Are written tests really necessary for hiring in the fire service?

Are written tests really necessary for hiring in the fire service?

Joseph E. Hancock

Waterford, Connecticut

This refers to Henry Morse`s letter in the December 1997 issue. I have never supported written testing for hiring in the fire service because of all the certification processes already in place within the fire service (i.e., firefighting, haz-mat). I have tried to identify other professions that put job candidates through the same stressful process and cannot find any that do more than have job candidates take a pre-employment drug screen test.

When a city or town hires other general government employees, or even school teachers, they do so based on education and experience. I was very fortunate that the city I work for broke new ground (and also saved money!) by eliminating the written test process and made applying for the job the first step for hiring. I thanked God for this because I had been trying to get “on the job” for almost 10 years, only to almost get it or not score high enough on a test that asked me which way is quicker to get fire truck “A” to fire “B” on the map when street “C” is closed for repair. Within that same time frame, I had acquired many fire service certifications, easily passing the tests U.

It is time for the cities and towns to realize that good people educated and willing to do the job are already out there and there is no need to hire a testing company to find them. All they have to say is, “Submit your resume.”

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