Deputy Chief Prziborowski,
I wanted to take a moment and say thank you for the promotional resources that you have provided on the Internet. Having been recently promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief a few weeks ago, I can say without question that I would not have been writing this email without the resources you have provided to all aspiring officers.
Our BC promotional process had two parts. The first portion consisted of an Incident Management scenario, an in-basket, and conflict resolution exercises. This portion of the testing process was not one that overly concerned me as I had participated and/or prepared for these extensively in the past. Once these scores came out I was ranked first overall out of 15! Having two BC positions meant that the top 7 on the list would be interviewed for the spots.
Being the second youngest man, in length of service and age, on this list, I knew I was going to have to knock the interview panel off their feet to get the position. Once I started doing research on promotional questions and best practices, your name and articles kept coming to the top. I promptly printed out your opening and closing statement article along with some of your BC questions that I found online
(Note: to download the opening and closing statement and sample BC questions, click on the FREE STUFF link of this website above). I spent a lot of time writing, memorizing, and practicing delivering each.
The interview day came and I felt confident and at ease, as much as you can on these types of days. After entering the room and shaking hands etc... the first question was, "tell us about yourself." At this point, I chuckled to myself and went through my 4 minute opening statement which included my education, training and experience. In addition I also included four character traits that I possess that I felt were important to the position and concluded with summarizing our city's vision and values." Once I completed that question I was thinking that there was no way it will be this easy all of the way through the next 9 questions, and it wasn't, but out of the 10 questions asked by the panel, I had prepared answers in my head to 8 of them!
In my closing statement I briefly discussed other points that I hadn't had a chance to touch on during the interview. After 45 minute interview was over I felt great! I didn't care what happened with the position at that point I was just happy that I had held nothing back and put everything I had on the table. The Chief advised me that he would be making his decision that evening and that I would be notified the following morning.
The next day I was on duty and slowly, one by one, all of the Chiefs working that day arrived at my station. I knew, but couldn't believe, what was getting ready to take place. We all gathered in the apparatus bay and the Chief told me that I was on the outside looking in before the interview but after my, in his words, "phenomenal" interview, he had decided to promote me to Battalion Chief for the Internationally Accredited Roanoke Fire-EMS Department! It was hard for me to hold my emotions in check!
So here I sit this morning, 4th day on the job, as one of the two new Battalion Chiefs of Operations for the Roanoke Fire-EMS Depratment and I wanted to say "thank you" because without your assistance, information and knowledge, I would not be where I am at todya. If I can ever be of assistance to you, please don't hesitate to contact me!
My Department is sending myself, and others to Chicago next month for the Fire Rescue International Conference where I will be attending your "Survival Skills forthe Newly Promoted BC" along with
other classes. I will introduce myself to you at that time. Until then....
As you know, I've been working on getting promoted now for a few years. I'm glad to tell you that I've finally found success. I'm not sure exactly how many jobs I've applied for, but it's got to be somewhere in the 30's or maybe even the 40's...I've interviewed as far away as Big Sky, Montana and Wausau, Wisconsin (came out 2nd there) with good performance, but no job. Recently two deputy chief jobs opened up in the area. I applied for and worked my way through both assessment centers successfully. I was notified by both that I was a finalist for both and got the interview call last week from the first - Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District.
I went through m normal preparation process, then I remembered that a while back, you sent me an electronic copy of the book that you were working on "How To Excel At Fire Department Promotional Exams." In it, you discussed the concept of having a solid opening and closing statement. Steve, I've amassed over 100 possible interview questions that I could possibly face, but those 12 pages made a light bulb go on in my head like nothing before! I already knew how I would answer most of the questions, so I prepared my opening and closing statements and practiced them relentlessly. At first, they were very rote and uncomfortable, but after a while, I figured out how to put them into my own speaking style and they became smoother and natural for me.... As luck would have it, question number one was "tell us about yourself." - Whamo! Bottom line was that I was able to deliver both my opening and closing statements, and nailed them both!
My interview started at 9:00 am and lasted an hour. Now the waiting game begins (again). I thought. My phone rang at 11:30 and it was their Fire Chief. I got a conditional offer on the spot!
So, number one, thank you so much for finally getting me over the hump. This was probably the 3rd or 4th time that I've read your book, but for some reason this time, I finally got it. Number two, I want to pay it forward. My current fire department has all part-time firefighters - for the most part. They're either seasoned full-time guys from other departments that work here on their days off, or young guys and gals starting off totally green and using us as a stepping stone. The second bunch (newbies) need to know about you. I know that you've got a number of books out now, but I wanted to buy a half dozen of your best book that will get these kids hired. Please let me know which is best and I'll take care of the rest. I've already forwarded them to your entry-level preparation website - www.chabotfire.com, but I want them to have the same awesome advise that you gave me.
Thanks Steve, you changed my life, talk to you soon!
How you doing? Great I hope. I took your promotional class last year (in Merced, CA) and it worked!!!!! Thanks for all your help!
Thanks to some of your classes and advice, I have been successful in accepting a Fire Chief position with a small fire district in El Dorado County.
I recently attended your two classes at the Firehouse World Conference in San Diego this past Thursday. I am the female that was sitting in the front row with my two former classmates. We are all recent graduates of the Glendale Community College Verdugo Fire Academy and are eager to learn and do all that it takes to get hired as Firefighters.
On behalf of my classmates as well as myself, I would like to thank you for your time and the valuable information you shared. We are most excited to further explore your website and the additional resources you have so kindly provided us all with, as well as looking forward to receiving your emailed PowerPoint presentation.
Most of all, we would like to thank you for your passion to teach and pay-it-forward. More than the actual information, it was these two things that really resonated with us. It is inspiring to
meet individuals like yourself who have earned themselves success in the fire service and are equally eager to teach others how to be successful. Thank you sir!
I just wanted to take a moment and tell you how helpful your officer promotional exam guide was. I had some obvious deficiencies in my testing skills and was up against some very good competition with 18 other candidates for our Captains exam on April 17. I got your guide in January and studied it like a bible. Our testing was three days and I was made fun of because I read and reread the book over and over but it was all well worth it because I scored #1 on the written test and #2 on the the overall score. I will be promoting next month. I know that your book was a key part in making up ground where I was deficient and I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put something like that together. I will recommend it to all of our guys here on the next test.
I recently took the oral board that I recently reached out to you about a few weeks ago. I felt I did well, although they did not allow me a chance for an opening statement. I think my closing statement is really what sealed the deal and they invited me to take a Chief's Oral in a few weeks. I really do believe it was largely in part of your article. I cannot thank you enough. Anyways, just wanted to say thank you.
Hello Chief Prziborowski!
I wanted to tell you that I am reading "The Future Firefighter's Preparation Guide," and I am finding it invaluable. I really appreciate that you shared your insights on what you've seen in
students and the different situations that revealed a student was on or off track to becoming a Firefighter. I am learning so much. It's helping me imagine how my actions and words could be viewed
from the perspective of experienced members of the fire service. Seriously, thank you for this!
I'm not sure if you'll remember me, but I was a former student of yours at Chabot College back in 1999 and 2000. I was in your EMT class, and I'm an Engineer/Firefighter now in Montana and I just read your article in FireRescue1.com. Seeing your name on this article cracked me up because I hadn't thought of Chabot in a while. But in reading this article and remembering your class, and you as an instructor, I have to say that you were one of the best instructors I've had in my fire science career, and just wanted to say thanks for teaching me what you did, and for being such a great mentor. I hope all is well with you. Take care and thanks again!!
Hey Deputy Chief Prziborowski,
Thank you for the kind words and feedback. I enjoyed the tips and guide you gave out, but even more I appreciate that you were so passionate about educating the class and me on what it takes to
become a Firefighter. What we need to have down, and a good idea of how to get what we need down, down. I cannot express enough thanks for what you have done for me. Thank you for going over my
resume, I will definitely be revising it very heavily to make it more consise, uniform, professional and overall appealing. I will also use the information you have given me as a general guideline
for what I should work on developing further because that's what the departments I apply to in the future will most likely be looking for. Thank you and have a great day!
With warm regards,
Thank you again for sharing so much valuable information with our class yesterday. I feel it was well worth my time and effort. As you saw, I need a lot of work with my oral interview skills. Thanks for the constructive criticism. Even though I felt I did poorly, even by my standards, I am glad I volunteered for the mock oral interview. I suspect my score would have been worse with professional evaluators. It was also good to watch David do his mock interview and see how someone who is clearly more comfortable does it. Either way, it helped reinforce the fact that I have a long way to go.
Dear Chief Prziborowski,
I am a career Firefighter in Wyoming. I know several Firefighters who have gone through Firefighting classes at Chabot College, and they all have great things to say about you. During my preparation for the Company Officer promotional exam that will happen next year, I came across several brochures and handouts from presentations you have made at various fire conventions in the past. One thing I am still searching for is a current (preferred) resume template. Thanks in advance for your help and I look forward to sitting in on some of your classes at future training events.
Well, after 2 agonizing weeks, the Lieutenant's list has finally been certified and posted.
Thanks to your coaching and advice, I came out number 1 on the list!!
I had the 3rd highest written score which was a big part of the results, felt terrible about the practical portion, and felt average about the interviews. The Friday after the test we were told we could go look at our results. I knew what 3 of my friends had for their overall score and knew that I had to be a cumulative score of 95.25% and when the lady told me I scored a 98.223% I didn't really take the time to look over my practical scores and the only reason I know I did well on the interview was because that was the top sheet in the scoring process. Thanks to your advice and suggestions, I scored a 9 out of 10 on every single answer from every single interviewer, and that was the difference in being first or being third.
I'm pretty excited about it, so let me, it was well worth the time working with you. Thanks again!
#1 Fire Rescue LT's list
Good to see you this Saturday at the Fire Alumni workshop in Livermore. It was a very informative event which I am very glad I attended. Your talk was especially well delivered, and the topic
(Networking and Building Relationships) was an important one for me. Networking has never been one of my strong suits, and you offered some excellent insight to which I plan on using to the fullest.
I just finished reading your article in FireRescue Magazine, "Avoiding CHAOS, Taking Control of the Fireground," thank you. I have been a Volunteer Firefighter since 1967. Served at all Company and Firematic positions over the years. Most of the articles that I have read, are written by career Firefighters about how to deal with city incidents. I think you are the first to make it generic and info for all. This will and does work for all fire department operations. When I first looked at the article, I thought just another large community career department operation plan, then I read just a little further and then all of the article. It all seems to be common sense, but we all know that goes out the window when an emergency happens. Too many classes I have attended and articles I have read, talk about the ICS organizational chart, most make the newer Firefighters th ink that all positions are filled immediately by different personnel, that does not always work. Our most recent structure fire, 1 neighbor Chief then 2 Chiefs from our department (my son the Chief had his arm in a sling from surgery 2 days prior) 1 engine with a Pump Operator and 3 Firefighters. We all worked without regard to rank, and knocked the fire down, with no further spread, that is what we are supposed to do. As more Firefighters arrived, one of our other arriving Chiefs took over operations, I stepped back and kind of did safety and helped as needed between operations and command. The Chief stayed on the road near the engine! Once again, thank you for your insight and I hope all Firefighters can spend a few minutes to learn and follow.
2nd Assistant Chief
I wanted to thank you for all the great information you have shared on your website! I took your wisdome and tailored it to fit me. I took my chief's interview recently and knocked it ouf of the park by simply following your instructions!!!
Thank you again!!!
Word on the street yesterday is that I came out number 1 out of 5 total candidates. Still no official work or list from HQ/HR...it's hush hush...
A good friend of mine from another department knows one of the Chief's on my panel. He said he would demote to work for a guy like my based on my opening and closing statements thanks to you!!!
I would like to start out by saying that I really enjoyed the 5 key points in becoming a firefighter. I attended your class on Wednesday morning and was just amazed at the information you gave me. I am currently working towards my goal on being accepted into the Fire Academy at Santa Ana Community College. My teacher Dennis Childress insisted I go to the show and take advantage of your class. I did just that. I am very thankful to have resources such as yourself who are willing to give up their time to help someone better themselves with information that will guide them towards becoming a Firefighter. Thank you for your time and your words have not been forgotten!
Good morning Chief,
While you have no idea who I am, I wanted to give you a huge THANK YOU!!!
In August, my department in Georgia announced the promotional process for Battalion Chief. Wanting to do well by preparing myself for the process and hopefully the interview, I took to the internet. I found a tremendous amount of information, including all of your information. I began to read through all of it, needless to say, I only printed everything, down to your resume!
I was especially interested in setting myself apart from the other 70 candidates that were going through the process, and certainly wanted to be one of the 20 that would be selected to interview with the Chief. I could go on and on about how I knew I was more prepared for all that I was about to endure. Once the process began, and my day and time was right in front of me, I entered those doors prepared for any question, and to my suprise, they were all scenario based and easy. The hard part was one week later, YES, I was one of the 20 that made it to the interview portion with the Chief.
My Chief asked me some very good thought provoking questions, that my education and your guidance allowed me to answer. However, I was waiting for that one question that came at the very end. It was the last question. My Chief asked me, "tell me why you think you are the best candidate for the position of Battalion Chief." Well, there it was, the question that would allow me, because of you, to set myself apart. Surely you know what my answer was...."Chief, I am elated that you asked me that question. However, I cannot tell you that I am the best candidate for the position of Battalion Chief. I was one of the best applicants for the position of Firefighter 13 years ago. For the position of Battalion Chief, I am the RIGHT candidate." The Chief stopped writing and looked at me as I explained why I was right for the position.
There were 7 positions available, I was sure I would secure one of them.
On October 15 at 13:46 hours, I received that phone call from my Chief. In October I was officially promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief!!
Prior to taking that position, our Deputy Chief told me that I should speak with the Chief to go over the interview. We spoke in depth, and one thing that he was impressed with (that only 2 of us stated, which had to be person I shared your info with) was that I WAS THE RIGHT PERSON.
This is why I want to sincerely THANK YOU because that the RIGHT answer, and the answer that set me apart because I was able to articulate why, be preparing my answer from the information you provided. I truly hope that those men and women in your department are aware of what you have to offer, and take full advantage of it. Would I pay for information like yours, YES!!!
I am certainly going to pass your information on as well as promote your books. As far as the conference in Atlanta is concerned, the plan according to our Deputy Chief is that all of the Chiefs will be in attendance, so I look forward to meeting you. Our department is currently putting together a professional development plan. I think your assistance via the Internet and the books would be a great starting point.
I look forward to meeting you, and thanks for extending yourself to me and others!
I want to thank you again, and again, and again!!!
Battalion Chief Vera
Dear Chief Prziborowski:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking time from your busy scheduled to come and talk to us and better prepare us for a career in the fire
service. The presentation was truly useful and really handy when it comes to being the right candidate. Thanks again and have a great day!
Your newsletter is very valuable for firefighter and fire/chief officer development. As an instructor in the Fire Officer Program for the state Fire Academy and a fire chief I understand it is important to prepare students for the challenges of the real world. The not so good examples you provide can be used for classroom discussions and policy review. I was fortunate early in my career to have some as yourself provide me career guidance and promotional preparation strategies/practice. You are providing a very valuable resource in your newsletter and with your entry/promotion preparation training you are helping in raising the level of professionalism for the fire service in California.
I also wish you a Happy New Year and will stay in touch.
I want to start by thanking you for the excellent information you have on your website. It has given me a lot of insight into the steps to becoming a Firefighter.
Good Afternoon Steve,
I wanted to give you an update since I used your tools to get myself promoted 3 years ago. I first met you when I went to Firehouse World in San Diego around 2007. Your material is awesome and I passed it onto other guys that got promoted back in the summer of this year. I look forward to purchasing your new book and learning new techniques.
I want to thank you again for your presentation at "25 Reasons to hire me as a Firefighter." I learned a lot, and look forward to my next interview! I'd like to ask you to please put me on your Chabot College Fire & EMS newsletter email list. I look forward to gaining more knowledge through your newsletter.
I really enjoyed your presentation on 25 Reasons to hire you as a Firefighter. I have read a lot of your articles in various journals and I have also ready your blog through Chabot College. Thank you for the advice and the information regarding the Master's of Science Program at California State University Long Beach. I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue my education in the fire service. I enjoyed our panel discussion with the audience as well. It was an honor to finally meet you and I look forward to the opportunity to attend your training seminars in the future.
I don't know why, but I felt the need to give you a hearty pat on the back for doing it right. Most guys get out there and treat "their information, knowledge, and experience" as highly valuable and classified information...only available after you buy the book(s). You put it out there up front and help everyone right from the start. Too cool!
I can't commend you highly enough for your generous, significant and helpful material. You have done it right, and I am passing along your websites to the guys who come to me asking me how to become a firefighter.
Hello Chief Prziborowski,
I wanted to share some exciting news with you. I have been picked up with Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. I wanted to take this time to thank you for all that you have done to help me prepare for my fire service career. Thanks again I will keep in touch.
I am a career Captain in New York. I would love to chat with you regarding the article in Fire Engineering Magazine of March 2014 that you will be presenting at FDIC in Indianapolis in April - "The 2014 Company Officer - Are You Up For The Challenge?"
I could have written that article myself, or should I say those very words have been spoken by myself and a couple of my fellow officers in my department. The stories I have regarding all that you mention are just way too close for comfort. With over 24 years with my department and after spending 22 years with the Air Force National Guard in their Fire Services Section, I feel like I am ramming my head into a wall regarding training and complacency; all the way up the ranks. My Fire Chief is also a "Graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program" and sad to say, he is the extreme oppositve of what your article says you are. He believes SOPs are unnecessary and training is a waste of time; which he verbalizes regularly to myself and other officers.
I would love to have the opportunity to chat with you.
I would love to have a brief conversation with you, one of my Firefighters is heading to FDIC and he will be a newly promoted Lieutenant when he gets there; I am sending him to look you up. He is the brightest light in the fire service where we hail from and will be in the class of fire service profesionals to look out for in the future; he is the change guy.
Thanks for the study guide. There is some great information here. I wish I would have had it for longer prior to the exam. I scored second in the promotional process and will be promoted soon. I
plan on using the resources from your class to guide and train my crews in the future. I hope that I can improve my department as a whole. I have given your name and email information to some other
guys in my department with a high recommendation. Thanks again!
Dear Deputy Chief Prziborowski,
I am a Volunteer Firefighter/Paramedic and a member of the Board of Directors with a Volunteer Fire Company in Maryland. I have been tasked with developing a rookie book in an attempt to recruit and retain members for our company. We also want to enhance the proficiency of our current members and become a more active company on incidents. I came across your article titled "14 Tips to start you off on the right foot when you get hired as a Firefighter (Part 1)" and "14 Tips to start you off on the right foot when you get hired as a Firefighter (Part 2)" and even though the intended audience was newly graduated career recruits, myself and other members of our membership committee and our line fire officers were impressed with the message your article was conveying.
That being said, may we publish that article as part of our new rookie book? We feel that the message is a strong building block for the type of culture change we are striving for here. Your words on creating a strong impression and doing things the right way would help our new crew members and probationary firefighters learn the responsibilities of "being the new guy" as well as help foster a sense of teamwork. Your permission ot publish your article in our book would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your promotional preparation book, it helped....I scored number 1 overall on the assessment center. I should know this week if I get promoted.
I work for the Dallas Fire Department as well as for a local school district. We are in the process of creating a fire academy at the school and hope to start next year. One of the lessons that needs to be taught is over firefighter instructor certification. I have spent a good deal of time on your website and really like the templates you have available for your students. You have some great stuff online, I have been writing curriculum for some time and am impressed.
I work for a combination fire department in Utah. We have 30 full time staff and about the same part-time staff. This past August I finally received the promotion from Paramedic/Engineer to Captain. Already in a few short months there have been several times that I have been challenged or had to deal with situations that I thought you just read about in the books. With that being said I feel like I'm successfully handling things as they come my way. However, I believe that there is always room for improvement no matter where I might be in life. A few weeks ago, I attended the Winter Fire School in Utah down in St. George. One of the classes I took was on Saturday morning that you were instructing. I'm not sure how you did it, but you had my attention the entire class. With that being said, I'm writing to see if I can request a copy of your PowerPoint and videos you shared that morning as I would like to go over and review it for myself as well as with some of the other firefighters in my department. I'd also like to thank you for taking the time to come to Utah to the fire school and especially thank you for your class I sat through Saturday morning.
Thank you so much for dedicating your time and energy Saturday afternoon at our Explorer's meeting! I really enjoyed your talk and I could appreciate the points you made concerning firefighter professionalism. My brother and I felt the information was insightful to not only the position of firefighting but toward any professional endeavor we may face in the future. Thank you again for your time.
I wanted to thank you for your time teaching the assessment center class in Merced. It was not what I was expecting, but I got a lot of useful information. As a prospective company officer I have been thinking about my expectations for future crews. You mentioned expectations a few times and placed some importance on them.
You may or may not remember me, I know you had a lot of students since. I went through Chabot College's Fire Technology Program and one or two of your classes and had previously kept in contact with you.
Anyway, here we are. I'll try to keep this short since I know you're a busy man. After starting down the fire path in January of 2008, I now have found myself a probationary Firefighter of 8
months with a fire department in San Mateo County!
I wanted to reach out to you to first say THANK YOU. You were very influential in my journey and I admire your commitment to helping others embark on this career path. I also want to extend an offer to help if you ever had the need. I realize that I am very new in the game but I live in Hayward and would love to help others who are serious about doing what it takes to prepare for t his amazing profession.
I sat through the class you taught at FDIC in Indianapolis for getting promoted and the resources you handed out were great. Thanks. Just in case you were wondering, I finished number 1 out of 8 and was promoted 2 weeks ago!
I just wanted to drop you a quick note and tell you thank you for publishing such a great resource for the fire service on promotional skills. I recently began my first promotional center for the rank of Captain. After the written test I was ranked 9th overall and knew that I needed some guidance on portions of the assessment center that I had never taken before such as the in-basket. Your book was easy to follow and brought up some great tips that surely helped during my assessment center. Now thanks to reading and practicing the lessons that you laid out I am now ranked #1 on the list!!! Thank you again for providing such a quality product for those of us to follow.
Just promoted to Engineer, 6 1/2 years on the job for a department next to San Diego. I took my first class with you in 2005. Thank you for all your help!
How To Excel At Fire Department Promotional Exams by Steve Prziborowski
The Future Firefighter's Preparation Guide by Steve Prziborowski
Reach for the Firefighter Badge (How to Master the Fire Department Testing Process) by Steve Prziborowski