Menlo Park Fire Protection District welcomes 14 new firefighters

by Contributed Content on June 16, 2019

Fourteen new Firefighters recently “graduated,” completing their 12-month probation or their 12-week Fire Academy. Some are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) while others are Paramedics.

While hundreds apply to be firefighters, only a small number meet the entry level criteria and are allowed to take the written exams. Not everyone passes, or scores high enough, to move on. Top candidates are interviewed by a panel, further reducing the group to a smaller number of individuals who are interviewed by the Fire Chief, who ranks the top candidates.

They are then handed off to a background investigator. Candidates who check out are screened medically and psychologically. Those that pass are given a conditional job offer based upon openings.

Each candidate then attends a rigorous 12-week Fire Academy. If they successfully graduate from the Fire Academy, they are assigned as “probationary firefighters” to one of the Fire District’s seven Fire Stations located in Atherton, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and unincorporated San Mateo County.

They then start a 12-month process where they are formally given written and manipulative tests every three months and rotated to different Fire Stations until they successfully complete four rotations.

“This career isn’t for everyone,” said Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman. “We’re looking for people who calmly walk towards problems that need solving while others may be running away. We’re  looking for courage, competence, confidence and compassion.”

The Fire District has both an Explorer program for interested local high school students and a cadet program for community college students. These “feeder” programs strive to encourage the next generation of young adults to consider public safety and the fire service as a potential life time career choice.

Back row: Eight new Menlo Park Firefighters who have successfully completed their 12 month probation – Firefighter/EMT Nathan Cipres, Firefighter/Paramedic Tyler Brandt, Firefighter/EMT Ryle Fitzgerald, Firefighter/EMT Eric Anenson, Firefighter/Paramedic Chase Pritchard, Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Goodman, Firefighter/EMT Jens Schneyder, Firefighter/Paramedic Sam Pacholuk

Front Row: Six Menlo Park Fire Academy Graduates who successfully completed their 12-week Fire Academy and will now will start their 12-month probationary period – Firefighter/Paramedic Alex Toriggino, Firefighter/EMT Tyler Keahi, Firefighter/Paramedic Marcus Bojorquez, Firefighter/EMT Robert Hurst, Firefighter/EMT Geoff Davitte, Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Reguera

Photo by Peter Mootz

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