Originally Posted by aduran
Hey everyone. I finished getting my Firefighter 1 and 2, Hazmat, etc from Texas TEEX program at the end of April. I've been working on my resume and have visited many websites saying that recruitment is closed for many cities around me at the moment. I live in the Kitchener, Waterloo area, but am willing to commute. I'd also like to ask some questions about how my resume should look and whats important to put on it.
I'd love to be able to talk to any firefighters who could provide me with some tips, info, and could answer some of my questions regarding how to get a job and what I should be doing. Recruitment opens up how often? How do I go about finding a volunteer position in any of the cities around me ? I'd appreciate any guidance I can get! I'd like to talk one on one if possible as well.
Welcome to the Firehall forums. Congratulations on graduating from TEEX, your already on the right path. Although I may not be a full-time firefighter, I've been pursuing it the last 4 years and have some experience to share with you none-the-less. I am also a graduate of both the Texas A&M(TEEX) program (Class 125, Jan-Apr '08) and Seneca College's Firefighter Pre-Service program, and was faced with the same question when I returned home from Texas 2 years ago.
The first thing you should do, if you haven't already, is get your DZ license and Standard First Aid + CPR Level HCP, so you qualify for any upcoming recruitments. These are considered the minimum qualifications for 99% of recruitments in Ontario and should be obtained ASAP.
The next thing I would do if I were you is go out and grab a book called the "Comprehensive Guide To Canadian Fire Fighter Exams" which is available at any Chapters or Indigo bookstore, and start reading through it in order to prepare yourself for any upcoming recruitment tests. All fire departments now screen incoming candidates using whats called a "CPS examination", which tests your ability in; Memory and Understanding of Oral Information, Reading Comprehension, Math (without the use of a calculator), Mechanical Aptitude and Interpersonal Relations. Study up and be ready to score well on this test as this is what determines who gets an interview.
Now that your ready to go out and practice and participate in recruitments, you should start to do some resume padding. This is where things like volunteer firefighting and other resume boosters come into play. My suggestion? Diversify yourself. The last thing you want to be is Candidate #1234 that has a Pre-Service Firefighter diploma and volunteers with Utopia Fire Department. Don't get me wrong, Candidate #1234 is off to a good start, but it's your responsibility to build upon the skills and abilities you already have. This is what recruiters like to see. Some suggestions for this might be to volunteer at; Big Brothers/Big Sisters, St. John Ambulance, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, or maybe at a local food bank/homeless shelter. I would suggest staying away from doing any of these "rescue courses" (eg: Swift Water Rescue, High-Angle Rescue) you may hear about as they tend to be extremely overpriced and expire after one year, in which case it may or may not be valid when you apply/get hired by a fire service.
Addressing your question regarding how often recruitments run; recruitments are department specific. Some departments (eg: Toronto) run a recruitment drive every year whereas other departments (eg: Brampton) run a recruitment every 2-3 years. It depends on where you want to work and what their process is. I advise you to check out the websites of the specific departments you want to work for and plan accordingly.
As for volunteer firefighting; you will normally find this in rural communities and usually have to live within a 5 minute drive of the volunteer firehouse, meaning you may have to move in order to qualify for employment as a volunteer. Volunteer's work on an on-call basis, meaning they carry pagers and respond to call's as-needed. They don't standby at the station like full-time firefighters.
Overall; prepare yourself for a long, uphill battle. The schooling is the easy part, the hard part is about to begin. Your likely to receive many no's before you finally get that incredible yes you've been working so hard for. Don't lose hope, don't lose determination. Keep focused on your goal and you'll achieve it. If you need any more information or advice, don't hesitate to contact me or any of the other guys/gals on here. I find this to be a great resource for everything fire-related, so check often!