Prziborowski Table of Contents


Foreword by Anthony Kastros                                                                              xv

Acknowledgments                                                                                               xvii

Introduction                                                                                                           xix

101 Tips to Ace Your Promotional Exam

Career development is a journey—not a destination                                              1

Know your why                                                                                                         9

Voices of Experience—Captain Marc S. Davidson, Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue Department 10

Voices of Experience—Sean Eagen, Fire Captain, Buffalo (NY) Fire Department 12

Voices of Experience—Dennis L. Rubin, Fire Chief 14

Create your own mission statement and personal values statement                            17

Prepare for the position you aspire to                                                                   19

Voices of Experience—Personal Story #1 22

Voices of Experience—Personal Story #2 25

Think and act like the position you aspire to, whenever the opportunity arises  29

Voices of Experience—Personal Story #3 30

Voices of Experience—Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO, CSP, Fire Chief (Ret.), Founder of Situational Awareness Matter, Host of the SAMatters Radio Show 31

Voices of Experience—Jim Moss, Captain/Paramedic, Metro West Fire Protection District (MO) and Coauthor of Firefighter Functional Fitness 33

Voices of Experience—Jacob McAfee, EFO, CFO, CTO, FSCEO, Deputy Fire Chief, North Central Fire Protection District, Fresno (CA)  36

Understand positions below and prepare for positions above                              39

Voices of Experience—Andrew J. Starnes, Battalion Chief, Charlotte (NC) Fire Department 43

Getting promoted is a “MINDSET”                                                                         47

Voices of Experience—Captain Mike Daley, FO, CTO, MFI, CFEI, IAAI-FIT 53

Take charge of your career/professional and personal development                           57

Voices of Experience—Captain Jarrod Sergi, Norfolk (VA) Fire Rescue 59

Participate in a promotional process because you want to                                   60

From this point on, there is nobody else to blame but you                                   62

Be the one who believes that the glass is half-full, not half-empty                              63

Voices of Experience—Captain Jarrod Sergi, Norfolk (VA) Fire Rescue 64

Know where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, etc.                           66

Have a vision                                                                                                           67

Voices of Experience—Brian Crandell, Ed.D., EFO, Fire Chief (Ret.) 68

Perform a self-assessment                                                                                      72

Create and implement your career road map/action plan                                    74

Voices of Experience—Division Chief Mark Nugent, MPA, CFO, Midway Fire Rescue, SC 75

Continuously evaluate your progress of your road map/action plan                            78

Have an up-to-date resume and your application ready to go                              79

Have an up-to-date list of references and a cover letter ready to go                            81

Understand team-building dynamics and techniques                                            84

Learn from the mistakes of others                                                                         86

Voices of Experience—Dave McGlynn, Career Training Chief, Fire Instructor and Public Speaker 88

Learn from your own mistakes                                                                               91

Learn from the positives of others                                                                         92

Stay out of trouble                                                                                                  93

Voices of Experience—Billy Goldfeder, Deputy Chief, Loveland-Symmes (OH) Fire Department (Proudly bumped and bruised since 1973) 94

Strive to be a role model, both on and off duty                                                     99

Sometimes you may have to step back to step ahead                                         100

Don’t let others psych you out in a negative way                                                103

Talk to those already in the positions you aspire to                                            104

Talk to those who supervise the position you aspire to                                       106

Talk to those who have taken previous promotional examinations                            107

Talk to your senior command staff                                                                       108

Find your mentors within your fire department                                                  109

Find your mentors in other fire departments                                                      110

Voices of Experience—Rommie L. Duckworth, BS, LP, Captain, Ridgefield (CT) Fire Department 111

Find your mentors who work outside of the fire service                                     115

Be a mentor for someone else                                                                             116

Voices of Experience—Chief Tiger Schmittendorf, Deputy Fire Coordinator (Ret.), Erie County (NY) Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services 116

Look at the job specification/description to ensure you are qualified                120

Look at the latest promotional examination announcement
from your department                                                                                   121

Look at promotional announcements from other departments
for similar positions                                                                                       122

Find out what to expect on your next promotional exam                                   124

Do your research to identify the promotional examination
testing components                                                                                       148

Take promotional preparation classes                                                                 149

Take career/professional and personal development classes                             151

Obtain your formal education                                                                              152

Finish off any incomplete college degrees                                                           154

Voices of Experience—Phillip Jose, Deputy Chief (Ret.), Seattle (WA) Fire Department  155

Obtain professional credentials                                                                            158

Attempt to get elected to your department’s Union/Association Executive Board 161

Get involved at your fire department (on and off duty)                                      162

Get involved outside of your department and within your community              166

Take advantage of completing special projects at your fire department            168

Start building and maintaining positive working relationships                              169

Voices of Experience—Mike Gagliano, Captain (Ret.), Seattle (WA) Fire Department  169

Have at least three personal strengths to share and discuss                               174

Have at least three personal weaknesses to share and discuss                           175

Voices of Experience—Dan Kerrigan, EFO, CFO, Chief of Fire and Emergency Services, Township of Upper Providence (PA) Fire and Emergency Services 176

Know your fire department inside and out                                                          178

Voices of Experience—Michael M. Dugan, Captain (Ret.), Fire Department of New York 179

Know your community inside and out                                                                  181

Know the current SWOT of your department                                                      182

Be open to different assignments that may arise within the department          183

Prepare for and rehearse answers for your oral interview questions                            185

Voices of Experience—Jesse Quinalty, Owner, Red Helmet Training 186

Voices of Experience—Dennis Reilly, Fire Chief (Ret.) 188

Understand your role and powers as a supervisor, manager,
and leader                                                                                                      190

Voices of Experience—Anthony Avillo, Deputy Chief (Ret.), North Hudson Regional (NJ) Fire and Rescue  191

Voices of Experience—Captain Dena Ali, Raleigh (NC) Fire Department 192

Prepare for and rehearse the three most important things
you will do at the firehouse                                                                           197

Prepare for and rehearse the three most important things
at the emergency scene                                                                                199

Voices of Experience—Captain-Paramedic Ryan Pennington, Charleston (WV) Fire Department 201

Voices of Experience—Dave Dodson, Battalion Chief (Ret.) Colorado 204

Practice, practice, practice!                                                                                  208

Join Toastmasters                                                                                                 209

Understand the term “soft skills” and ensure you possess them                             210

Take communication classes                                                                                213

Teach classes inside and outside your department                                             215

Create personnel expectations to share with your new crew
on your first day                                                                                             216

Voices of Experience—Randall W. Hanifen, PhD, FIFireE, Battalion Commander, West Chester (OH) Fire-Rescue & Chair—IAFC Company Officers Section 216

Strive to read at least one fire service leadership book every
other month                                                                                                  219

Strive to read at least one non-fire service leadership book
on the opposite month                                                                                  220

Attend at least one fire service conference each year                                         221

Subscribe to at least one fire service–related publication                                   222

Subscribe to at least one fire service–related email list                                       223

Stay up-to-date with your fire service                                                                  225

Strive to be a continuous student and lifelong learner                                        227

Become a member of fire service–related associations and organizations         229

Become a member of non-fire service–related associations
and organizations                                                                                          230

Anticipate who your competition will be on test day                                          231

Find your quality study partners                                                                           232

Demonstrate you are not just a safe beginner, but you can
hit the ground running                                                                                  233

Know what the raters and the fire chief are looking for in candidates                234

Know what dimensions the raters are evaluating you on
during the process                                                                                         235

Remember that every point counts                                                                      236

Don’t be a box-checker                                                                                         237

Focus on quality, not quantity                                                                              239

It’s always about the details, details, details                                                        240

Voices of Experience—Sean Gray, Captain, Cobb County (GA)
Fire & Emergency Services 242

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know                                                          243

It’s not what you say; it’s how you justify what you say                                      244

Take charge of your reputation management and social
media footprint                                                                                              245

Continuously strive for credibility and respect, as opposed
to just being liked                                                                                          248

Voices of Experience—Benjamin Martin, Captain & Founder of  249

Voices of Experience—Reginald D. Freeman, MS, CFO, FIFireE, Fire Chief, Hartford (CT) Fire Department 251

Know your leadership style                                                                                  255

Voices of Experience—John Dixon, FO, TO, Battalion Chief, Instructor, EGH Volunteer Advocate 256

Never give up                                                                                                        259

Always have an “all-in” attitude                                                                           260

Voices of Experience—Nicol Juratovac, Assistant Chief, San Francisco (CA) Fire Department 260

Don’t forget why we are here                                                                              263

Voices of Experience—Todd LeDuc, Assistant Fire Chief (Ret.), Broward County (FL) Fire Rescue & Chief Strategy Officer, LifeScan Wellness Centers 264

Do not allow mediocrity, incompetence, arrogance, or complacency                266

Voices of Experience—Billy D. Hayes, Fire Chief (Ret.) 266

Remember we promote people, not resumes                                                     270

Voices of Experience—Larry Conley, Leadership Development Concepts, LLC 271

Have a plan for your firsts in the promoted position (first day, month, year, etc.)                                                                                                                       273

Don’t wait too long to start preparing for the next
promotional examination                                                                              274

Understand the higher up you go, more of getting the
promotion is about “fit”                                                                                275

Go into the process positive, but not so positive you set
yourself up for failure                                                                                    277

Volunteer to serve as a rater for a promotional process                                     279

Realize you may have to test outside of your department
to get promoted                                                                                            280

Involve your family, friends, and crew in the process as
soon as possible                                                                                          282

Don’t sell yourself to the devil just to get the badge;
it isn’t worth it!                                                                                            286

Voices of Experience—John A. Hayowyk Jr., Captain, City of Passaic (NJ) Fire Department 294

Prepare For the Position You Aspire To (Reprise)                                            297

You Didn’t Pass the Promotional Exam—Now What?                                     298

You Made the List but Didn’t Get Promoted—Now What?                            302

Voices of Experience—P.J. Norwood, Deputy Chief/Training Officer, East Haven (CT) Fire Department 305

Voices of Experience—Personal Story #4: 309

In Summary                                                                                                         311

Closing Thoughts                                                                                                 313

Index               315