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Posted: 7/16/2008 1:42:29 PM EDT
I'm an EMT working in our regional trauma center. I've applied at the city fire dept, did the physical screening and was in the process of the background check.

Now this thing is huge. 35 pages, asking detailed shit that was not even on my DOD security clearance from back in the day.

they want account numbers, a half dozen character witness phone #s and information that noone has any good reason to posess. They even want a chronological life history statement from birth to present written narrative style in cursive.

What really pissed me off is for those (not me) who are widowed, the location of where our spouse died. have
I want to get on with a department but is this scrutiny common in field??? My best figuring, is they are doing it to screen out all but the most upstanding citizens for consideration.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 1:51:15 PM EDT
For a fire dept?



How much info do you need to figure out somebody isn't gonna steal stuff from a house they enter?

What else is there for a fireman to do wrong?
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 1:53:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2008 1:54:03 PM EDT by AGENT-X]
Not necessarily. I've heard of people saying they were "too clean" or something to that effect. Now wether or not that is true, who knows, they could just be covering up other reasons. My father in law is a Paramedic and he has a really clean history, but so is my brother in law and he has nothing even resembling a clean record. So take that for what it's worth.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 1:59:26 PM EDT
Sounds like the same thing I've filled out several times for hiring processes.

It's possible that since the FD doesn't have it's own background investigator, that the PD is running it, and that sounds exactly like a PD background package.

It's not so much that they NEED all the information, but it gives them something that you put down in writing and then sign saying it's the TRUTH, and when a polygraph, or investigation turns up something that is different from what you filled out, it allows them to drop you from the process.

Best of luck though.

Hopefully some other FD guys can chime in, but from a PD standpoint it sounds pretty boilerplate.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 3:24:04 PM EDT
whatever you do, make copies once it is finished so you don't have to hunt for crap again and throw it in your gun safe. I learned that the hard way.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 4:12:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By coconut1:
whatever you do, make copies once it is finished so you don't have to hunt for crap again and throw it in your gun safe. I learned that the hard way.

QFT! I had to do a similar background "novel" for a Sheriff reserves squad. I forgot to make a copy But I did remember most of the questions and such
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 4:35:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2008 4:39:37 PM EDT by TGMoore]
Think of it like this: It is a way to determine your desire to get the job. Yes it sucks, but it is likely being used as yet another filter. Those with only a wanning interest won't bother. Fill it out as completely and accurately as you can. Leave no spaces blank, follow directions very closely.

In fact make a photocopy to work from first and use that as your master copy (you can scribble all over it) then neatly recopy onto the master. Do not use white out.

I am not a firefighter but this book actually helped me a lot with the police interview process: Smoke Your Firefighter interview

I would encourage you to also start making your "loose" script to common questions so you aren't left stammering during interviews. Taping yourself audio, video or both (I used a webcam while in Iraq) while someone reads you flashcard interview questions is very very beneficial.

The first time I went into a interview with no prep I scored 127, the second time (2 years later) I scored 2nd place and was hired.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 4:46:51 PM EDT
Look at it this way: FOR A FUCKING FIRE DEPARTMENT????

Is the job White House Fire Department Special Presidential Personal Master Bedroom Suite Fire Chief Commander of the Universe?
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 4:50:36 PM EDT
That sounds pretty detailed for a FD. I don't think my PD background check was that detailed and I work for a very large PD. I guess if you want the job you have to man up and fill it all out.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 6:25:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2008 6:25:22 PM EDT by Ryan1021]
I feel your pain. I am filling out a 40 page background packet for a local police department right now.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 6:48:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2008 6:49:57 PM EDT by Esq1118]
Hang in there brother. I interviewed with over 20 agencies from state to local to federal to intelligence agencies. It was rough as my life was flipped upside down and the same questions asked over and over and over again.....asked so much that I dont even know the truth any more. Thats how bad it is. Anyways one Sgt at a local small town PD said to me as he walked me out of the interview panel of 5 cops- "What makes you think your college degree would make you a good street cop huh?! Why dont you go back to San Francisco or Las Vegas and get a job there." I was born in SF and lived in LV the last 4 years. You will meet shit heads from time to time on the job etc....just dont let them get you down. I know because I was feeling really down for a while. In case you were wondering that shitty PD was GILROY, CA Police. Garlic town USA. Where the town is like 95% latino, 3% asian, and 1% others. While the whole PD is 99% white with one latin guy.


And recently one agency was inquiring about me at my current job. My boss has been trying to fire me ever since cause i ve been there only for 2 months. Thats what really sucks with a background check. It can get you canned if they know you are going elsewhere to work.
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 7:33:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2008 7:35:56 PM EDT by PreemptiveStrike]
Unfortunately It’s getting more and more common to have extensive background checks including polygraphs(which are worthless IMO), although yours is the most in depth I’ve heard of to date for a FD application. A number of FT depts. In my area, including mine, are going to polys and more in depth background checks. Why? I have no idea.

It takes a certain kind of person to be a good firefighter. Not to sound like a cliché or to brag, but you have to have at least a little bit of balls to run into a dangerous situation. Not that it happens often, but sometimes it does happen. Face it, most of our calls are fairly simple routine service calls and medical aids. But once in a while you have a call that is the real deal and shit could go bad in a hurry. You need to think on your feet and be able to work under pressure. You need to be an alpha male. Sometimes being an alpha male can get you into situations that might be “undesireable” to todays fire service. Fights, drinking, traffic violations, ect, ect. I’m not saying every firefighter is or should be a career felon or even have a shady background. But you tend to get a few more people who are “rough around the edges” when you work with a bunch of go getters, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It seems the younger/newer generation of people coming through the door gets more and more “soft”. They often have some dumbass fire service degree(which means they know more than you), still live at home or close to it, and have very little mechanical knowledge, let alone any type of real world experience. But they can easily pass a background check because they were in their parents basement playing video games through their early twenties. They joined the fire service because they watched too many stupid movies like Backdraft and Ladder 49, and thought they could just come hang around and do nothing, get paid, and laid because that’s what firefighters do right?

When it’s “shit er git” time, they are usually the last person into the call and the first person out. But they have a nice shiny degree and passed the checks.


Stay safe...
Link Posted: 7/16/2008 10:23:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/16/2008 10:23:46 PM EDT by Esq1118]

Originally Posted By PreemptiveStrike:
Unfortunately It’s getting more and more common to have extensive background checks including polygraphs(which are worthless IMO), although yours is the most in depth I’ve heard of to date for a FD application. A number of FT depts. In my area, including mine, are going to polys and more in depth background checks. Why? I have no idea.

It takes a certain kind of person to be a good firefighter. Not to sound like a cliché or to brag, but you have to have at least a little bit of balls to run into a dangerous situation. Not that it happens often, but sometimes it does happen. Face it, most of our calls are fairly simple routine service calls and medical aids. But once in a while you have a call that is the real deal and shit could go bad in a hurry. You need to think on your feet and be able to work under pressure. You need to be an alpha male. Sometimes being an alpha male can get you into situations that might be “undesireable” to todays fire service. Fights, drinking, traffic violations, ect, ect. I’m not saying every firefighter is or should be a career felon or even have a shady background. But you tend to get a few more people who are “rough around the edges” when you work with a bunch of go getters, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It seems the younger/newer generation of people coming through the door gets more and more “soft”. They often have some dumbass fire service degree(which means they know more than you), still live at home or close to it, and have very little mechanical knowledge, let alone any type of real world experience. But they can easily pass a background check because they were in their parents basement playing video games through their early twenties. They joined the fire service because they watched too many stupid movies like Backdraft and Ladder 49, and thought they could just come hang around and do nothing, get paid, and laid because that’s what firefighters do right?

When it’s “shit er git” time, they are usually the last person into the call and the first person out. But they have a nice shiny degree and passed the checks.


Stay safe...


If you are this "old skool" guy you make yourself out to be then you should know and refer to the old timers as Fireman. Cause thats what the badges used to say till the whole USA became EEO and all touchy feelie and all and started calling them Firefighters.
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 2:55:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Esq1118:

If you are this "old skool" guy you make yourself out to be then you should know and refer to the old timers as Fireman. Cause thats what the badges used to say till the whole USA became EEO and all touchy feelie and all and started calling them Firefighters.


I wish I were that "old school", things were easier back then. Now, a lot of the time, the job is more about politics than the job. Whoever gives the chief the best colonoscopy with their face wins.

I've been FT for over 8 years, but in that time I've definitely seen a change in the new hires coming through the door. Especially since they implimented a rigid background check. The younger generation is definitely different than even I was when I got hired.

YMMV

Stay safe...
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 3:10:19 AM EDT
What kind of polygraph questions do they ask (LEO or FD)?
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 5:24:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jc45xd:
What kind of polygraph questions do they ask (LEO or FD)?

Have you ever slept with your mother?
Link Posted: 7/17/2008 8:37:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Doable_Bill:

Originally Posted By jc45xd:
What kind of polygraph questions do they ask (LEO or FD)?

Have you ever slept with your mother?


It really depends on the agency. In Northern CA they ask you how many firearms you own. Then how man assault rifles you own. In Las Vegas they ask if you have ever had sex with a dead animal, sex with your relatives, sex with a dead body. Some of the questions were quite shockers and pretty gross in my book.
Link Posted: 7/19/2008 11:52:38 PM EDT
It's not surprising how detailed they are getting, now. I believe part of it is liability and accountability. They've got you sliced and diced should past or present actions come to haunt the Dept.

The worst I've heard is a home interview where the interviewing pair of detectives advised the applicant they are here to do a home *search*, and "did he consent?", and if not "we're out of here", and then proceeded to poke in every nook and cranny of the house. He was then deployed w/his NG unit and now that's he's back they have a hiring freeze and will have to restart the process anyway.

Another buddy coming from a podunk PD and moving to a large metro PD... had a detective flown from metro PD to Podunk Potatoland PD to personally meet with prior supervisors. "Where can we go to talk off the record? Do I need to take you to lunch or dinner?"

Other times, you hear about places not even contacting all the listed references. Geez.


-josh
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 12:46:00 AM EDT
Hell Kansas City Police Departement isnt nearly that bad. Its a long process, but the Background and polygraph isnt that bad.

I remember a few questions from the polygraph:
1. Have you ever had sex with an animal?
2. Have you ever murdered anybody?
3. Are you on drugs right now?(I believe that is to see if you took any pills before the test to calm you down....but still)
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 1:34:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 1:35:07 AM EDT by paddymurphy]
It seems nuts but it has been common with the denver metro le agencys for years. It is now spreading to FD and to more rural agencies. The credit info is to avoid bad PR(hot checks etc) more than you might steal crap. The novel on your life/why you want to do it can be used for handwriting analysis. There are some legit reasons but that is what I have been told(never applied for a big agency so this is based on what guys have told me).
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 7:49:58 PM EDT
Female officer brought her app to work. She was working on it pre-shift and commenting on all the crazy questions in the thick azz packet. One of the Qs: "What is the worst thing you've ever done?"

I told her to tell us the three worst things and we'd help her decide.


-josh
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