Public Safety Voices: Fire Chief Tom Jenkins

The Millennial workforce presents new challenges. 

“Our primary challenge is how to deal with the youngest generation we employ: the Millennials. We’re used to hiring people who want to be career firefighters, and for the first time ever, our new hires are often not interested in a long-term career. So, how do we keep them motivated and retain them?

“We start by acknowledging that it’s not business as usual. This is just not the same group working here today; they’re not going to conform to what we believe are the best parts of the job. For example, it’s hard to get Millennials to work overtime – they enjoy their time off. We used to work 24 on, 48 off; now we work 48 on, 96 off.

“This generation is also focused on wanting to make a difference, to have an impact – to see and do different things. If things get stagnant or they get bored, then they’re unhappy and want to go elsewhere. So, to combat that, we created diversity in our assignments, e.g., running airport fire stations, special rescue and hazardous materials teams.

“At some point it begins to inch toward a crisis. We can’t compete with the private sector on pay. We offer a great pension, but they live in the now. They’re not thinking about the future.”

At best, fighting fires is only five percent of our job.

“The one thing people don’t respect enough is the wide scope of our business. Over 3,000 people die every year in a fire; it’s still a very real and tangible threat. But a lot of people think all we do is fight fire. At best, that’s five percent of our job.

“We’re the only 24/7 health care industry that still makes house calls. Car wreck, train wreck, chemical spill, chest pains, or a house on fire – we’re the first on the scene. We work to balance all the new and emerging things we do. It’s tough to advocate for so many different things, and be master of all.”

Fire Chief Tom Jenkins, Rogers, Arkansas, Fire Department

New Series! Public Safety Voices

Next week we will begin running a very special new series entitled “Public Safety Voices.” Our goal in creating this series is two-fold: (1) to bring together the public safety community – law enforcement, fire, emergency communications and corrections – through your shared challenges, experiences and goals; and (2) to illuminate the good work, heroism and humanity of our public safety workforce.

The entries will be relatively short – think of it in terms of Humans of New York for public safety professionals – and will come from interviews with public safety professionals all over the country and from coast to coast.

So please check back with us next Tuesday when we’ll bring you the first entry in this exciting new series!

Participants Needed for Entry-Level Firefighter Test Study (Discounts Available!)

IPMA-HR is in the final stretch of finishing up the validation study on our entry-level firefighter (FF-EL) test series, but we still need your help!  We are seeking a few more agencies who have administered a test from the FF-EL series to provide us the scores received by firefighters who were selected for the job.

Once we’ve received these test scores from you, we ask that each firefighter’s supervisor complete a brief 9-question performance evaluation.  This will allow us to see whether our tests from the FF-EL series continue to be successful in predicting on-the-job performance.

For your help, you will receive $100 off your agency’s next IPMA-HR assessment order.  In addition, your participation in this project will provide direct evidence supporting the validity of these exams and their use in your agency.

If you would like to participate, please visit the following link to provide your test scores:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FFELScores

Our Research Associate, Julia Hind-Smith, will then follow up with you to provide further instructions on completing the performance evaluations.  If you have any questions about the study, please feel free to reach out to Julia at jsmith@ipma-hr.org.

(Please Note: All information gathered for this study will remain strictly confidential.  The data gathered will be combined with data from other departments and only be reported in the form of group statistics.)

Entry-Level Firefighter Test (Discounts Available!)

Has your agency previously administered any of the tests from IPMA-HR’s Entry-Level Firefighter (FF-EL) series?

If you answered ‘yes’ to this question, then we need your help!

IPMA-HR is gathering the test scores received by current firefighters who took the FF-EL test to better understand how the tests are currently performing.

What We’ll Need from You:

  • Firefighter’s FF-EL 100-, 200-, and/or 300-series test scores between 1994 and 2016.
  • Fire Academy score (if applicable)
  • Completion of a 9-question web-based performance evaluation

What You’ll Receive from Us:

  • $100 off your agency’s next test order
  • Direct evidence supporting the validity of the exam and its use in your agency
  • Hire better. High quality tests help you select high-quality candidates, saving your agency the costly expense of turnover.
  • And it’s free! A test development and validation project of this scale done internally could cost your agency in excess of $100,000. Participation in our test development projects is free.

Please contact Julia Hind-Smith at jsmith@ipma-hr.org if you would like to learn more and/or participate in this project.

(Please Note: All information gathered for this study will remain strictly confidential.  The data gathered will be combined with data from other departments and only be reported in the form of group statistics.)

Introducing the new FCO 400 Series

We are excited to introduce our new 400 Series Fire Company Officer Tests. These tests were designed to assess whether candidates have the competencies to perform successfully at the rank of fire company officer (i.e., lieutenant, captain) in a fire department. FCO 401-EM and FCO 402-EM were designed for those departments that perform emergency medical (EM) services. The series is comprised of four tests:

These tests are meant to fully replace the two Fire Company Officer A and A with EM tests we’ve been offering for the past year, and more fully reflect the FCO 300 Series that were offered in Spring 2014 and earlier.

Feel free to request the reading list for these 4 tests. The reading list is quite different from the Fire Company Officer A and A with EM tests because two books are now in new editions. Continue reading

New Promotional Fire Tests Now Available

We are pleased to announce the launch of four new fire service promotional examinations, designed to assess qualifications for promotion from firefighter to company officer.

Company officer is a first-line supervisory rank commonly called fire lieutenant or fire captain in different municipalities. The new tests incorporate the most current developments in the firefighting field — new technology, new regulatory requirements, hazardous materials updates, new developments in firefighting and rescue, as well as supervision and team leadership concepts. All test questions were selected using a thorough validation process, including linkage to the job analysis data and review by 18 or more expert practitioners in the field, from different departments and geographic regions, to assure each question’s accuracy and relevance. All questions were also linked to study references which were formulated into a recommended reading list for candidates.

The final products of the validation study were four 100-question tests. Two of the four tests are designed for departments which provide EMS services, and the other two tests are for non-EMS departments.

Each test covers areas such as fire behavior, firefighting procedures and tactics, rescue and safety, building construction, supervision, hazardous materials, fire prevention and fire safety, and (for two of the above forms) emergency medical services.

The final test forms are:

FCO101-EM Fire Company Officer test with EMS component
FCO102-EM Fire Company Officer test with EMS component (alternate form of FCO101-EM)
FCO103 Fire Company Officer test  – no EMS component
FCO104 Fire Company Officer test  – no EMS component (alternate form of FCO103)

Besides reflecting the most recent developments in the field, these tests provide more flexibility for the departments which use them. Departments can alternate the use of these tests over time to avoid overexposure of the questions in the promotional process.

A Technical Executive Summary is available for the FCO Series of tests in lieu of a full Technical Report. The full Technical Report is expected to be made available by the start of 2012.

Reading lists for all four tests are available immediately to Test Security Agreement signers.