign that his initiative and dedication would be in question. Completing his degree shows that he has initiative and dedication to completing a goal. The idea of doing an internship with a Fire Department under the direction of the Department Chief will only make him a better prospect on both an application and/or a resume that an oral board will look at. Assuming he does well and receives an acceptable grade and evaluation from the Chief and learns what's necssary while he is doing his internship. He will be learning some very important aspects as related to what is expected from someone within the system. He will learn this from not only the Chief but from other local government officials, Fire Officers and Firefighters he will be dealing with and he should be allowed to deal with all the above and a good solid Chief will allow this. The Chief I interned with told me watch, learn and listen. He also said, I want to hear your ideas and suggestions and welcomed both. He also told me when I was totally out of line too. Believe me, he'll learn to be a little humble but he'll also learn to be confident and not arrogant if led by the right Department Chief and that's the secret. Get accepted for the internship by as many chiefs as possible and hope you've chosen the right one to teach you the traits that are necessary. I feel that he'll also be more mature after this adventure. I also feel that this experience will be an advantage to him in front of any oral board.


                            That sheepskin is as important, if not more so than going the medic route first. It's a long process that should give him pride and confidence in his abilities to learn and be disciplined. Most departments around my area only require an EMT-B to be hired but on the flip side almost all of them require at least 2 years of college credits. The majority will require him to advance his medical skills during employment. Finishing his degree is only a plus; it's never a minus. Anyway, this my take on his situation and I think he's going in the right direction to achieve his goal and if he does it right, he'll GET THE BADGE.

                            P.S.
                            Steamer, you sound like the type of individual that could lead a young wannabe in the direction necessary. Hopefully he interns with a Chief that will do just that.
                            Last edited by FireLt1951; 09-10-2003, 11:07 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cozmosis
                              George,

                              I wouldn't have a problem with CaptBob chiming in... If he actually wrote posts. Obviously, many people have found his advice helpful. However, he doesn't participate in conversations. He just sees keywords in a thread and posts an appropriate column from his Web site. The proof of this exists in the fact that he shows up in every thread about probies or jewelry with the same "leave your cell phones and earrings at home" column.

                              Edited to add... In my neck of the woods, paramedic engine companies and fire-based EMS transport are not common. Most FDs train their people to EMT-B or First Responder. So, the paramedic route would be a two-year waste of time if you're doing it just to "Get The Badge."
                              You are absolutely right. He also won't respond to anything written. Probably because he is not getting paid.

                              I have begged the WT to shut this guy and the escapebozo down. How can they expect the rest of us to follow the rules when they are not equitably enforced?
                              PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

                              Comment

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