You will be expected to outline your ability to lead and manage a crew, including your leadership philosophies and how you will inspire those under your command to follow you. These principles apply to every fire department. The same applies to written documentation that you will be expected to complete in the form of a memo, essay, documented counseling session or administrative report. You will be expected to be able to determine priorities for the day and identify issues that must be handled in the proper order. Again, the same principles apply to every department and will be scored by raters using essentially the same grading sheets, regardless of your region of the country.
The Incident Command System (ICS) was developed by the California fire service in the 1970’s in response to the massive reoccurring brush fires. The federal government took ICS and put their spin on it, relabeling it as the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and requiring fire departments to use it if they are seeking federal reimbursement. Most California fire departments use ICS on every incident.
California is often considered to be a litigious state with a strong union presence. California is one of the few states that has adopted the Firefighter Procedural Bill of Rights. This requires knowledge and skill when utilizing the progressive disciplinary system to manage a firefighter who has strayed outside the policies and procedures.
The challenges particular to California fire departments give the creators of AFO a level of real-life experience that benefits the members of this site. In addition, we have served as raters in promotional exams for many departments outside of California. We are very familiar with what is commonly tested during promotional exams and have taken this information and incorporated it into our programs.
To ensure our materials are current and relevant to the entire country, the Aspiring Fire Officers Advisory Board, (link to section in About Us drop down) which is made up of fire officers and chief officers from across the country, regularly reviews our materials and weighs in on our members’ questions. They are also actively engaged in writing and proctoring promotional exams.
Each section includes a stand-alone video that introduces the section and explains how to practice using our material. A separate video explains what the raters are looking for and how exams are scored. We have created over 75 videos for our five sections to help you understand the key points that will likely be tested during your exam, and more importantly, will be invaluable once you get promoted. Becoming a full access member will give you access to all of the videos.
In other words, joining early means that you will learn how to do things correctly the first time and not have to try to remember what you wanted to add to your delivery. The testing process is difficult enough without the additional stress of changing your established routine or trying to remember information that is new to you.
We encourage you to absorb what the site has to offer, and then evaluate how this would apply to your department. It is important that you follow your agency’s policies and procedures. If you find any discrepancies between our site and your policies, defer to your agency’s policies and procedures. We recommend approaching your agency’s chief officers to vet the information you learn on the site and advise you on how to incorporate it into your routine.
In the end it is your decision on whether you will incorporate the contemporary information and practices you have learned into your exam.
Private coaching allows us to meet with you individually, identifying any areas of weakness and focusing our coaching on your specific needs. By building on your strengths, your customized training plan can help you achieve a higher level of performance. It also produces a different level of interaction that will help you prepare for success before your exam and after you are promoted.