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Topic 1:  How Do I Prepare for the CPAT?

Topic 2:  What Can I Expect in the Final Interview?

Topic 3:  Evaluating Answer Choices entry-level newsletter is about YOU BEING THE BEST - THE BEST PREPARED AND BEST INFORMED! 

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October, 2013

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1. Topic 1:  How Do I Prepare for the CPAT?

2. Topic 2:  What Can I Expect in the Final Interview?

3. Topic 3:  Evaluating Answer Choices

4. 2013 Buffalo Sign Up Information and Exam Prep

5. 2013 Philadelphia Firefighter Exam Prep

6. City of Denver Firefighter Exam Prep

7. City of Fort Worth Firefighter Exam Prep

8. City of San Diego Firefighter Exam Prep

9. Firefighter Job Openings Across the Country

10. Entry-Level Exam Prep


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    1. Topic 1:  How Do I Prepare for the CPAT?

Here are some valuable tips for CPAT from Tom Dominguez and Reed Norwood:

The secret to passing the CPAT is to be in shape with a high cardiovascular fitness level and to know the techniques. The average time is between nine minutes and ten minutes, twenty seconds. Try to think of the CPAT (or any agility) as a marathon where you are trying to complete the event instead of going for the record time. You can burn out if you are going for time no matter how well in shape you are.

Most people who fail the CPAT fail the first event (Stair Climb/Stair Stepper), or run out of time during the last event (Ceiling Breach). People who run out of time at the breach and pull lost a few seconds at all the prior event stations because they PAUSED to THINK of how to do the event or PAUSED or SLOWED down to catch their breath.

#1 Stair Climb: No matter how hard you train for the stair stepper, your legs are going to be like rubber after you get off the machine and start pulling hose. The recovery time for rubber legs depends on your fitness. Even still, rubber legs or not, you have to get moving and keep moving, and stay moving! If you stop at anytime during the events, the clock is ticking and you are losing time.

The tendency is that as you start wearing down on the stair stepper machine, your pace and stride will change and that will affect your balance. As you lose your balance, you start to wobble and the momentum of the weight on your body increases the swaying. As the distance of the sway increases, you will make a natural grab for the handrails. Grab the rail (more than twice?) to many times and you are disqualified. Instead of "grabbing the rail", use the back of your hand and push your self back. Adjusting your stance and concentrating will help you avoid the "wobble". Just like wearing a SCBA, you also have to concentrate on your breathing.

#2 Hose Drag: As soon as you step off the stair machine, turn and face the line that takes you to the hose pull. As soon as the proctor takes the two sandbags off your shoulders, get moving! Pick up the nozzle and shoulder the hose and GO! This is not the time to worry about those rubber legs or try to catch your breath. MOVE! Go as fast as you can. Step into the box, turn around, get down on one knee (being careful not to come down too hard and injuring your knee) and PULL the hose, hand-over-hand as fast as you can. That drum will give you some resistance when you turn the corner but if you're going at a good clip it won't be too difficult. You can breathe while hand pulling the hose.

#3 Equipment Carry: When you get to the saw carry, just do it! Face the cabinet and remove each saw one at a time. Now, turn around and pick up both saws. This will ensure that you have both saws touching the ground before you begin moving down the line.

#4 Ladder Raise and Extension: When you arrive at the ladder raise, get down, grab the rung and raise the ladder. You have to push the ladder up, rung-by-rung as fast as you can. Move over to the fly extension and just do it.

#5 Forcible Entry: Breathe, as you follow the line and pick up the sledgehammer. Start swinging as soon as you can in short choppy strokes. Departments may set the forced entry device at a level that fits their needs. When the alarm sounds, let go of the sledgehammer and move to the tunnel crawl.

#6 Search: Get in and get out! You may not move like a greased pig at the fair but you do need to move. One candidate wrote: Here is where I lost about 15-20 seconds. The event itself is pretty fun if you are not claustrophobic. Be aware of the obstacles inside. I could not figure one out, and I got disoriented and lost precious time figuring it out. Crawl fast as there are no abrupt edges that you'll run into. All the walls are tapered so as long as you keep your head down you can fly through. Doing the practice "run-throughs" will take away all doubt of what and where the obstructions are in tunnel crawl.  Always remember to stay right, and come back to your right after an obstacle. The event is shaped in a horseshoe, so there are two right turns. This can be a good time to catch your breath as well in preparation for the dummy drag.

#7 Rescue: At the dummy pull, size up where the handles are before you get there. Grab them and get going. You may feel the burn in your legs but don't stop. It saps your strength to have to get the dummy moving again each time you stop. When you reach the barrel, do not make the turn until the dummy's knees are even with farthest side of the barrel. If you try to pull the dummy around the barrel any sooner, it takes more energy and it will take more time. Get over the line and let go of the dummy and get to the ceiling Breach and Pull.

#8 Ceiling Breach and Pull: This is the event where folks run out of time and fail the CPAT. Grab the pike pole and step in. Start pushing and pulling with all you got! If there's a D-handle on the pike pole put a hand under it for increased leverage. Get a rhythm/fast pace going. An object at rest requires energy to get it moving. An object that is moving requires less energy to keep it moving. If those ceiling hatches are not making lots of loud noise, you are not working very hard. You can buy yourself some time here that you may need to finish the CPAT in time.

Follow the instructions of the proctor! The proctor will either tell you where the line is or point to the line you are to follow. People have been failed for not following the right line to the next event.  If you were to pause five seconds at the start and stop of every event, or to stop and breathe or think about each event, you can lose about a minute and a half of precious time. Once this time is gone, you cannot get it back.


2. Topic 2:  What Can I Expect in the Final Interview

I am scheduled for my final interview with the board of chiefs next week!
I'm not sure what to buddy on the job there says I shouldn't worry...I will do fine. Still, can't help to have a little anxiety! Don't know what they'll ask me and all that...

I will know for sure if I have the job after this interview, and could start the academy as soon as the 1st of August! Any last minute words of advice??

Helpful insight

Even though this is for all of the marbles, don't panic now!

Questions: I am very excited, and very nervous at the same time. You see I just got the phone call for a Chief's oral. Just when I was starting to get familiar with the regular oral interview, it is now time to learn something new! They only gave me a day to prepare. Do you have any pieces of information that might help me? Will the structure be the same?

Should I be studying anything? The city? The organization? IFSTA? Or is this more of a get to know you type of interview? To see how you will fit in. Any advice you might have will help. Thanks for your efforts in helping make people's dreams come true! — Jeff

Many candidates start to panic when they are notified that they are going to a chief's oral. They think they have to reinvent themselves. Reinvent the wheel. WHOOAA! Understand what got you there. You are only going to the Chief's Oral because of the great stuff you already used in the first oral. You're riding the winning pony. Don't switch ponies. You're coming around the club house turn, you shoot out from the back of the pack, go to the whip, you're on the winning pony, you're friends and family are on their feet in the stands cheering you on and you ride her home for the badge.

Too many candidates switch ponies because "They said". I've never been able to find out who "They" are. If you do not continue to use the good stuff that got you this far, you could drop out of the race. This is a new arena. Candidates who are going to the chief's interview start talking to their friends. They convince them that they need to do something more. By the time of the interview, they're a wreck. It's not them going into the interview. A clone of someone else. The badges are often given to other candidates.

The chief's interview is open to any type of questioning. They are really trying to find out more about you. How you're going to be as a firefighter for the next 25+ years. Do you fit their culture? We like to hire candidates that are themselves on purpose in the interview. Someone who has a personality and is conversational. Are you that person in an interview?

Stan was going to our departments Chief's Oral. He made an appointment to come by our station. While there, he asked what more he could do to make it over the top. I told him he was riding the winning pony and not to switch during the home stretch. Three months later I was down at the training center where they were training new recruits. I saw a familiar face. I said, "Stan is that you?" He said, "Yes, I rode that winning pony all the way in!"

More information on Capt Bob's Oral Interview Prep can be found at the link below:


3. Topic 3:  Evaluating Answer Choices

Go to the link below to read this important test-taking strategy by Don McNea Fire School:


How to Become a Firefighter…the #1 ranked site on the internet on how to become a firefighter!


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!!


For those of you looking for an EMT/Paramedic/Firefighter school, go to the link below:


Past Newsletters!

If you would like to review our past newsletters, go to the link below or visit or and click on "Past Newsletters."


    4. 2013 Buffalo Sign Up Information and Exam Prep

The application period for the upcoming Buffalo Firefighter Examination is August 19th-October 19th .  Go to the link below for detailed application information:

For those of you preparing for November 19, 2013, examination, go to the link below for our custom-designed, in-depth exam preparation packages!


5. 2013 Philadelphia Exam Prep

Don McNea Fire School now has available a complete exam prep for the Philadelphia Firefighter Exam which will use the test consultant Fire and Police Selection, Inc., 9th Edition, that also includes the Work Styles Inventory.  Click on the link below for detailed information on this prep package!


6. City of Denver Firefighter Exam Prep

For those of you preparing for the upcoming Denver Firefighter Exam, go to the link below for our custom-designed, in-depth examination preparation packages!


7. Fort Worth Firefighter Exam Prep

For those of you preparing for the upcoming Fort Worth Firefighter Exam, go to the link below for our custom-designed, in-depth examination preparation packages!


8. San Diego Firefighter Exam Prep

For those of you preparing for the upcoming San Diego Firefighter Exam, go to the link below for our custom-designed, in-depth examination preparation packages!


2014 San Antonio Firefighter Exam Interest List

For those of you interested in taking the 2014 San Antonio, TX, Firefighter Exam, go to the link below to fill out a Candidate Interest Card.  By filling out this card, you will be notified by mail when the exam will be conducted and application details.  This exam is given annually and is anticipated to be given early next spring.


2014 Columbus Firefighter Exam Interest List

The City of Columbus has a mailing list to inform you when their next exam is being held.  The City of Columbus does not give extra points for residency, only 5 points given for military credit.  Columbus usually hires between 100-200 firefighters from their eligibility list.  Go to the link below to add your name to this mailing list.


Go to the link below to review the Top 150 Fire Departments in the country!


9. Firefighter Job Openings Across the Country, in conjunction with, brings the following job announcements for your review.  Since 1996, has been providing its members with the most comprehensive and accurate firefighter employment information available. We list complete hiring information and provide links to the Departments' websites and local area.

Every time we post a new listing, we verify the information and verify links to the department. We search newspapers all over the nation daily to provide you with the most current job listings available.

We also provide links to the city in which the department is located. This helps those who are interested in moving to another location to find out about the area. With this tool, you can check out housing, schools, cost of living and even entertainment options before you move anywhere. 


Firefighter Job Openings:

Ventura, CA

Napa, CA

Ocala, FL

Raleigh, NC

Bowling Green, OH

Brooklyn, OH

Upper Arlington, OH

Westlake, OH

Salem, OR

Chattanooga, TN

Galveston, TX

Montebello, CA

Orange County, NC

Ventura Fire Department
1425 Dowell Drive
Ventura, CA 93003

Ventura County

805-658-9346 - fax

Position: Firefighter-Paramedic - Lateral

Last Filing Date:   November 23, 2013

Special Instructions: Open until filled - continuous

City of Ventura, City Hall
501 Poli Street, Room 210
PO Box 99
Ventura, CA 93002


Napa Fire Department
PO Box 660
Napa, CA 94559

Napa County

707-257-9534 - fax

Position: FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC - Opens 11/08/13

Last Filing Date:   November 18, 2013

City of Napa, Human Resources
1541 Second Street
Napa, CA 94559


Ocala Fire Department
410 NE 3rd Street
Ocala, FL 34470

Marion County

352-629-8507 - fax

Position: Firefighter/EMT

City of Ocala Human Resources
1805 NE 30th Avenue
Bldg. 700
Ocala , FL 34470


Raleigh Fire Department
310 West Martin Street, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27601

Wake County


Position: Firefighter

Last Filing Date:   October 30, 2013

Keeter Training Center
105 Keeter Center Drive
Raleigh, NC 27601
919-831-6395 32613.html


Bowling Green Fire Department
552 East Court Street
Bowling Green, OH 43402

Wood County

419-354-1800 - fax

Position: Firefighter/EMT

Last Filing Date:   October 16, 2013

City of Bowling Green, Personnel Department
304 North Church Street
Bowling Green, OH 43402-2399


Brooklyn Fire Department
7521 Memphis Avenue
Brooklyn, OH 44144

Cuyahoga County


Position: Firefighter/Paramedic - Entry Level - 200 apps

Last Filing Date:   October 18, 2013

Brooklyn City Hall
7619 Memphis Avenue
Brooklyn, OH 44144


Upper Arlington Fire Division
3600 Tremont Road
Arlington, OH 43221

Franklin County

614-457-6620 - fax

Position: Firefighter Paramedic

Last Filing Date:   October 31, 2013

Human Resources
City Managers Office
3600 Tremont Road
Upper Arlington, OH 43221


Westlake Fire Department
3200 Crocker Road
Westlake, OH 44145

Cuyahoga County


Position: Entry Level Firefighter Exam - opens 10/28 200 apps only

Last Filing Date:   November 1, 2013

Westlake City Hall
27700 Hilliard Boulevard
Westlake, OH 44145

Salem Fire Department
370 Trade Street SE
Salem, OR 97301

Marion County

503-588-6170 - fax

Position: Firefighter-Medic

Last Filing Date:   November 15, 2013

Special Instructions: Closing Date: 11/15/2013 11:59:00 PM

Apply Online


Chattanooga Fire Department
910 Wisdom Street
Chattanooga, TN 37406

Hamilton County

423-697-1441 - fax

Position: Firefighter Cadet

Last Filing Date:   November 9, 2013

City of Chattanooga
100 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Shea Jefferson 423-643-7031
423-757-0032 Jay Piercy


Galveston Fire Department
PO Box 779
Galveston, TX 77553

Galveston County


Position: Firefighter

Last Filing Date:   November 19, 2013

City of Galveston, Personnel Office
2310 Sealy
Galveston, TX 77553


Montebello Fire Department
600 North Montebello Blvd
Montebello, CA 90640

Los Angeles County

323-887-4506 - fax

Position: Firefighter/Paramedic

Last Filing Date:   November 14, 2013

City of Montebello
Human Resources Department
1600 West Beverly Blvd.
Montebello, CA 90640


Orange County Emergency Services
200 South Cameron Street
PO Box 8181
Hillsborough, NC 27278


Position: Paramedic*

Last Filing Date:   October 25, 2013

Orange County Human Resources
200 South Cameron Street
Hillsborough, NC 27278


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Encyclopedia of Firefighter Examinations – our #1 selling written exam prep book!

Taking an upcoming psychological exam?

Go to the link below for our in-depth psychological preparation:

    CWH Management Solutions Exam Prep

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    Fire & Police Selection Inc.  (FSI) 9th Ed. 600+ Question Exam Prep

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