Well, word has finally arrived concerning DTs’ efforts in the 911-job-hunting arena, Part Deux. Specifically, with the City of Alexandria.

All is Despair.

While the process is public knowledge, the Powers of Alexandria do not go out of their way to explain things to the prospective candidates; DTs is therefore breaching no confidentialities here.

To review the process with a baseball analogy:

At Bat: Everyone who registers is notified of and is invited to take the written test; one needs only show a photo ID at the gate. The test is known as the HOBET, or Health Occupations Basic Entrance Test. It takes three hours or so, and the questions are broken into categorical sections. Each test section is timed. The sections are Essential Math Skills (whole numbers, decimal operations, fraction operations, percentage operations, number system conversions, and algebraic equations); Reading Comprehension, Reading Rate, Critical Thinking, and Test taking Skills. Other categories include a Stress Level Profile, a Social Interaction Profile, and a Learning Style evaluation section.

First Base: The test results return. DTs scores a 98th percentile again, which is slightly disappointing as I studied up on the fractional math stuff, having done little with it since High School. Still, a pass is a pass.

Second Base: The actual numbers are murky, but of 139 (or so) taking the test, 60 (or so) actually passed. These are invited to participate in a practice physical (detailed in this blog elsewhere.) DTs passes the practice with ease, but vows to continue his beefcake regimen anyway.

The actual EPAT is administered in two steps: Step 1 in under 2:45 and the totality of the test (Steps 1 and 2) in under 5 minutes. His Beefiness accomplishes Step 1 in 2:24, a full 21 seconds ahead of schedule, but cautioned by Aesop’s tale of the Tortoise and the Hare DTs does not lounge – no! He completes the physical test with a 3:18 total time.

Third Base: The culls are dejected, but Our Hero is not among them. Thirty or so candidates remain. A Panel Interview is scheduled. The panel consists of three EMS supervisors who ask a total of six questions. Questions include, “How would others describe you as a person of integrity?”, “How would you deal with cultural differences in our patient population?”, and others whose wording I don’t recall, precisely.

To this point, one may note, nothing at all has been done of a real-life EMS nature. The HOBET does not ask any EMT questions; the physical is a composite of EMS skills, but in reality one would never have to perform them all in that certain time period. The questions are of the same nature, with the exception of this question, which has appeared before DTs twice: “You are toned out to a home where a patient has a knife and is threatening to harm himself – what do you do?” DTs is a firm believer that Folk with Knives can kill you, and that anyone who wants to do themselves in may very well Do You In to accomplish this. Exit, stage right, and call for PD is, I believe, the correct answer, and the one I gave.

Rounding for Home: DTs receives a letter in his recently-restored In box (an untimely computer crash has been repaired):

“Thank you applying for an ERT position with the Alexandria Fire Department. Unfortunately, the panel did not recommend you for interview with the Deputy Chief.”

Tagged out! Tanj dammit!

It is enough to call one’s self-esteem into question, but DTs is essentially a cheery fellow. I recall the wise words of Wallace Shawn, who played Vizzini in The Princess Bride:

Vizzini: “Ever hear of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Alexandria EMS?”

Westley: “Yes.”

Vizzini: “Morons!”

Harsh, perhaps too harsh. A kinder interpretation is a completely fictional behind-the-scenes conversation:

EMS Supervisor 1: “He’s perfect!”

EMS Supervisor 3: “His intellect is dazzling. He’s astute, manly, and handsome. A Catch!”

EMS Supervisor 2: “Yes. But perhaps he’s… too perfect.”

EMS Supervisor 3: “You mean…?”

EMS Supervisor 2: “He would have all of our jobs, and do them more splendidly than ever we three did, together, were he hired. This Must Not Happen!”

EMS Supervisor 1: “Our course then is clear…. [Stamp!] There!”

Ah well. Alexandria was given the First Crack at DTs because they, unlike many systems in the area, do not require their medics to be firemen as well – DTs has no interest in the fire fighting side of things (actually, DTs just hates rolling hose), but there are Other Systems into which some thought must now be given…


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