A man kicking down doors

The Problem with Pre-Existing Problems

Do you have a pre-existing medical problem? Is there a glitch in your personal life that will stop you from moving forward? Maybe there are charges, and you have a record. If there is a chance that any of these will show up on your background, do yourself a favor. Find out early if any of these will interfere with a career in firefighting. All too often, we get calls from candidates who have hit this kind of wall. Candidates have put in the time and energy. Now they are at a dead stop! Pre-existing problems like medical or a criminal record can be a problem.

Here are some situations that are of concern:

  1. Not just one DUI, but two
  2. Knee surgery with scars
  3. Back surgery that would show in an X-ray

Here is our proactive approach. If you are concerned about a medical problem, have the leading expert in this field of medicine evaluate your condition. DO NOT USE YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR!  If the expert feels you’re fit for duty, ask the doctor to write a letter saying so.

Do not wait until the last minute to take care of these potential hiccups. You don’t want to be like a candidate who had a pre-existing medical problem. The Department called him a few days before his medical was scheduled. Sadly, he did not have enough time to get his ducks in a row. He had kept his head in the sand in denial when he knew the medical call was the next step. He made a big mistake.

If you have a DUI, an arrest, or another black mark on your record, see if it can be expunged or even sealed. Know that even when a record is expunged, it is not sealed.  The only way you could have a record sealed is if the conviction happened when you were under the age of 18. Having your record expunged – in some instances – may allow you to skip disclosing the event.  But buyer beware: Even if your conviction is expunged, you will need to disclose the conviction unless the application/form/packet specifically states otherwise.

For other potential problems in your background, prepare a brief and reasonable explanation of what happened. Again, do not wait until the last minute.  Doing the leg work ahead of time can allow you to move forward in the process. The time to find out is now; before you’re going for all the marbles.

Absolutely nothing counts ’til you have the badge. Nothing!

Captain Rob