Firefighting is one of the oldest and most rewarding fields. Today's firefighters provide many forms of help to their communities, such as fire prevention education, fire safety education, building plan reviews, inspections, community services, run fire and medical calls, perform rescues from almost anything or anywhere, and the list goes on. If there is an emergency, firefighters will likely be there. Firefighters are highly trained and skilled at these tasks and make a real difference in the lives of people in need.
The West Valley Fire Department provides all of the services above with an average of 50 firefighters. The fire department is part of the El Paso County Emergency Services District #2 and is funded largely by tax dollars. The West Valley Fire Department and the other five departments within the ESD #2 are all Volunteer.
The following will outline; "A", the application process; "B", requirements to successfully completing probationary membership; and "C", requirements to maintain your membership:
(1) Applicants must be U.S. Citizens, at least 18 years of age (19 before coming off probation).
(2) Read, speak and understand English fluently.
(3) Possess a valid U.S. drivers license.
(4) Submit to a current drivers background check from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
(5) Submit to a criminal history check.
(6) Be physically able to perform the duties of a firefighter as a member of the West Valley Fire Dept. (some duties within the fire dept. are non-physical and are not subject to the physical performance requirements)
(7) Click on the Employment Application link under DOCUMENTS on this page. The application is in PDF format and can downloaded and printed.
(8) Fill out the application fully--do not leave any blank spaces. Print legibly in dark ink, and bring the application with you to the Vinton Fire Station, 510 East Vinton Rd., Vinton, Texas on any Thursday at 7:00 PM.
(9) Applications are accepted on the last Thursday of every month. At the conclusion of the regular business meeting, you will interview with the Board of Officers. Please dress as you would for a job interview. After the Oral Board you will be notified as to your acceptance or denial for probation.
(10) Normal length of probation is 6 months. Up to 3 months of that time may be waived, depending on qualifications and experience.
(11) You will be graded on your performance and attitude by the officers during your probationary period. You must meet certain goals during this time.
(12) Once your probation is complete, you will attend a second Oral Board in which the Officers discuss your performance. After this meeting you will be notified as to your acceptance or denial of Membership.
(B)...Probationary Member Duties
During the probationary period, the Candidate is given several assignments that will help him or her make the transition to becoming a full member. Most of the requirements are listed below, others are detailed in the Candidate Manual.
(1) Conduct yourself as a professional at all times.
(2) Be eager to learn! Candidates are expected to participate in all training events possible, and must maintain at least a 50% attendance rate to remain in the program.
(3) Participate alongside full members in non-emergency events such as public fire education, displays, etc. This will give you a feel for the level of commitment that goes into being a member of this organization.
(4) Complete the Probationary Firefighters Workbook. Part one is a series of questions based on our Rules and Regulations. Part two is consists of eight skill sheets. These skills must be mastered and demonstrated to a certified firefighter prior to your release.
(5) Question Sets. You will successfully complete 15 individual question packets covering various firefighting functions and tasks. Each module will take approximately two hours to complete.
(6) Incident Command System Training. You will complete four internet-based training modules on the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Each module will take approximately three hours.
(7) Courage To Be Safe. You will complete an online Firefighter Safety Program presented by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
(8) CPR Card. You must be in possession of a valid CPR card prior to your release. Classes are offered bi-monthly.
(9) Learn the layout of the apparatus, what the tools are used for, and how we operate.
The successful Candidate will be able to function as a member of a firefighting crew upon release from probation.
(1) Conduct yourself as a professional at all times.
(2) Respond to 10% of the call load each month, currently
the monthly call load is around 120.
(3) Attend a minimum of 50% of the training. Currently 4 to 5 times a month.
(4) Attend your assigned shifts each month. The West Valley Fire Department currently has 2 Firefighters on duty at the Vinton Station each night, and around the clock on weekends. You will be assigned two overnight, and one weekend shift per month. Your shift schedule will be worked around your availability.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR INTERVIEW
Everyone wants to make a positive first impression, and we appreciate that. This article will help you prepare for application night, and let you know what to expect.
Your entrance exam is comprised of your application and interview. If your application is not filled out completely, or it is obvious you did not prepare for your interview, you will likely be asked to re-submit your application the following month.
Please do your homework--the fact you are reading this is a good start. Just as you wouldn’t apply for a job without researching the company, you shouldn’t jump into this profession without getting an idea of what you are in for. During your interview, you may be asked some basic questions about our organization, such as the number of Pumpers we have, locations of our stations, the name of our Fire Chief or some of the training requirements of our Candidates. All of that information is on this web site. Your ability to answer those questions will be a reflection of the dedication you put into preparing for the interview, and the amount of time you will be able to give us as a member.
Dress to impress! Dress as you would for any professional job interview. The members of this Department take a great deal of pride in this organization; if it appears you do not, the officers will consider this when recommending you for acceptance.
Bring your application and supporting material with you; hold on to it until you are asked for it at the beginning of your interview. The application is a test—please ensure it is legible, complete, and in good repair (not wrinkled, folded or stained). Supporting material may include any relevant certificates or documentation, Letters of Recommendation, etc. Also please have your valid Driver’s License and proof of vehicle insurance with you—we will need to make copies of it.
Meetings commence at 1900 (7 pm) sharp. Please be seated (preferably in the front row of the training room) before then. Members start arriving by 1830; feel free to arrive early and ask them questions to get a feel for the amount of dedication it takes to be a member of this organization. Business meetings begin with a Presentation of Colors by the WVFD Honor Guard. During the Pledge of Allegiance, please show respect by placing your right hand over your heart, in lieu of the hand salute rendered by uniformed members.
Be prepared for a long night. It is not uncommon for interviews to last past 2330 (1130 pm). The conferences will begin at the end of the regular business meeting. Candidates scheduled for release will be called first, followed by new applicants. You will be interviewed individually by the Board of Officers, with each session lasting approximately 10-15 minutes. Upon the completion of your conference, you will be asked to step into the training office while the officers discuss your application. You will be summoned back into the classroom and informed as to whether you have been accepted for membership. If not, any reasons for denial will be thoroughly discussed with you. Once the individual conferences are complete, all new applicants will be called back in as a group and photographed, given some additional information, and issued a “FD Candidate” T-shirt. Wear the shirt with pride, as you are now a member of one of the most respected professions on earth!