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Firefighter hopefuls can take trainee exam

first_imgThis new filter process is cheaper and faster compared with the old hiring methods. “In the past we would have one exam every four to six years,” said Capt. Anderson Mackey, at a cost of nearly $700,000 each. Prior to the online switch, applicants had a two- to three-week window to get their paperwork in time to take the three-day test, Williams said. Now, once applicants complete a fitness test, they can complete their application online. They then become part of a pool of candidates who could be randomly selected to take the test, which will be administered up to three times a year instead of twice every 10 years, Freeman said. When the agency needs to hire more people, it will randomly select no more than 2,000 candidates, Freeman estimated, to take the exam. Since going online, 2,400 people have applied for the department, which employs nearly 2,800 people. And unlike previous years, where eligible applicants could be on a waiting list for years just hoping for the day to be called in to take the exam, the applications are only good for a year. While the online process is no guarantee that an applicant will be hired, it does ease the waiting period. “At least applicants won’t be waiting in limbo like I did,” McGee said. To apply, go to www.fire.lacounty.gov. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2477 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! INDUSTRY – Raymond McGee applied to the Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff’s departments in 1997. Within a year, he was working as a sheriff’s deputy but still held out hope that the fire department would contact him. Eight years later, McGee got the call he thought would never come. “I randomly got a call from the fire department in January 2005 that they were hiring,” McGee said, now a firefighter at Industry Station 118. “I was foaming at the mouth.” McGee is among thousands of applicants that have applied and waited years to be hired at Los Angeles County Fire Department, an agency that serves 58 cities. But it’s harder to get into than Harvard, said another firefighter, Patrick Shaw. For the first time since 2005, the department will have a firefighter trainee exam starting in the spring as it looks to fill about 150 openings. This time, however, county fire Chief Michael Freeman anticipates having a smaller crowd as a result of a new streamlined application process. On Feb. 5, the county launched an online application service, Freeman said. The technology could ease the wait time – although it still does not guarantee getting hired, he said. “This online switch is very important to the agency,” Freeman said. “This enables us, based on need, to draw from qualified applicants but only have to examine a small group of people.” At its last firefighter trainee exam in 2005, more than 22,000 applicants applied for 350 spots, said Carla Williams, human resources chief for the department. last_img read more