Smart Questions to Ask During Your Station Visit
In this blog, we will be discussing the importance of visiting a fire department before your interview and what types of questions you should be asking…
So let’s get right too it!
So once you get there it’s important to get insight from different people in the department. You should try and seek out a probationary firefighter as well as a senior firefighter.
Why should I be asking questions to both probationary & senior firefighters?
It’s important to ask questions to both probationary & senior firefighters because they have very different responsibilities in the department.
The probationary firefighter will be focused on studying and learning the job as well as learning the basic things that are required of them as a rookie firefighter.
The senior firefighter, on the other hand, might be in charge of some programs, they might have some other responsibilities assigned by their captain that the probationary firefighter might not have.
What types of questions should I ask?
There is always the basic information you can collect if you are unable to collect them online, such as:
- Information about the council members
- The square miles of the city
- The fire chief’s name
Other important questions to ask are:
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- What is the organizational structure of the department? (From fire chief down to firefighters)
- Does your department have division chiefs? If so, what divisions are they responsible for? Are they on a 40 hour schedule or do they do shift work?
- Who’s in charge of the EMS division? Are they on a 40 hour schedule or do they do shift work?
- Who’s in charge of the facilities? Are they on a 40 hour schedule or do they do shift work?
- Who’s in charge of the mechanical division? Are they on a 40 hour schedule or do they do shift work?
- Who is charge of the health and safety division? Are they on a 40 hour schedule or do they do shift work?
- Who’s in charge of promotional exams, entry level exams, turnout gear and uniforms, critical incident stress management? (Is that a division chief? 40 hours schedule or shift work?)
- How much specialized equipment, how many stations, how many trucks, how many calls?
- What are your target hazards? (Do they have wildland, high rise, water ways etc..? )
- Where are the schools located?
- Do they have a high density residential areas?
As you can see, these are not all commonly asked questions. It's important to get as much information out of your station visit as possible to ensure you have some great talking point during your interview.
I would also encourage that you ask similar questions to both the probationary and senior firefighter because that probationary firefighter might have only been there for a couple weeks or months and they don’t know the entire operation of the department.
Do I need to memorize this information?
It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to memorize this information. This way you can slip bits and pieces of information organically in conversation during your interview.
It’s also not a bad idea to have some notes on it just in case you forget.
So I know that some of these questions might be a little overwhelming but I can’t stress how critical it is to do a station visit(s) and to ask the right questions. If possible I would also recommend that you do multiple stations visits.
Maybe the first time you go, you don’t have a chance to speak to a senior firefighter, well if you go a second time, you just might have that chance.
So I hope this article helped you understand what types of information you should be pulling from your station visits.
Take care & good luck,