The Questions You Should Ask During Your Fire Station Visit
This topic has kept coming up over the years, so I thought it best to make a post for you to give you an idea of the sorts of questions you want to be asking when you visit a fire station as part of your preparation for the firefighter recruitment and selection process in Australia, or anywhere in the world for that matter.
General Ideas About the Questions You Should Ask
The key things to be thinking about if you are wondering what questions to ask during your visit are as follows:
- The job you’re applying for: firefighter
- The organisation you’re applying to: QFES, FRV, DFES, NTFRS, FRNSW, ARFF, SAMFS, etc.
- The process that you are going through—nuances of the recruitment process.
These are going to be of benefit to you, so if your question relates to any of the above, you’re on the right track.
Specific Questions to Ask from Firefighters
These are some specific questions that you might also want to ask the firefighters.
“Where am I likely to be stationed?”
If this sort of question changes depending on the service you’re applying to and the year of recruitment, it is good to get a grasp of it so that you can do the necessary research about the possibility of a move if that is something that is likely. A question like this allows you to accept the fact and also demonstrate, if asked, that you have really considered all the impacts of taking on a role like this might entail.
“What does an average day on the station look like?”
This is also another good question as it allows you to get a firmer grasp on what actually goes on at a station routinely, as attending emergencies most likely only accounts for 5–10% of the time spent on station.
“What do you find the hardest or most challenging about the job?” OR “What’s your favourite thing about the job? ”
If you ask questions like this, it gives you a chance to see what you might find challenging and how you might deal with it, so when you’re put on the spot in an interview or similar, it’s already been through your thoughts and you’re not stuck making something up on the spot. On the other hand, if you have spoken to a number of firefighters that expressed differing views about what their favourite thing was, this allows you to add some meaningful, well-thought out input when describing “why you want to become a firefighter”, which will have much more impact than the next person.
“What seems important to the organisation at the moment?”
A question along these lines is to try and elicit what is going on organisationally that may not be apparent from external publications. This allows you to get a deeper understanding of the organisation and its challenges, orientation, and goals. Getting this sort of information can genuinely make you unstoppable compared to someone that doesn’t have the insight, given that you know how to use it, of course.
Additional Tips When Visiting a Fire Station
Get a Broad Range of Exposure to Different Firefighters at Different Ranks
The more exposure you get, the better off you’ll be. But always make sure you speak to at least 2 of the newest firefighters on shift to gauge how they found the recruitment process, what they were asked, what they found difficult, and what they saw as important to know going in.
Listen Carefully and Be Appreciative of the Guys’ Time
There are times to talk about how much you know about a subject and times to ask questions and listen. This is the latter. Your attitude going into a station visit directly correlates with what you are likely to get out of the visit. Most firefighters love to share their experience of getting into the job, as it is usually a big achievement that they are proud of. This is good news for you if you can listen, engage, and show some appreciation. I have seen guys go absolutely above and beyond for people that do this. I have also seen people do the bare minimum when someone shows up wanting to tell them how things are.
There is no point going to all the effort to visit a station, talk to firefighters, and attend information evenings etc., if you’re only retaining part of the information and having to rehash things you should already know because you have been told before. You want to be building a folder of gold to draw on, so that each interaction is compounded. If you do this and treat it like a serious pursuit, you will beat the rest.
I have given you a very brief overview of the themes of things you want to be getting clarity around that can be achieved at a station visit. If you can grasp the key concept here, you will know exactly what questions you need to be asking during a station visit.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.
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