Emergency Scene Simulations
In the Emergency Scene Simulations section members will have full access to 24 static and 24 dynamic visual simulations using the SimsUshare simulator program. These simulations cover 24 different types of emergencies commonly seen during Officer assessment centers.
In addition, the Emergency Scene Simulations section includes examples of the most common, all-risk emergency incidents that you should be prepared to manage as an incident commander. The visual simulations cover a wide variety of incidents, including: house fires, apartment fires, a structure fire with a known rescue, commercial building fires, multi-casualty incidents, wildland, and hazardous materials incidents. You will learn how to locate and manage a victim, a lost firefighter, and a downed firefighter, during an emergency incident or simulation. In addition, you will see how to respond to the developments that typically occur during a simulation. One of our objectives for you is to make sure that you are not seeing a situation for the first time during your promotional exam.
All simulations are first managed as a dynamic scenario with units responding verbally to the Incident Commander on the radio. You will see and hear how to command an incident using proper Incident Command System terminology. Following the dynamic scenario will be a static version of the same incident. In a static simulation there is no radio traffic. The incident commander explains how he would manage the incident. These are the two most common types of emergency scene simulations that are used during promotional exams.
Emergency Scene Simulations
In the Employee Counseling section members will have unlimited access to eight (8) video scenarios that depict an officer managing a personnel issue that you are likely to encounter during your assessment center or when you get promoted. We review the disciplinary process, provide you tools, demonstrate how to conduct a counseling session, and implement the appropriate corrective action or discipline commensurate with the infraction.
The secret to managing an Employee Counseling scenario is having an established system. Our members will learn a system, through our custom instructional video, known as the 8-Step Process, which allows them to prepare and manage a counseling session with even the most difficult employee.
We have created eight (8) Employee Counseling videos designed to show our members how to conduct a counseling session. All eight videos are available to our members. Each video begins with the narrator reading a scenario while it is displayed on the screen. Following the presentation of the scenario, the officer interviews the employee about the situation that has been presented in the scenario. The officer follows the 8-Step Process to conduct the counseling session.
As the officer progresses through the counseling session a banner displays which step the officer is currently in, allowing our members to track the progress throughout the video. This helps to reinforce how to utilize the 8-Step Process.
Our members will see scenarios that are typical of ones used in exams throughout the country. They include: citizen complaints, poor driving, unacceptable conduct, performance issues, injuries, station banter, preaching, and undermining the officer’s authority.
In the Oral Interview section, Fire Officer members will have full access to over 75 pages of Fire Officer promotional oral interview questions and answers. Battalion Chief members will have full access to an additional 30 pages of focused questions and answers. These questions and answers were developed through years of writing, proctoring, and rating promotional examinations. All the questions you will see have appeared, in one form or another, on fire officer and battalion chief exams throughout the country.
Our team has vetted these answers and concepts. We are confident that, when coupled with your style and delivery, our responses and rationale will help guide you to be successful in the oral interview portion of your assessment center. We have been using these exact questions, answers and rationale for years when coaching our many clients, from across the country, for their promotional exams with successful results.
In addition, members will have access to our custom instructional video titled, “Oral Interviews.” In this video, we discuss the five dimensions that are typically utilized to score most oral interviews. The video also shows our members how to prepare for their interview up to, and including, what to do the day of the interview. We provide you with guidelines to follow when responding to questions to help ensure that you are addressing the question that was asked and not the question that you want to answer (a very common interview mistake).
We will also teach you how to read subtle clues from your raters and how to tell if you are scoring valuable points versus wasting time and losing the raters’ interest.
Oral Interview Questions
In the In-Basket section, Fire Officer members will have full access to five (5) complete In-Basket exercises. Battalion Chief members will have access to an additional four (4) higher level BC level exercises. Each exercise has 10 components that are commonly seen in In-Basket exercises throughout the country. Following each exercise is a complete answer key that explains the rationale for managing each item and identifies the correct answers.
The In-Basket exercise is one of the most challenging and difficult portions of a fire department assessment center. One of the reasons that the In-Basket presents such a challenge is because most firefighters are not aware of the types of problems that a fire officer or battalion chief faces at the start of each shift. In addition, most firefighters do not have a method for identifying and assigning priorities to issues so that they can be addressed in the appropriate order.
Our goal with this section is to take the mystery out of the assessment center In-Basket exercise and teach you the skills necessary to achieve your best score in this portion of your exam. Members will have full access to our In-Basket section, which includes our custom instructional video titled, “In-Basket Exercises”. This video will teach you the secret of how to successfully prioritize the issues presented to you. It also shows you how a systematic approach will allow you to successfully manage each scenario to a successful completion. In addition to the video, members will have access to five (5) in-depth and complex In-Basket exercises that we have developed. Each of the issues utilized in our exercises is typical of those used in actual promotional examinations throughout the county.
Members can hone their skills using the five Fire Officer and/or four Battalion Chief In-Basket exercises that we provide. Once they complete their in-basket exercise we show them all of the factors and actions they should have considered to maximize their score for the In-Basket they just completed
In the Writing Assignments section members will have full access to over 30 different writing assignments. The assignments are presented in an exam format, including the topic, the expectations of the finished product, and the time limit to complete the assignment. Our examples include notices of discussions, oral reprimands, written reprimands, common memos, essays and performance improvement plans. The format of this section includes a document that explains the writing assignment, the pertinent background, and the allotted time frame that you are given to complete the event.
After you have created your document based on the assignment, you will compare it with the finished document on our site. Our documents have been written by fire service professionals with a focus on content, organization and grammar and cover a wide variety of topics and format types. We are confident that our documents would be scored well in any exam.
Many exams include a writing portion because; once you are promoted, you are expected to create emails, memos, evaluations and respond to citizen inquiries on a regular basis. The department needs to ensure that its officers are able to produce documents that are professional, grammatically correct and that follow the proper format. Unfortunately, most firefighters struggle in the writing portion of their assessment center because they lack practice and exposure to what a correct document looks like once it is created.
The writing assignment in your promotional exam will be graded on several dimensions. Each of the dimensions represents areas where the prepared candidate can maximize their score and achieve their promotion. The only way to score well in your exam is to practice writing, not just to improve your spelling and grammar but also to widen your understanding of a variety of fire service topics.
Chief Fedak is a Battalion Chief with the Orange County Fire Authority. Due to state conflict of interest laws, the services provided by AFO may not be offered to current OCFA employees holding the rank of Battalion Chief or lower.