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 # 9

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 13,000 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 e-mails 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 below:

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


1.    Austin, Texas firefighter exam registration and March 6th, 2005 prep seminar registration

2.    Massachusetts statewide Fire  exam

3    Oral board skills:  Are you prepared?  Capt. Bob Smith

4.   How to best prepare yourself to become a firefighter. Capt. Steve Priziborowski.

5.    Test taking strategy for reading and verbal comprehension Don McNea Fire School ( )

6.   Entry Level Exam Help

1.    Austin, Texas Firefighter Exam information and prep seminar

The Austin Fire Department will have applications available and begin accepting applications at 7:45 am Central Standard Time on Friday, February 11,
2005. The deadline for all hand-submitted applications is 6 pm CST on Tuesday, February 22,   2005. Mailed application submissions must be postmarked no later than midnight on February 22, 2005. Faxed applications are not acceptable. AFD will not be held responsible for damaged, delayed or lost mail.

Applications are available at two Austin locations:
New headquarters at 4201 Ed Bluestein Blvd (northeast corner at Techni Center Dr) or previous location at 2785 East 7th Street (at Pleasant Valley Rd).
The office will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays, and for the city holiday on Monday, February 21st. Please note that only an official Austin Fire Department application will be accepted. Standard City of Austin employment applications will not be accepted. The written examination will take place at 12 noon on March 12, 2005 at the Austin Convention Center.

Additional exam information can be found at the link below.

Don McNea Fire School ( will be conducting a five hour exam prep seminar for the Austin, Texas, firefighter exam on Sunday, March 6th, from
1:00 p.m until 6:00 p.m. at the Austin convention center. For additional information and registration go to the link below.

2. Massachusetts Statewide Fire Exam

Last day to sign-up March 5th, 2005
Exam date:  April 24, 2005

Go to the link below for complete exam details

The testing subjects for this exam will be Memorization, Visualization, Spatial orientation, Verbal comprehension, Verbal expression, Information, Ordering, Problem sensitivity, Deductive reasoning, Inductive reasoning.

For complete exam prep for these subjects, go to the link below

3.  Capt. Bob Smith
Oral Board Skills: Are You Prepared?

I've been on over 100 oral boards. Believe me too many candidates fall short. They think they can wing it. They have firefighter friends that have given them mock orals. Their friends can't bring them selves to tell them how bad they are. You know other candidates who have all the answers. If they had all the answers, they would already have the badge in a city that paid well.
I know you have been number 3 in Seattle, in the top 5 at Ontario, made the cut on the CPS test, waiting for the next call from LA City, and tested in Portland, Chicago, Stockton, Dade County and passed the tough physical agility test in Phoenix to go onto the oral. If you're a medic, you had the advantage of taking more tests.

You have every degree, certificate and merit badge you can get. A volunteer, paramedic, education, and great experience. But you're still the brides maid. You don't have the badge. The guy you thought was the village idiot went through our program and has his chest all puffed out with a badge. NO! You're probably not ready. You've been driving and flying all over the
country collecting frequent flyer miles, putting careers on hold, ruining relationships, running out of money and hope, and haven't figured out that with all your education and experience . . . the rubber meets the road in the oral board. If you can't pass the Job Interview, You don't get the Job! This is where you putt for dollars. Even golf pros take lessons. Haven't you been beat up enough yet? We would you like to work with you to turn things around? It's been said that when the student is ready to learn, the teacher appears. Are you at this point now? In the articles to follow, we want to help you shortened the learning curve to the closest point between you and the badge.

Ready? OK, here we go. Keep you hands and feet in side the ride at all times: What are you actually doing going to an oral board? If you answered: selling yourself, making a good impression, and, yes, don't forget to ask for the job are good. But, what you're really doing is auditioning for the part to be a firefighter, engineer, inspector or officer. Just like the part in a play. Do you know your lines? Do you know your part? If you went down to a local college to audition for a part in the community play, you have to know your part and lines wouldn't you? Right? It's the same thing in an oral board. You have to know what you're going to say before you sit in the chair. Does a Broadway play start on Broadway? Of course not. It starts in Iowa,
Miami or Connecticut. They take it on the road to try it out, work out the script, refine and polish it up. If they create enough interest, sell enough tickets and get great reviews from the critics, they make it to the bright lights of Broadway. It's the same in getting ready for your oral boards. You have to take this puppy on the road to get ready for your oral boards. You have to get your script down. A script about you, not a clone of someone else. Then, you practice, practice, practice. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse until it becomes second nature to you. Once you do this it will be in your subconscious. That's where the magic takes place. Some will say this will be "canned". No, it sure will be planned though. Success is where preparation meets opportunity. The harder I work, the luckier I get.

For additional oral interview articles go to the link below.

4. Capt Steve Prziborowski

How To Best Prepare Yourself To Become A Firefighter

This article is going to focus on how you can BEST PREPARE yourself for the position of firefighter. Remember that the competition if very tough and you have to be able to show why you are the best candidate for the position. 3,000 people competing for 10 positions don't leave you with many margins for error. Think of the process of becoming a firefighter as survival of the fittest (or best prepared).

There are many ways you can prepare yourself to become a firefighter. Remember that you want to be UNIQUE in a positive way. You are truly competing against yourself, not the other candidates. The more you can prepare yourself, the better chance you stand at getting that badge! People ask me what classes to take to become a firefighter. My answer is that there is no "cookie-cutter" way to become a firefighter. What works for one person, might not work for you.

Many students just want to get the bare minimum, which I feel is an EMT certificate, a firefighter 1 academy certificate, and maybe a certificate of achievement in Fire Technology. Many just finish the academy and don't bother to complete the remaining three or four classes for their certificate of achievement. All of those qualifications should not be your stopping point; they are actually your starting point!

Why is that? Because look around at the competition. It seems like everyone has an EMT certificate, a firefighter 1 academy certificate, some fire technology classes, etc. Do departments require all of those things to take the test? Some do, some don't. Some require EMT certification or Paramedic licensure to take the test (bare minimum requirements). Some require one or both of those plus a firefighter 1 academy or firefighter 1 certificate. Some just require you to be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. Think about it - if everyone has the bare minimum requirements or a notch above the bare minimum, what is going to separate you from them? WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE COMPARED TO EVERYONE ELSE?

That is what I want to concentrate on with this article. Personally, to compete in today's entry-level firefighter market; you should strive to obtain the following items (not in any particular order):



CPR for the Professional Rescuer (American Red Cross) or CPR Healthcare Provider (American Heart Association) - MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT LET IT EXPIRE!

Firefighter 1 Academy certificate

Firefighter 1 State certification

Volunteer experience - I don't care what type of experience, just do something and do it well! Here is a great way to do something unique. People are always looking to become volunteer firefighters. That is great, but here you can really shine if you find some unique way to serve your community. I would suggest trying to have non-fire related volunteer experience to prove that you are "well-rounded." If you can also get volunteer fire experience, do that in addition. Besides trying to become a volunteer firefighter, contact your local fire department and see if they have volunteers in other areas of their fire department (as opposed to fire suppression) such as in administration, fire prevention, haz mat, training, etc. Many candidates don't realize the importance of a well-rounded background.

EMT experience on an ambulance or in a hospital (full-time or part-time) - Firefighters respond to over 60% EMS calls in most jurisdictions. Do you think departments want inexperienced EMT's? Also, if you want to go to paramedic school, you usually need EMT experience.

Ambulance Driver's License - If you want to work with a Private Ambulance Company in California (such as AMR), you will need an ambulance driver's license. It is available through any DMV office. Full-time firefighters working for a fire department that provides ambulance transportation services do not need ambulance driver's licenses. Each state might have different requirements relating to this area, so be sure you are aware of what is available to you.

Specialized Training Certificates - If you live (or want to work) in California, examples include Public Education 1, Fire Prevention 1A, 1B, and 1C, Fire Investigation 1A and 1B, Auto Extrication, Rescue Systems 1, Confined Space Awareness & Operations, Swift Water Rescue, Hazardous Materials First Responder - Operational, Decontamination, Technician, or Specialist. These are classes certified through such agencies as the Office of the State Fire Marshal or California Specialized Training Institute. If you live outside of California, there are similar classes available (they might have a slightly different name) through the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Bilingual Ability - If you don't presently speak a second language, immediately attempt to do so. Many departments give preference to bilingual candidates when hiring and some departments in Southern California (Santa Ana F.D., Garden Grove F.D., etc.) require EMT, FF-1, & a fluency in a second language just to take the test! Some people think they have to speak Spanish to be bilingual. While Spanish is an excellent second language to learn, there are other languages. A good friend of mine speaks Russian. How many other candidates speak
Russian? Probably very few. Does that make him unique in a positive way? YES! He might be the only person on the Stockton Fire Department that speaks Russian (as opposed to a number of firefighters that speak Spanish).

Clean driving record - This includes no accidents and no traffic tickets. Why is this important? At some point, you will be driving fire apparatus. If you have proven yourself to be a driver with accidents and traffic tickets on your record, how are you going to prove you're going to be an excellent driver that the public and your crew demands and deserves? Nobody is perfect. If you've had issues in the past, now is the time to prove to the fire departments that you really want to become a firefighter and that you've turned your life around. I wouldn't want someone that can't drive his or her personal vehicle safely, driving our crew around the city in our $300,000 fire engine!

Excellent Physical Fitness - If you don't have a physical fitness routine now, you need to get one! Pair up with a buddy or two and get a routine. Preferably you are able to get guidance from a professional on what to do and how to do it to obtain the maximum results. Weight lifting alone won't cut it! You need to have a combination of aerobic activities, cardiovascular activities, and muscular / strength-building activities. Don't forget your diet!

Memberships & Affiliations - Start getting involved in the Fire Service. What are you waiting for? There are organizations you can join as a student that will give you more insight on the career you plan to spend the rest of your working years in (at least I assume you do). Many of these organizations provide a monthly newsletter. Examples include:

State Firefighters Association
International Association of Arson Investigators
National Fire Protection Association
National Association of EMTs
Being a member of various fire-related organizations is another way you can be unique, while also educating yourself on the fire service.

Fire Service / EMS Publications - There are many of them that you can use to better educate yourself on current trends in the fire service. Some of the best choices include:

Firehouse Magazine
Fire Engineering Magazine
American Fire Journal
Journal of Emergency Services Magazine (JEMS)
Firehouse Magazine even has email update services (free of charge) where they send you daily fire service related news updates.

NOTE: I've had entry-level firefighter oral interviews in the past where they asked me what are some current trends in the fire service. Because I was a subscriber to the above publications (and others), I was able to talk about the information (such as current fire service trends) that is contained in each monthly issue. Doing so showed the oral panel that I was motivated at keeping myself up-to-date with the fire service, and I was willing to invest in my future.

Now I apologize if I discouraged any of you after looking at that list. If anything, I hoped I motivated you to strive to be the best you can be! Don't think you have to get every one of those items done to become a firefighter. Some get hired with very little (or none) of the requirements and some have almost all of the requirements. THERE IS NO GUARANTEED FORMULA ON BECOMING A FIREFIGHTER! I'm just trying to give you suggestions to help guide your way. Remember, having some of the above requirements might allow you to take the test
(minimum requirements) or compete with the other candidates.

If you cannot sell your qualifications or market yourself properly, you're not going to get the job! Just because you have it on paper or have done it in the past, doesn't mean you can communicate effectively what you have done. That communication is done in the oral interview, whenever you encounter a person related to the organization you're attempting to get hired onto, on your application, and on your resume (if you're allowed to turn in a resume).

SUMMARY: The information contained is my opinion, based on my experience and education. Remember the saying about opinions, they're like stomachs (I know I changed the word that usually goes there) - everyone has one! There are many right ways to do something. Not just the way that a firefighter told you, whether they are your neighbor, your friend, or a relative. Remember that what worked for that person getting hired, might not work for you. They did something right to get them their badge. Respect their opinion and listen to what they have to say.

I CHALLENGE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU TO FIND OUT AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT BECOMING A FIREFIGHTER! I am a resource to you, just like many other firefighters or ex-firefighters are. The information I provide you with is for you to use, as you feel appropriate.

YOU CAN LEARN SOMETHING FROM EVERY FIREFIGHTER OR EX-FIREFIGHTER. Talk to as many people as you can to get information on becoming a firefighter. That way, you will not get locked into just "one person's opinion." Remember - you are in control of your own destiny! What you make of your life is up to you and the effort and hard work you put into getting what you want. 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 is a state certified Chief Officer, Fire Officer, Master Instructor, Hazardous Materials Technician, and state licensed Paramedic.  He has an Associate's degree in Fire Technology, a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and a Master's degree in Emergency Services Administration.  He also publishes a free monthly ne!
 wsletter 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 additional career articles by Capt. Prziborowski go to the link below.
5.Test taking strategy for reading and verbal  comprehension Don McNea Fire School (

Verbal comprehension measures your ability to read and understand the types of written materials a firefighter might be expected to read on the job. You will be presented with a reading passage and then asked to answer questions about the passage. All the information needed to answer the questions will be included in the passage itself. In answering the questions based on the reading passage, it is important that you answer the questions only according to the information given in the passage. If you have information from your own experience and knowledge, you should not use it to answer a question of this type. Even if you think that there is a mistake in the reading selection, you must still answer the question on the basis of the information given in the reading passage. The kinds of Reading Comprehension questions that appear on a civil service exam tend to be somewhat different from the reading comprehension questions on a school related exam. That is because there are d!
 ifferent kinds of reading--skimming, reading for general understanding, reading for details, etc. Your exam will be based mostly on reading technical materials, not anything like a novel or essay. Hence, your exam will have more focus on exact grasp of details.  There are certain techniques that will help you do well on reading comprehension questions. Here is a summary of the most important techniques. Use your pencil. To begin with, use your pencil as a pointer. Using the pencil to guide your eye along a line of text helps you to focus on the details in the reading; it holds your attention to the precise words in the passage. In a long test, attention may weaken. Fatigue may blunt your attention to details. But using your pencil as a pointer will help to preserve your attention to details.

Another benefit of using the pencil as a pointer is that it will probably speed up your reading. The steady flow of the pencil across the page with each line of text draws the eye along at a steady pace. Do not go faster than you can grasp the text, but do try to keep your reading going at a steady pace set by the pencil. Circle key words and phrases. In a Reading Comprehension test you are not reading for just a vague general understanding of the passage. You usually have to read for detailed understanding. There will be individual words that are important for grasping a point exactly. You do not want to write so much on a passage that it is hard to read a second time if you need to go back to check a detail. But you do want to circle key words or phrases that will enable you to zero in on precise points needed to answer a question. Read short questions carefully the first time. When you are reading a short question for the first time, read it carefully. A short question is!
  one that is only seven or eight lines long. You can retain all of the main ideas and remember where particular things are mentioned from one careful reading. Hence, you do not want to waste time reading this passage twice. Besides wasting time, another bad consequence of reading a short question very carelessly the first time is that it may leave you with some false impressions of what you have read. Wrong ideas can get stuck in your head from a careless reading. Then it will be more difficult to get the correct answer.

For long questions, look ahead to see what is being asked. Take a look at the "stem" of the question, the sentence that precedes the answer choices. And look at the kinds of choices that are being offered. Sometimes reading passages are long but the questions are asking only for particular details. In that case you can often skim a long passage to find the particular detail. Keep forging ahead. Do not get bogged down if there is a word or sentence you do not understand. You may get the main idea without knowing the individual word or sentence. Sometimes you can sense the meaning of the word from the context. Sometimes the word or sentence may not be the basis of any question. If there is some idea you need to answer a question but do not understand, read it one more time. If you still do not understand it, move on. You can come back to this question later if you have more time at the end of the test. Picture what you read. Try to form a picture in your mind as you read. Scho!
 olbooks used to teach reading contain many pictures because pictures aid comprehension. When reading material without pictures, it will aid your comprehension if you use your imagination to picture in your mind what you are reading. Read as if you were a professional illustrator who has been hired to do an illustration for the passage.

Ask yourself questions as you read. When you finish reading a sentence, ask yourself what the author was saying. At the end of a whole paragraph, ask yourself what the point of the whole paragraph was. If you ask yourself questions, you will find that you are paraphrasing the passage in your mind. That will help your understanding. Know where the author stands. Sometimes a passage will contain an evaluation of some ideas of tools or procedures. The author may want to make the point that certain practices or procedures are bad or that certain tools may not be right for a particular job. Be sure you know if the author is accepting or rejecting something.

Another good reading comprehension strategy is to read the questions before starting the passage. This does not mean to read the answer choices at this time. By reading the questions, you will have an idea of what information you will need after reading the passage. This may alert you to certain details, ideas and specific areas in the paragraph where the questions are being drawn from.

For additional articles by Don McNea Fire School go to the link below.

6.    Entry Level Exam Help:

Preparing for an upcoming oral interview exam? Go to the link below for Capt. Bob Smith's oral interview prep.

Taking a Cooperative Personnel Services (CPS) exam in the future? Go to the link below for exam prep.

Taking a Firefighter Selection Examination (FSI) in the future? Go to the link below for exam prep.

The country's top authorities on entry-level firefighter examination preparation have combined their talents and experience of training over 50,000 applicants to put together the Ultimate Firefighter Examination Package. This Ultimate Firefighter Examination Package contains everything you need for the complete entry-level hiring process.  This package will increase your chances of gaining a fire department badge!

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.