Eight new probationary Menlo Park firefighters recently his the streets. This follows application review; acceptance after a successful pre-qualification resume review; physical aptitude and condition testing; written exams; interview panels; polygraph, background and medical screening; and a 14- week Joint County Fire Academy followed by a four-week Menlo Park Fire District orientation.
But it isn’t over yet, these probationary firefighters will be expected to pass a written and manipulative exam every three months over the next year in order to actually become firefighters with the Fire District who’s simple, yet challenging mission, is “the protection of life and property”.
The Fire District provides emergency services to the Town of Atherton, cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, unincorporated county areas like North Fair Oaks and Weekend Acres. It provides contract fire services to the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and has agreements with the State of California and Federal Government for its technical water rescue and structural collapse rescue capabilities.
The District has seven fire stations, protects about 33 square miles of area, including portions of the San Francisco Bay with a staff of 110 personnel of which about 87 are firefighters who respond to over 8,500 incidents, or requests for emergency services, each year.
“This isn’t a job for everyone, to even get to my office for an interview you have to be squared away and ready to go” Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said. “Only those who apply themselves can pass the tests in the classroom, drill yard, station and most importantly, out on the streets in order to be able to call themselves a firefighter here.
“It’s a high bar for good reason, and while I wish them all good luck, my best advice is ears open, mouths shut, focus on being and bringing your best here every day, and open yourselves up to being schooled, mentored and learning from many talented and capable people who have your best interests in mind.”
Photo by Peter Mootz