Mentoring: A Formula for Success in the Fire Service

The Cal-JAC and its Women’s Commission have launched a groundbreaking program designed to help firefighters succeed in a tough, demanding career.

The new Cal-JAC Mentoring Program provides departments with a series of tools that can be used to help guide firefighter recruits through the process – especially the early hiring and probationary periods – and set them up for a long career.

Why Mentoring?

Firefighting is a demanding profession … physically, educationally and emotionally. The demands of the modern fire service can be especially daunting for new recruits.

Almost without fail, those who have succeeded had help from a mentor – a role model who provided encouragement and support and “taught them the ropes.” Now more than ever, the key to success is providing support that extends beyond the training ground and the firehouse.

Mentoring Programs – The Basics

A formal mentoring program provides departments with an opportunity to develop and support their new (and potential employees) in an informal way.

In a formal program, a mentor is designated for each new recruit. The mentor is not there to be an instructor or to conduct evaluations. The role of the mentor is to provide guidance, support, and encouragement. Mentoring provides an important network of inclusion and support.

Benefits for the Department
  • Better, more well-rounded, more confident employees
  • Greater potential for promotion and longevity
  • Reduced hiring and training costs
  • Improved motivation and personal fulfillment for incumbents acting as mentors
Benefits for Recruits
  • A personal role model who offers one-on-one support
  • Assistance in understanding each step of the hiring/promotion process
  • A resource for answers to questions or for discussing problems or issues they may be having
  • Overall increased chances for successful and long career
Building Your Mentoring Program – A Toolkit

The Cal-JAC Mentoring Program is a PowerPoint presentation designed to give the mentor a standardized outline of information to share with the mentees through each step of the hiring process.

Embedded within the presentation are handouts and Internet links to assist the mentees understanding of what they can expect and what is expected of them.