Chief Paul Lepore and Chief Chuck Fedak offer private fire department promotional coaching for candidates who are preparing to take an upcoming fire department promotional exam, sometimes referred to as an assessment center. Fire Captain or Fire Lieutenant exams are very complex and require a great deal of practice in order for a candidate to become proficient and demonstrate competency during their promotional exam.
We promise to share with you a unique way of identifying and looking at issues that you will likely encounter in a promotional exam, both from the operational and administrative perspective, and offer insight into resolving those issues. We guarantee that you will walk away with a completely different perspective of the promotional process and what is expected of you as a candidate in a Fire Captain or Fire Lieutenant promotional exam.
Not only will we challenge you with fire ground simulations, but also we will delve into all risk simulations that include fires, hazardous material incidents, MCI and WMD incidents as well as a host of other operational issues. We will challenge you with personnel issues, promotional interview questions, and in-basket exercises all designed around the fire service.
It is very common for our students to tell us that they encountered many of the topics we discussed during our coaching sessions on the day of their promotional exam. Additionally, it is also very common for our students to tell us that their coaching sessions with us were much harder than their promotional exam.
Paul’s wife Marian says it best: “These guys get out of coaching what they put into it.” In other words, if you plan on meeting with us but just going through the motions, then the results will not be favorable for you. We assist candidates to prepare for the promotional exam; the work still needs to be completed by the candidate.
Our style is to reinforce the things you are already doing correctly and help you identify where you can make improvements. We will NEVER humiliate you. That’s just not our style. We do not subscribe to the philosophy of “breaking someone down to build them up.” You are a professional firefighter who deserves respect.
While we will reinforce what you are doing well, we will have very frank discussions when we identify areas where you would be leaving points on the table during your promotional exam. We are very informal, yet professional. We will be dressed casually and we insist that our students call us by our first name. There is no rank in the room. When you really break it down, we are working for you.
If you are considering meeting with us, we recommend meeting sooner rather than later. The sooner we meet, the sooner you are able to develop templates and incorporate them into your preparations and practice. Meeting close to the exam date does not allow you as much time to absorb and incorporate “new” information into your delivery during your promotional exam. The longer we have before your promotional exam, the better we can help you prepare and the more time you will have to practice and refine your delivery. We will work as often, or as little, as you would like (within reason). We are both married with families and also have full time jobs.
The fire service is a small community. We believe in the importance of credibility when it comes to the fire service and when selecting a coach. We encourage you to contact any of our previous students. These are real firefighters who work for fire departments just like yours. We encourage you to check with them and learn about their experiences when working with us. Our previous students are our best source of public relations and referrals.
When we meet, you decide where you want to focus our efforts and what amount of time you would like to commit toward preparing for your promotional exam. We have many candidates who fly in from out of state and work for 8 – 16 hours in two consecutive days. We have others who live locally and meet regularly in 3 to 4 hour increments. We do not push to get you on a maintenance schedule, because we are actively working with other candidates. It’s up to you to decide how often you would like to meet and for how long. We will never pressure you to increase the number of hours we work together or the number of times that we meet.
Our goal is to teach you the foundational skills required to solve complex promotional exam problems so you can study effectively by yourself, or with your study group, for your upcoming promotional exam. In other words, we want to give you the tools that you will need to be successful in your promotional exam and once promoted. The key is to make sure that you are practicing emergency scene simulations, managing personnel issues, responding to promotional interview questions, and completing the in-basket exercise CORRECTLY. Practicing to do it correctly equals success in your promotional exam.
Private fire department promotional coaching with Chief Lepore or Chief Fedak can significantly decrease your learning curve by explaining to you how to be successful in the promotional exam. What might take your competition years to learn; you will learn in relatively short order. Chief Lepore or Chief Fedak will teach you to break down each oral interview question or personnel issue and identify what the promotional exam raters are looking for. We will help strengthen what you are doing right and assist you to identify and reduce areas of weakness. Our goal is to teach you to prepare for the position and the promotional exam will simply become a formality.
Types of Fire Department Promotional Coaching:
•All-risk tactical simulations developed using computer software that you are likely to see in your promotional exam. All-risk scenarios include most major types of fire situations you can imagine. In addition, we will cover hazardous materials incidents, multi casualty incidents, high-rise, trench rescue, and marine incidents. After the basic skills are developed, you decide which incident types you want to include or where you would like to concentrate your efforts. You are welcome to provide digital photos of your buildings that we will use for your simulator practice.
•Complex personnel issues that include a description of the employee, their past performance and the issue at hand. We will teach you the 8-step counseling process that you will then be able to use to manage any personnel issue you may face. Even if your promotional exam does not include a personnel issue with role-players, most promotional exams incorporate managing personnel issues as a part of their process. After all, it’s a large percentage of a Fire Officer’s job.
•Oral Interview preparation, using a bank of over 100 questions and answers that we have developed. These questions, or similar versions, have appeared in promotional exams around the country.
•Oral presentations are an often-overlooked portion of promotional exams. Are you prepared? We can discuss a variety of topics with you to help you prepare and offer pointers on how to make your presentation stand out.
•Writing exercises are increasingly becoming commonplace. We assist you by providing topics for you to research and then write about. Once you complete an assignment we review your work and offer suggestions on ways to improve.
•In-basket exercises will determine how well a candidate has learned how to prioritize tasks and put systems in place to avoid repeating issues. This is a vital part of the Fire Captain or Fire Lieutenant’s day and is a very common component of the promotional exam. We can show a system to identify important issues and how to manage them.
Our Background and Qualifications
Chief Lepore is a shift Division Chief for a department in Southern California. In addition to his daily emergency response duties, he is assigned to manage the Special Services Division. His Special Services duties include managing the EMS Division, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the CERT program. He is also responsible for developing promotional and entry-level examinations.
Prior to being appointed as a Division Chief, Chief Lepore spent 23 years with the Long Beach (CA) Fire Department (The 2nd largest city in Los Angeles County) where he attained the rank of Battalion Chief. Chief Lepore spent 5 years as a Battalion Chief working predominantly in the northern part of the city. He was also assigned as the Battalion Chief in charge of the EMS Division for two years. He has been very fortunate to run many major incidents typical of a large metropolitan fire department.
In addition to managing many fires and other emergency incidents, Chief Lepore has also resolved several challenging personnel issues. He will share his operational and administrative experiences with you to assist you to become better prepare to achieve your promotional goals.
Chief Lepore holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration, a Bachelor’s degree in Vocational Education (Teaching), and an Associate’s degree in General Education. He is a California State Certified Fire and Chief Officer. He is also an instructor for the State Fire Marshal Company and Chief Officer Courses.
In 2014, Chief Lepore was recognized as a Certified Chief Officer through the National Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is one of only 200 Chief Officers in the country to receive this highly acclaimed designation.
Chief Lepore’s experience with developing and rating fire department promotional exams ranges from being a member of the committee that developed Long Beach’s Battalion Chief’s promotional exam to being the project lead for developing three Fire Captain exams at his current department. Chief Lepore regularly serves as a subject matter expert for promotional exams across the country.
Chief Lepore has served as a rater for numerous fire Captain, and Battalion Chief promotional exams. Here is a partial list of agencies: Los Angeles City, Denver, Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Torrance, Laguna Beach, Upland, Ontario, Newport Beach, Fullerton, Santa Monica, Culver City, San Luis Obispo, Laguna Beach, and Portland.
Chief Lepore is a California State Certified Strike Team Leader and has supervised six strike teams during deployments. While he has been involved in some significant major campaign incidents, he does not consider himself to be a wildland expert. In order to help ensure your success during your promotional exam he recommends finding another source for wildland information.
Chuck Fedak is currently a Battalion Chief with one of the largest fire departments in California. He began his fire service career in 1995 as a paid-call firefighter and completed paramedic school and graduated from Daniel Freeman as the class Valedictorian in 1997. He worked as a private paramedic in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County until he was hired full-time in 1999. He held the ranks of firefighter/paramedic and engineer/paramedic.
ChiefFedak has earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Health Care from California State University, Long Beach and a vocational teaching credential from California State University, San Diego. He also earned an AA degree in Communication from Golden West College and an AS degree in Fire Science from Santa Ana College. He is also a certified SFM Fire Officer.
He has been selected to participate on following committees and project teams: Emergency Medical Services, apparatus and personnel equipment, SOP revision, and the computer Aided Dispatch process.
Chief Fedak recently completed a tour in the Operations Training & Safety Section of the department where he served as a Training Officer. He developed and was the lead instructor of a fire captain prep class to help department members train, prepare and be successful for promotional exams and the position of Fire Officer. He was the department coordinator position for the department’s Fire Captain training academy and also instructed in a variety of course topics. He has written, developed and has had multiple proposals implemented within the department including the purchase of new equipment, department training classes and a new format to conduct and deliver after department-wide action incident reviews.
Chief Fedak has participated in the development of Captain and Battalion Chief promotional exams within and outside his current fire department. He continues to help train, mentor and educate members of the fire service to be successful not in just the promotional process BUT for the supervisory position they aspire to achieve. He has instructed at the State level on Emergency All-Risk Simulations, Tactics and Strategy, Conflict Resolution, and Employee Personnel Issues.
Chuck is married to his wife Jessica and they have two boys, Tyler and Garrett. Away from the job he enjoys outdoor activities and spending time out on the ocean fishing.
The cost for private coaching sessions is $85 per hour. We highly recommend that coaching occur in-person. If you are unable to meet in-person, we offer phone-coaching services as well, for the same hourly rate. For phone coaching we provide you with a protected password that you use to access a Vimeo account that allows you to see the same digital combustion fires that we do. This technology allows you to run the fire with us coaching you through it. We also email you a series of personnel counseling scenarios or oral interview questions, depending on where you would like to focus our efforts.
We frequently meet with study groups. For groups, the rate is the initial base rate of $85 per hour for the first person plus $25 for each additional person. A group of two would cost $110 per hour or $55 per person per hour. A group of three would cost $135 per hour or roughly $44.00 per person. This is a very good way to prepare as everyone in your group is on the same page and benefits in the same way. Our goal at the end of the session is to prepare your study group so you are all practicing correctly. Group coaching is particularly successful when there is a good ratio of predicted openings to the number of candidates taking the promotional exam.
How to Schedule a Private Fire Department Promotional Coaching Session
The way private coaching works is fairly simple. We put our calendars together and pick a day that works for both of us. We like to work in at least 4-hour increments at Chief Lepore’s home in Dana Point, California or at Chief Fedak’s home in Corona, California. We use a PowerPoint program as well as the Digital Combustion software for practicing tactical scenarios. We have dozens of photos of buildings, hazmat, and MCI scenarios. If you prefer, you can take digital photos and we can practice using your own buildings.
Should I become an AFO member or do private coaching?
This question often comes up. We believe that becoming a member of AFO will give you everything you need in terms of your upcoming promotional exam. The website provides you with high level insight to manage complex emergencies, multidimensional personnel scenarios and administrative components. You are able to work at your own speed and on your own schedule for a very reasonable investment. We are confident that the contents of the site will absolutely allow you to put distance between you and your competition.
Private coaching allows us to meet with you individually and identify any specific areas of weakness you may have. We are then able to focus our coaching sessions to your specific needs. It also produces a different level of interaction that will help you prepare for your exam and for when you get promoted.
We believe many members of AFO will not need to utilize our private coaching services, that’s why we created the site. However, some members may wonder if there is added benefit to obtaining private coaching even after you buy a subscription to the site? We believe that it’s a personal choice for you to make. The only person that can determine your level of preparations and the need for one-on-one coaching to get you to the level you desire is you. We guarantee that the site will give you an incredible foundation for all of the components that we cover on our site.
Our recommendation is to become a member of AFO. Enjoy and soak up all the information available to our members. Spend a great deal of time on the site. Then, once you are comfortable with all of the concepts and ideas we provide for you, decide if you need private coaching.
Your private coaching sessions will be building on the foundation you have created through your membership. We are confident that, building on that foundation, we can take your preparations to a new level and you’ll be able to incorporate the things we discuss during our one-on-one sessions into your own assessment center.