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

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.)

2nd Edition Firefighter Study Guide Now Available

We are excited to announce the 2nd edition of our Firefighter Candidate Study Guide!

ELFF2ed StudyGuide Front Cover

The 2nd edition now offer a full 100 item practice test as well as:

  • 25 item answers explained
  • Frequently Asked Questions about the Fire Tests
  • Content area review
  • Analysis of question types and answer approaches
  • Test day tips

This study guide can be used to study for all 6 of our Entry Level Firefighter Exams; including the FF-EL 100, 200, and 300 series.

You can have candidates buy individual guides or as with all other candidate study guides, we offer reduced prices for agency purchases.

Legal Update: Spawn of Ricci

The Court will be asked to straighten out the aftermath of Ricci v. Destefano. It has not yet decided whether to grant certification in Briscoe v. New Haven, No. 11-1024, petition for cert 2/15/2012. The case that has revived the fight over tests administered in 2003.

Michael Briscoe, an African American firefighter, brought the suit that the city said it was trying to avoid when it canceled promotion lists that would have benefitted Ricci et al. District court, while somewhat sympathetic to Briscoe‘s suit, said that the Supreme Court had spoken regarding promulgation of the lists and Briscoe should have intervened in Ricci to ensure that his situation were taken into account. Among other things, Briscoe argued that the city could have weighted the written test results differently and had less adverse impact. Continue reading