Fire Department Interview Question – The Dead Body Question

Fire Department Interview Question – The Dead Body Question


Many fire departments hire new candidates
only to find out later they can’t handle the death part of the job. Very seldom have I
ever heard a candidate really nail this question. Most often fire service candidates fumble
around in their attempt to answer the death question, and that fumble is because it’s
an uncomfortable topic. Let’s look at how this question should be properly responded
to… It’s no secret that in this business, you’re
going to see things that are the making of nightmares for the average person. You’ll
see death at its most gruesome, and that’s just a fact. Tell us why you feel that you’ll
react to, and how you’ll recover from being exposed to critically injured and fatally
injured people. I think I’d be fooling myself, and certainly
not fooling any of you, if I said that death doesn’t bother me. I’d come off as cold and
calloused and that doesn’t depict my nature at all. I’m just as compassionate as any person,
but I also understand that terrible things happen in this world, and death is inevitable,
and sometimes unfortunately, it’s violent. The part of me that outweighs a natural and
appropriate aversion to death is the side of me that feels compelled to assist those
in need, and to do that in all elements of this profession. I know that there will be
many times that I’m exposed to victims of extensive trauma and death, and I’m prepared
engage myself professionally in those situations. There will be people that ask me how I can
do my job and likewise, I often wonder how a person could be an accountant, no offense
if any of you have accountants in your family (then laugh a bit). I think you all know what
I mean, some people are cut out for a profession like this, others aren’t and I understand
there’s an ugly side to this career, and I’m willing to manage that accordingly. As for my recovery from traumatic incidents,
I’m not certain that I’ll need recovery time and I’m not so sure that I won’t. I believe
I’ll take from the experience of my seasoned coworkers and the knowledge of my supervisors
and look to them as examples and for advice if I were in need of that guidance if that
time comes. The oral panel is searching to determine if
you display one of two, very common, undesirable reactions to this type of question. There
are two responses that fire service oral board panels receive when they ask the dead body
and/or dismemberment question. They are: 1. Do you get, well, kind of freaky or grossly
uncomfortable with this question. Now, “uncomfortable” can materialize in an answer in several different
ways and the more common is that the candidate begins making statements that are meant to
impress the panel. “Yeah, I’ve seen lots of dead bodies, doesn’t bother me a bit” is just
one type of negative answer. The panel knows that a person of ordinary senses, are bothered
at least a bit at the sight of a dead person. Now, if it’s true that the candidate isn’t
bothered in the least at the sight of a dead person, the panel will most certainly pass
on this candidate, as they know he or she is only posturing, and isn’t being honest. 2. Do you become a cross between “Superman”
and “Ice Man” and tell the panel that you can handle anything at all with no problems,
regardless of many bodies are piled up! Again, this is the type of answer that keeps you
looking for a job in the Fire Service. In essence, that panel is looking to see if
you’re normal, that’s it. In my answer to this question, you’ll note that I added an
element of compassion, like most any person, right? I followed that by saying that everyone
is cut out to work in their chosen profession and that I simply couldn’t work an office
job, that I was indeed the type of person that is desirous of, and capable of managing
myself in this line of work, and that I was also understanding of the fact that there
was an “ugly” side to working in the fire service. And finally, another very important element
to my answer was the close, and that was my reference to looking to seasoned fire service
professionals, including supervisors, in the event that I felt I needed that as a support
tool, as I grew into my profession. Once again, an all-encompassing answer, and
that’s exactly what the panel is looking for, but seldom gets from candidates.

14 thoughts on “Fire Department Interview Question – The Dead Body Question

  • If some have been I the fire Service before and has seen a dead bodies and they just able the cope with the issue at hand how would you answer the question but don't want to come off heartless but sincere

  • Chief, while in an interview adding all of the points you have added in this video. Can I back up my awnser with the fact that I have been through these events with a volunteer department.

  • In some ways the way some folks way are raised death is not bother some because they were raised to except that death can occur and a peron must be ready to handle it.

  • I have my 3rd interview coming up to become a firefighter this coming week! Unfortunately I didn’t make the cut the first two tries but I won’t give up. I am excited and nervous but these videos have helped me tremendously. Thank you Chief!

  • Bullshit, Bullshit and more Bullshit! It's a JOB and no matter what you run into, you have to treat it Unemotionally like a JOB! Your job is to, "Stop The Threat as Quickly and Safely as possible while using the Least Amount of Water." You will NEVER see an American department do the JOB that way. You see Blind and Braindead heroic bullshit from weak and immature people who allow their emotions to take over and That is why they can't handle Deaths. That dead body is part of a JOB and is Not to be Felt emotionally. For the most part, people who become fire fighters in America do it because they Can't work at a Real job and are so weak emotionally that they need to be thought of as Heroes by the ignorant public. They posses a Horrific work ethic and the LAST thing on their minds is Helping their fellow man and it shows in their performance. Even ones who REALLY want to help, don't posses what it takes to actually do the Job and their so called Leaders wouldn't let them anyway.

    Grow the hell up America!

  • Cheers for the Video! Forgive me for the intrusion, I would appreciate your initial thoughts. Have you thought about – Rozardner Lucky Interview Reality (do a google search)? It is a good one of a kind product for firefighter interview tips minus the headache. Ive heard some amazing things about it and my cooworker at last got great results with it.

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