Store/Shop Entry Level Firefighter Exam Preparation

How To Become a Firefighter

Assessment Center Exam Prep

Firefighter Exam Notices/Entry-Level Newsletter Sign up

Test Drive our 14-Day Email Series Covering the Complete Entry Level Process

Ultimate Firefighter Exam Prep Package

Firefighter Oral Interview Prep

Firefighter Psychological Exam Preparation

I/O Solutions Exam Preparation

Fireteam Ergometrics/
National Testing Network
Exam Preparation

Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) Exam Prep

CWH Firefighter Exam Preparation

Public Safety Testing
Firefighter Selection

Fire Promotional Oral Interview Exam Prep

Subordinate Counseling Exam Prep

Tactical Exam Prep

Leaderless Group Exam Prep

Lt/Capt/Chief In-Basket Exams

Firefighter Pictures

Police Officer Psychological Exam Preparation

Contact Us


Firefighters Walk to Christianity

Friends of Fireprep
Square Head Bolts
Firefighter Jobs Newsletter #20

Are you interested in obtaining the competitive edge required to be successful in your goal of becoming a firefighter or being promoted to an officer's position within your department?  Since 1950, Don McNea Fire School's seminars, entry-level and promotional products have prepared over 40,000 applicants in their pursuit of becoming a firefighter or an officer.'s entry-level newsletter, which now has over 16,000 members, is about YOU BEING THE BEST - THE BEST PREPARED AND BEST INFORMED!  This periodic newsletter will concentrate on the complete firefighter and officer examination testing process.  We suggest that you start a notebook or 3-ring binder of our newsletters so that you can periodically review them in your examination preparation.

If you would like to review our past newsletters, go to and click on "Past Newsletters."

By receiving this newsletter, you will receive - AT NO CHARGE - notices of firefighter examinations being held across the country.  We will also enroll you in our weekly drawing for a free copy of our Encyclopedia of Firefighter Examinations and Psychological Exam Preparation Audiotape or CD and Workbook.

Web Site:


Fax:  440-572-5971

NOTE TO AOL MEMBERS:  With AOL 9.0, you have to permit mail or this newsletter will be placed in your bulk sender or unknown sender list.  Please add to your "people I know" list so that you will be sure to receive every issue of this newsletter.  Everyone else:  Please contact your IT department or ISP and instruct them to "whitelist," approve, and let through the emails from

Please forward or recommend this Fire Prep newsletter to anyone you know who wants to obtain that competitive edge!

If you are receiving this issue as a forward and would like to get your own free subscription or would like to be removed from our mailing list, click here:

PRIVACY STATEMENT:  We will not distribute your address to anyone.  Period.


1. 14-day FREE email series!

2. FREE 50 question practice examination!

3. New Section - Firefighter Applicants Frequently Asked Questions! 

4. Oral Interview Skills: Using Humor in an Interview by Capt Bob Smith

5. Learn How to Master the Fire Service Hiring Game - Steve Prziborowski

6. New Product - Downloadable Psychological Exam Prep!

7. Preparing for the Las Vegas or Austin Oral Interview Process?

8. 2006 Boston/State of Massachusetts Fire Exam Information

9. 2006 City of Columbus, OH, Fire Exam Information

10. 2006 City of Chicago, IL, Fire Exam Prep

11. 2006 Washington, DC, Fire Exam Prep

12. Current Exam Announcements

13. Upcoming Exams in the Next 2-6 Months

14. Preparatory Products


1. 14-day FREE email series!

If you want to start getting that competitive edge immediately over your competition, our 14 day FREE e-mail series covers the written, psychological, oral interview and physical agility. This e-mail series will guide you step by step through the maze of the testing process to help you shorten that learning curve between you and that coveted badge. As soon as you sign-up you will receive the first e-mail with important inside secrets. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!! Good luck!!!! ml

2. FREE 50 question practice examination!

Go to the link below to start gaining that competitive edge over your competition!

3. New Section - Firefighter Applicants Frequently Asked Questions! 

We have added a new page to both of our websites, and  This is an in-depth question and answer segment supplied by the nation's top entry-level authors.  Here is an example of one question:

Question: Will it help to present letters of recommendations from prominent people, such as a former police chief or my Priest or other firemen in the area?  Will it carry any weight at all?

Reply:  On most oral boards, the raters are from other departments.  It is my experience that although the raters might thumb through and glance at any attached documents they seldom if ever read them.  And come on, if you're going to attach a letter of recommendation, its not going to say anything bad but only glowing words about you. Save a tree, the raters will not read these volumes. Don't send us on a treasure hunt to find your great stuff.

I'm a one-page resume guy for entry level without a cover letter, not in a binder or folder. Do not give us a book. We will not read it. Write it believing the raters won't go past the first page. You can put any supporting details, documents, certificates and if it will help you sleep better and letters of recommendation following the first page. Keep it simple.

Question: If you are going to attach any letters of recommendation following the first page how many is appropriate.  I am thinking maybe two.  I realize that there is a very good chance they won't read it but wouldn't it still look just a little better to have a couple of them?

Reply:  How about none!  Again, I'm a one page stand alone resume guy.  Don't give me a book.  And, if you have already listed your education, experience and certs on your application and resume, why do you need to attached them; unless they were requested or you're going to a chiefs interview where there is more time with each candidate.

Many entry level and promotional candidates have told me they were complemented on having just one, as in one page only, resume.

As you know everyone becomes an expert on these issues. They will fill you head with all these crazy ideas and stuff. And because "They Said" (I've been trying to find "they" for 30 years) you needed to have all that extra stuff or the other candidates are going to get ahead of you.  So, how is all this extra stuff going to help you, really?  Keep it Simple.

Thanks to Capt Bob for his keen insight into the oral board exam process!  More information on Capt Bob's oral interview program and book can be found at the following link:

Click on the following link for more questions and answers to gain that competitive edge over your competition!

4. Oral Interview Skills: Using Humor in an Interview by Capt Bob Smith

Unless you're a humorous person, don't plan on laying something funny on the panel. I've seen people that weren't funny to begin with try to include humor in a presentation. It bombed. How would you feel in that situation if the room went dead silent and everyone just stared at you? What if this humor was your opening statement?

This happened to Ted. He said it threw off his timing and confidence and he really never recovered. If something funny happens naturally during your interview or presentation, that's a gift. Don't plan on it happening.

You sure don't want to have this happen in your interview.

Along with answering the questions correctly and having enthusiasm, it is important to keep a smooth flow during your interview.  We have all been at a party where a group of guys are standing around telling jokes and laughing.  Then somebody says something that doesn't quite fit and the mood is gone, there is that uncomfortable silence.

One of the places I have seen this is when someone is asked a question like, "What if you are on duty and a co-worker smells like marijuana smoke?"   The candidate, thinking he will get extra points for being innocent, says, "Well, I don't know what marijuana smells like."  Then there is that uncomfortable silence.  You see, the oral board wanted to find out how the candidate would handle a drug problem in the work place. Now they have to explain that he does know what it smells like, and pick back up with the interview.  But he never regains the smooth flow.

Another candidate, when asked if he had anything to add, or any questions for the panel, said "I just wanted to know if you could think of any mistakes I might make in training, after I get hired, so I can avoid them?"  This was met with the opened mouths of the interview panel, they didn't know what to say.  He had taken an excellent interview and just flushed it.  The last impression they had of him was that he might be kind of goofy.

In both of these situations, the person had done something they thought would make them stand out.  Well it did, but not the way any of us would want.  Don't try any funny stuff in the interview. It is just too hard to recover if it goes bad.

The best way to keep a smooth, steady flow is to practice, talk into a tape player, talk in your car on the way to work.  Do mock interviews. Jump at any chance you have to be speaking your stuff.  Get to the point that it is like pushing play on a tape player.

So when you go in for your next interview, you can relax and be yourself.  Getting to the point that your script is so well memorized, that there is no way you could forget any of it.  It can make a big difference.  Even if they don't ask all of the questions you have prepared. It is just the way you carry yourself when you know you have done all you can to be ready.  It is a great feeling.

More information on Capt Bob's oral interview program and book can be found at the link below:

More information on oral interview strategies can be found at the link below:

5. Learn How to Master the Fire Service Hiring Game - Steve Prziborowski

To successfully become a firefighter, it is paramount that you learn to master the game. If you can master the game, you are going to get hired. This is where most candidates fail; they do not learn how to master the game. They do not take the game seriously and they do not do everything in their power to be the best they can be at the firefighter hiring process.  Let's take a look at some ways candidates can master the fire service hiring game:

Know as much as you can about the department you are applying for. Research is paramount when you are applying for a job, and can be done via the internet (city website, fire department website, International Association of Fire Fighters Union Local website for that department, via search engines, etc.) and in person by doing station visits. How do you expect to do well and get the job if you have not taken the time to research what you are hoping to get into?

Know as much as you can about all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process. It amazes me how many candidates don't know what each phase consists of or expects of them. It is usually specifically stated on the job flyer what the different phases entail; if it is not, you can typically find that information out by visiting a fire station, visiting the fire department headquarters, or contacting the personnel/human resources department. How do you expect to be successful at the process if you do not know what the different phases consist of?

Be able to successfully pass all of the phases of the firefighter hiring process. Besides knowing as much as you can about the phases, you also have to be able to successfully pass all of the phases. I know many candidates that cannot even pass the written test. In most departments, the written test is usually one of the first phases of the hiring process. If you can't pass that, how are you going to get all the way to the final list?

Take every test you qualify for. This helps you learn your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can hopefully capitalize on the strengths and improve on the weaknesses. Trust me, we all have strengths and weaknesses; the key is learning what they are so we can make the most of them. Taking every test you qualify for also increases your chances of getting hired; the negative part about doing this is if you are finding yourself at a certain plateau and you are going nowhere. For example, you have taken ten different firefighter tests and you have yet to pass one of them. Why did you wait until the tenth test before you realized it was a problem? Shame on you! You should have immediately realized it was a problem and started working on those perceived weaknesses that you encountered during that phase of the hiring process.

Don't wait until the last minute to prepare yourself! Remember that you should always have the attitude that your dream fire department will be opening up their recruitment process tomorrow and that you will only have one day to apply. Too many people feel they don't have the time to prepare for an upcoming test, or they do not feel it is necessary to plan ahead. I remember having a firefighter ask me what books he should purchase for the upcoming captain's test - when I say upcoming, I mean that it was occurring in one month! After picking up my jaw from the ground, I tactfully told him which books he should purchase for the NEXT test that will be occurring in about 18 months. With a puzzled look, he asked me "what do you mean?" I told him that there is no conceivable way he could read and comprehend a few thousand pages of material in one month. He could definitely read and comprehend the material in 18 months, and now would be the best time to start preparing for the next test. Needless to say, he did take the captain's test, but he did not do well enough to get promoted. The bad part is that he got very close to getting promoted; so close he could probably taste it. I venture this made him kick himself for not taking more time in advance to prepare. So close, yet so far away.

Treat everyone you encounter in the hiring process with utmost respect and courtesy. Besides this being the way you should be treating everyone anyway, and being the right thing to do, you never know when and where you will meet up with these folks again. Trust me, it is a small, small world out there. I used to love a sign I saw some years ago "be careful of the toes you step on today - they may be connected to the butt you have to kiss tomorrow." So true, so true.

You've probably heard the saying that "life is just a game." Yes, it is. Now take it a step further and realize that becoming a firefighter is also just a game. The key to your success is that you are able to master that game. Mastering the game will get you where you want in life, guaranteed. Follow the above mentioned steps and you will provide more focus to your pursuit of becoming a firefighter. Start taking control of your destiny, and do what it takes to be successful - only you can make the difference!

Our thanks to Steve Prziborowski for his informative article! 

Steve Prziborowski is a Captain with the Santa Clara County (Los Gatos, CA.) Fire Department and has been in the fire service for 12 years. He is also the Fire Technology Coordinator at Chabot College in (Hayward, CA.), where he has been instructing fire technology and EMT courses for 10 years. He also publishes a free monthly newsletter geared toward better preparing the future firefighter for a career in the fire service, "The Chabot College Fire & EMS News," that is available on his website at 

For more articles by Capt Steve Prziborowski can be found at the link below:

6. New Product - Downloadable Psychological Exam Prep and Reading Comprehension and Mathematics Exam Prep!

NEW!!  For those of you taking one of the most important steps in the hiring process - the psychological exam - we now have available an immediate, digital download of our Psychological Exam Prep Program!  You can now download this material directly to your computer so that you can begin having that competitive edge over your competition immediately! 

Find out more information at the link below:

For those of you having difficulties with reading comprehension and mathematics portions of exams, Our Reading Comprehension and Mathematics Book is also available both by mail and immediate digital download.  Click on the link below for all the details!

7. Preparing for the Las Vegas or Austin Oral Interview Process?

For those of you who successfully prepared for these written examinations with our preparatory products, the link below will give you info on gaining that true competitive edge over your competition on the upcoming oral interview:

8. 2006 Boston/State of Massachusetts Fire Exam Information

Hundreds of firefighters will be hired!  Application deadline April 24, 2006.

Apply online at

Don McNea Fire School will be offering preparatory packages in the near future for this exam!

9. 2006 City of Columbus, OH, Fire Exam Information

Applications will be accepted online from April 24-May 12 for the examination which will be held the last two weeks of June.  The City of Columbus plans on hiring over 100 firefighters from this exam!  Minimum requirements are:  US citizen, high school diploma or GED, valid driver's license, 18 years of age.

See our website in the next 7-10 days for additional exam information and preparatory seminar information to prepare you for the Columbus Firefighter Exam!

10. 2006 City of Chicago, IL, Fire Exam Prep

Don McNea Fire School preparatory packages are available for mailing or for immediate digital download!

11. 2006 Washington, DC, Fire Exam Prep

Don McNea Fire School Preparatory Packages for the Washington DC Exam are available for mailing or for immediate digital download at the following link:

12. Current Exam Announcements

Los Angeles, CA, Fire Exam Prep

The city of Los Angeles is now testing monthly!  Click here: coll=la-headlines-california

Don McNea Fire School has preparation packages to help you prepare for this examination!  Visit the link below for details:

13. Upcoming Exams in the Next 2-6 Months

State of New Jersey Fire Exam

The State of New Jersey will announce their exam ment will on May 1, 2006. The application filing period will be from May 1 through August 31, 2006. The Firefighter's exam is tentatively scheduled for winter of 2006 into 2007.

Don McNea Fire School is in the process of putting together a prep package/seminar for this examination.  Please keep checking our website for the most current information!

New York City Fire Exam

The City of New York is anticipating an exam to be held in October, 2006.

Check the link below for the most current information:

Don McNea Fire School is in the process of putting together a preparatory package for this examination.  Please keep checking our website for the most current information!

14. Preparatory Products

The Ultimate Firefighters Exam Prep Package provides you with the best tools for the entire entry-level examination process - the written, physical agility, psychological, and oral interview

Find out more information at the link below:

Preparing for an upcoming oral interview exam?

Go to the link below for Capt. Bob Smith's oral interview prep.

Capt Bob's book, Becoming a Firefighter, provides you, step by step, everything you need to know in the process, starting with the application, written, physical, oral, psych interview, background, polygraph, and medical to gain a badge.

Are you taking an examination that contains the testing subject "Understanding Oral Information"?  Don McNea Fire School's exam prep will prepare you for this type of examination!

Taking a psychological exam in the future?  Don't go into this exam unprepared!  Don McNea Fire School's exam preparation will help you prepare!  Our Psychological Exam program is also available for immediate digital download so that you can start gaining that edge over your competition.

If you are serious about becoming a firefighter, Don McNea Fire School's Gold Bonus Package will guide you from the application period through the entire testing process including the written exam, physical agility, oral interview, psychological testing and resume preparation.

For those of you having difficulty on the Reading Comprehension & Mathematics portions of examinations, go the link below for help.  This product is available for immediate digital download so that you can start gaining that competitive edge right away!

Click on the link below to keep current on firefighter examinations and information on the top 150 departments in the country:

Have you recently been hired by a department?  Do you have any questions?  Email us at

We hope this newsletter and upcoming editions will assist you in obtaining the best job in the world - a firefighter.  We wish you the best of luck!

Don McNea Fire School


Home / Store-Shop /Assesment Center Exam Prep / Testimonials / About Us
Links / Newsletter Sign-up / Contact Us / Fireman Pictures / Privacy Policy

E-Mail: Contact Don McNea Fire School with any Questions.

Want to add this site to your favorites? Hit CTRL-D to bookmark this page.

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2001 - 2018
The Number One Firefighter and EMS exam preparation Web site in the country. Since 1950 our seminars & entry level products have provided over 60,000 fire applicants with that competitive edge necessary to be successful.