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The assessment process for firefighters can be quite comprehensive, involving multiple stages to evaluate a candidate’s physical fitness, cognitive abilities, personality traits, and practical skills.

Our online preparation pack includes practice materials for the common tests you will probably face in the Firefighters exams.
The pack includes:

  • Math: Basic Math, Numerical Reasoning and Numerical Series.
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning (Inductive & Deductive)
  • Mechanical Reasoning
  • Situational Judgement Tests
  • Personality Tests
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Memory Tests

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Firefighter tests are designed to evaluate a candidate’s skills and abilities, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and physical fitness. By practicing for the test, you can identify areas where you need to improve and work on developing those skills.

What is the Hiring Process like for Firefighters?

Deciding to apply to become a firefighter begins with choosing a fire department: interested applicants are encouraged to do their research regarding local and nearby departments to determine the right fit. This includes factors such as commute and compensation. Once an applicant has chosen a fire department to apply to, the hiring process is as follows:

  • Application: Interested applicants must submit an application to their chosen fire department for review.
  • Physical Ability Test: Applicants must pass a physical test before continuing the hiring process. This includes endurance testing (running on a treadmill), as well as firefighter-related physical abilities such as a dummy drag and stair climb.
  • Invitation: Successful candidates will be contacted with the next steps, including a written test and interview.
  • Pre-Employment Assessment: Candidates are required to pass several rounds of testing, including mathematical reasoning, reading comprehension, and personality.
  • Background Check: Applicants must pass a background check to be considered for a position in the fire department.
  • Invitation to Interview: Successful candidates will be contacted regarding their test scores for an interview.
  • Interview: Interviews are conducted via a panel of officers, followed by an interview conducted by the fire department Chief or Mayor of the relevant city.

Which Pre-Employment Assessments Are Firefighters Required to Take?

There are several tests a prospective firefighter may be required to take during the hiring process. Applicants are informed in advance of the testing dates, giving them plenty of time to prepare ahead of time; the test is usually conducted in an exam hall with other candidates. Applicants will not be informed of the specific type of pre-employment assessments they will be required to take, however, typically the firefighter hiring process requires a basic aptitude test, along with personality and situational judgement.

Aptitude Test

Aptitude tests are designed to assess an applicant’s general knowledge, problem-solving and decision-making skills in the workplace. This includes several assessment areas, including numerical and mechanical reasoning, as well as language and reading comprehension.

  • Numerical Reasoning: Numerical reasoning tests an applicant’s understanding of basic mathematical operations and ability to apply them to real-world scenarios. This also assesses critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Applicants are expected to have knowledge of conversion, basic equations (addition, subtraction, etc), basic calculations (percentages, ratios, fractions, etc.), the ability to solve word problems, identifying patterns in numerical series, and data interpretation. Questions are typically multiple-choice, and the test is timed.
  • Mechanical Reasoning: Prospective firefighters are required to have a certain degree of understanding related to mechanical aptitude. This includes knowledge of the basic principles of physics (force, motion, thermodynamics) that are applicable on the job. Mechanical reasoning assessments are designed to test an applicant based on questions related to force and movement, gears/wheels/pulleys, thermodynamics, and basic chemistry. Basic chemistry and thermodynamics in particular are integral to the mechanical reasoning section of a firefighter assessment, as prospective firefighters are expected to know the combustibility of certain chemicals and materials under specific circumstances. For example: “How does moisture absorption in wood affect its combustibility?”
  • Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension tests an applicant’s vocabulary and skills in language and reasoning ability with regard to word problems. Questions may pertain to grammar and sentence structure or incomplete prompts to test verbal and written communication, attention to detail, problem-solving, and drawing relevant conclusions via multiple-choice or written answers.
  • Spatial Orientation: A spatial reasoning test assesses candidates on how well they are able to interact with, manipulate, interpret, and visualize 2- and 3-D objects. This tests problem-solving skills, and decision-making, and includes questions related to mirror imaging, shape rotation, and matching. For firefighters, this may include questions related to emergency scenarios and reaction-based answers.
  • Memory and Observation: Prospective firefighter candidates must demonstrate the ability to observe and later recall specific details during real-life scenarios. This may include data interpretation and image examination.

Personality Test

Pre-employment personality tests are designed to assess candidates based on their compatibility with the job, particularly for positions requiring a specific skill set, like firefighting. It is important that a candidate possess the personality fit for the job, as it is one of the high expectations and demands in high pressure scenarios. Applicants may be assessed in such areas as leadership and teamwork, motives and values, judgement, and strengths and weaknesses.

Situational Judgement

Situational judgment tests use hypothetical real-life scenarios to evaluate an applicant’s ability to react to and engage with the situation and assess their problem-solving skills. Questions may include choosing the most appropriate answer out of a set, or require a candidate to rank already prepared responses from most acceptable to least acceptable. The real-life scenarios presented in a situational judgement test are designed to assess critical thinking and interpersonal skills.

Interview

The Firefighter interview stage in the firefighter hiring process is equally as important as the pre-employment assessment. This is the chance for the prospective employers to get to know the candidate in-person, which is important specifically for firefighters whose jobs require sociability. The interview process is in many ways an extension of the formal pre-employment assessment, as candidates may be asked similar questions related to personality and situational judgement or behavioral reasoning.

The first interview round is conducted with a panel of three to four superior officers in the fire department, and following that, successful candidates will be interviewed by the fire department Chief or the Mayor of the city. In this second stage, prospective firefighters will have already passed the aptitude and reasoning portions of the pre-employment assessment; therefore, the final interview is geared almost exclusively towards personality, and lets the interviewer know whether the candidate is a good fit for the position.

How to Prepare for a Firefighter Test

While prospective firefighter candidates are not informed ahead of time of the specific assessments they are required to take, it is possible for applicants to determine which tests may be used by state, as certain states utilize pre-approved testing companies to conduct the assessments. As with any pre-employment assessment, it is important for candidates to prepare for success beforehand.

This means taking practice tests and utilizing study guides to ensure the best results and increase the likelihood of a candidate getting the position. With the tools provided by Prepare4Success, candidates can feel confident in their ability to ace their firefighter assessments.

Firefighter test questions and answers

Firefighter assessments can include a range of questions from written exams that test a variety of skills. Here are some sample questions across different domains commonly tested:

Reading Comprehension:

Passage: “When responding to a fire, it’s critical to wear the full set of personal protective equipment (PPE) including a helmet, coat, pants, boots, gloves, and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). This equipment not only protects against burns but also against inhalation of toxic fumes.”

Question: According to the passage, why is it important to wear an SCBA?
a) To see through smoke
b) To communicate with other firefighters
c) To protect against burns
d) To avoid inhaling toxic fumes

Answer: d) To avoid inhaling toxic fumes

Math and Mechanical Aptitude:

Question: If a fire truck holds 500 gallons of water and has used 130 gallons at a fire scene, how many gallons are left?

Answer: 370 gallons

Spatial Awareness:

Question: Imagine a ladder lying flat on the ground. If it’s turned 90 degrees to the right and then another 90 degrees to the right, in which direction will the top of the ladder be pointing compared to its original position?

Answer: Directly downward

General Firefighting Knowledge:

Question: Which class of fire involves flammable liquids such as gasoline?
a) Class A
b) Class B
c) Class C
d) Class D

Answer: b) Class B

Judgment and Decision Making:

Scenario: You arrive at a fire scene and notice a fellow firefighter not wearing their helmet. What should you do?
a) Ignore it; they probably have a reason.
b) Report them after the fire is controlled.
c) Immediately inform them and ensure they put on their helmet.
d) Take off your helmet as well.

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