It's exceedingly difficult to become a professional firefighter. But in Los Angeles County, it seems one insurmountable hurdle may be standing between hundreds of would-be applicants before they're even allowed to attempt rigorous entrance exams: nepotism.

Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times conducted an investigation into the selection and attrition statistics of the LA county fire department, and found "sons [of current and former LA County fire department employees] represent nearly 7% of the county's 2,750 firefighters."

Christopher Hoffman, a math professor at the University of Washington reviewed the Times analysis and seemed to agree with the investigation's conclusion, saying; "The evidence clearly suggests there is a problem with nepotism."

The investigation cites a few anonymous firefighters who were easily able to "obtain test questions," and others who are quick to dismiss accusations of being "helped" by people they knew on the force.

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Can't say I'd be terribly surprised to find out sons of employees at any organization would have an easier time getting jobs. That said, firefighting is the kind of profession that becomes a lifestyle for the firefighter and their family. I think it makes sense that folks would strive hard to follow in parent's footsteps, but take a look at the Times' analysis and tell us what you think.

Family Members Beat The Odds In Winning Prized Firefighting JobsPaul Pringle, LA Times

Image via Rennett Stowe/Flickr