Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski

Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski

Steve Prziborowski has over 19 years of fire service experience, currently serving as a Deputy Chief for the Santa Clara County (Los Gatos, CA) Fire Department, where he has worked since 1995. Steve is also an instructor for the Chabot College (Hayward, CA) Fire Technology Program, where he has been instructing fire technology and EMS classes since 1993. Four and a half years at Chabot were also spent as the Fire Technology Coordinator, and seven years as the EMT Program Director and Primary Instructor.
Chief Prziborowski was named the 2008 Ed Bent, California Fire Instructor of the year, and is a Former President of the Northern California Training Officers Association. Steve is a state-certified Chief Officer and Master Instructor, has earned a master’s degree in emergency services administration, has completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy, and has received Chief Fire Officer Designation through the Commission on Professional Credentialing.

Chief Prziborowski is a contributing editor to, has mentored and coached countless entry level and promotional level candidates, is a regular speaker and presenter at fire service events and conferences across the country, and has authored numerous articles in the leading fire service publications. Steve also publishes a free newsletter (The Chabot College Fire & EMS News), geared toward better preparing the future firefighter for a career in the fire service or the current firefighter for promotion; more importantly – the newsletter will keep anyone up to date with what is occurring in the fire service. For more information or to contact him, feel free to visit his websites – &

My Articles

What Are ‘They’ Looking For During an Oral Interview

Have you ever wondered what “they” were looking for in an oral interview candidate when you were testing for a fire department? This could be any entry-level, lateral level or even promotional level candidate.

Before we go any further, we need to answer the question: “who are they?” Well, depending on the jurisdiction, “they” are all or any one of the following: the fire chief, the fire department, the fire department personnel, the city (or other governing board), the elected/appointed … Read the rest

Today’s Firefighter Preparation Seminar in Livermore – were you there?

This morning at the annual Firefighter Preparation seminar in Livermore at Las Positas College (coordinated by Fire Alumni), I had the incredible opportunity to present “25 Reasons to Hire you as a Firefighter.” I had a blast, saw a lot of old friends and acquaintances (Bob Atlas, Brian Helmick, Ron Johansen, Craig Freeman, Paul Lepore, John Walsh, Arnie Brockmire, Tonya Hoover, just to name a few), I got meet some new friends, and I got to meet lots of future … Read the rest

Firefighter Code of Ethics – All Future / Current Firefighters Can Learn From This

In today’s daily Firehouse Magazine email (a great, free resource to keep you informed of fire service news stories), there was a great article that ALL current and future firefighters can learn from that is based on the actions of a small number of firefighters that are causing a black eye for the majority of firefighters who are trying to do the right thing.

It is a piece on the “Firefighter Code of Ethics,” and here are the opening comments:… Read the rest

6 ways to stall your firefighter job search

In today’s Sunday paper, I noticed a timely article titled “6 ways to stall your job search,” by Larry Buhl, and I wanted to share it since I think it really provides a lot of guidance for future firefighters. Now before we go any further, I’ve heard more and more people say they don’t read the daily newspaper because they don’t have time or they don’t think it’s relevant. I believe it’s critical for fire service professionals to be in-tune … Read the rest

I didn’t get hired? But I thought I had the best resume!

This is a problem many candidates “don’t get” today, and was something I didn’t get when I was testing to become a firefighter. When I was testing to become a firefighter in the early 1990’s – (come on, that wasn’t too long ago – and things really haven’t changed that much, at least in my area) – I tried too hard to have the “best resume.”

It didn’t dawn on me until I was actually hired, that “best resume” is … Read the rest

Oral Board Questions

As someone taking either an entry level or promotional level oral interview, there should be no “trick” or “surprise” questions if you have done your research/homework.

Meaning, there are many websites and books that have sample oral board questions that pretty much cover the majority of the types of questions you’ll be asked

Future Firefighter Tip: Maintain a File System

When you first apply for a specific fire department, or more importantly, start doing research for a particular fire department (well before they are even accepting applications), it is a good idea to keep a file or binder for that specific department. It’s a good idea to do this because the average firefighter candidate has to take multiple firefighter examinations prior to getting hired, and it can get very challenging trying to keep track of all of the applications you … Read the rest

Financial Smarts For The Future Firefighter

While reading this morning’s Sunday paper, I came across an article in the Business section written by Susie Orman, recognized expert in personal finances, that I believe many current and future firefighters can learn from, especially in today’s economy.

She talked about a few key concepts:

1. You’re not entitled to an allowance.
2. A household requires cash to function.
3. You don’t need to spend every dollar you’ve saved.
4. You may not be able to afford the college … Read the rest

Why do you want to become a firefighter?

That is a question that is commonly asked during an oral interview, and even during fire station visits or discussions with others when they find out your career aspirations.

Unfortunately many candidates fail to hit the grand slam when they answer this question.

Common answers include:

1. I want to help people.
2. I want to make a difference in people’s lives.
3. Because of the job security (not so much in today’s economy).
4. Because of the wages, benefits, … Read the rest

Interview Tip: Name-Dropping

Happy New Year!

Many firefighter candidates think it is appropriate to “drop names” when they are participating in an oral interview or some other phase of the hiring process such as visiting fire stations. You may think this is a great idea and that by you knowing that special person you are mentioning, that you will have an “in” with the fire department. Well, that may be true, but it may be more false than true. While you may be … Read the rest

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to take the time to wish you, your family and friends Happy Holidays!

Hopefully this holiday season is not too stressful and is something you can enjoy as we near 2011 (weren’t we just getting ready for Y2K? – which was about 11 or so years ago?)!

Take care, don’t just stay safe – make it safe!… Read the rest

Did you get what you wanted out of 2010?

As the year 2010 comes to the end, can you honestly look yourself in the mirror and say you accomplished what you wanted to accomplish this year? Hopefully so; it isn’t too late, there are still about 3 weeks left. Now I know many folks who wait for things to happen. Are you one of those? Or are you one of those folks that actually makes things happen? There is a major difference; you are in control of your destiny … Read the rest

Being the best firefighter you can be!

First, I want to thank Craig Freeman and the Perfect Firefighter Candidate/ team for allowing me to share of my experiences and thoughts with you, I’m really excited to be a part of this great resource for both future and current firefighters. I also want to thank you for taking the time to read and even comment on the items I plan to share with you now and in the future!

I want to start off with my first blog … Read the rest