Hundreds Try on Fire Service as a Career at CFFJAC Recruitment Fair

Would-be California firefighters converged on the CPAT firefighter testing center in Orange Saturday for a California Firefighter Recruitment Fair, presented by the California Fire Fighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (CFFJAC). Sponsored by the CFFJAC’s Commission to Recruit Women for the Fire Service, the one-day job fair gave candidates an “up close and personal” look at what it takes to be a first responder … a rewarding, but demanding profession.

Though open to all, the fair’s programs and services targeted women looking to join the fire service. Nationally, it’s estimated that fewer than 3% of front line firefighters are women – in California, women account for about 5% of the total … most of those concentrated in a few large departments. Much of the decline in the number of female firefighters can be traced to a lack of recruitment efforts following the abandonment of affirmative action programs in 1996.

“We want to teach women that they can do this,” said Davis Fire Captain Judy Cutaia, a member of the Commission to Recruit Women for the Fire Service. “If they have the drive, determination and believe in themselves, nothing should stand in their way.”

For candidates, the highlight was the presence of management and human resource personnel from more than 20 fire departments throughout the area to recruit qualified applicants. Recruiters from as far away as Berkeley and Palo Alto were on hand to help candidates get started. Prospects also had the opportunity to try their hand at the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), the test that proves you’re “fit for duty.”

In addition to direct recruitment and hands-on demonstrations, the fair featured several working firefighters … most of them women … who spoke to the challenges and rewards of the job.

Dan Terry, CFFJAC Chair and co-founder, said that the Women’s Commission is dedicated to breaking down any barriers – whether internal or institutional – that prevent women from succeeding as first responders.

“We are looking to build the next generation of firefighters … women and men who have the right stuff to protect our state,” Terry said. “If you have the skill, intelligence and commitment to service, there’s a place for you in the California fire service.”

The CFFJAC will hold a second California Firefighter Recruitment Fair in Northern California, at the CPAT Testing Center in Dublin, California on April 19th.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE CFFJAC, THE WOMEN’S COMMISSION AND THE CANDIDATE PHYSICAL ABILITY TEST, PLEASE VISIT THE CALIFORNIA FIRE FIGHTER JOINT APPRENTICESHIP COMMITTEE WEB SITE – WWW.CFFJAC.ORG