Fire officer exam questions are very predictable. There are definite items that will be a part of every promotional exam, regardless of the region of the country. Many fire departments give fire officer promotional examinations on a regularly scheduled basis while others only give them when there is an opening. Larger departments usually follow a routine schedule as they know there will be openings, while smaller departments may go several years between vacancies. Whichever the case, it’s important to capitalize on the openings and the examinations when they occur.
Promotional exams are very predictable. While they may vary in terms of events the candidates will be tested on, fire officer promotional exam questions are constant in certain areas. Most agencies include an oral interview as a part of their process. One of the predictable questions one could expect is, “What have you done to prepare for the position of Fire Officer?” Another way to phrase the same question is, “How has your education, experience, and training prepared you for the position of Fire Officer?’ You can expect some type of question that seeks to gain insight on how you will support the policies, even if you do not agree with them. An example of this would be, “Your Battalion Chief hands you a policy that he wants you to implement with your crew. As you read it you do not agree with it. You know that you are going to receive pushback when you present it to your crew. How would you handle this situation?”
In the emergency scene simulation, you can expect the fire officer promotional exam questions to center around how you would establish two out, would you establish a water supply or have the second due engine lay to you? Other questions you could expect are whether you would go offensive or defensive or would you enter a hazardous materials laden environment to make a civilian rescue? You can also expect questions on how you would handle a firefighter down or missing, what you would do when you encounter a victim, or a fatality.
During the employee counseling portion of the exam, the fire officer promotional exam questions will center around how you would manage a firefighter who has violated a policy. Are you familiar with the department’s progressive disciplinary system and do you know how to implement it including the appropriate documentation? You can expect to be challenged on the firefighter’s right to union or association representation. This may be in the form of a live role-playing exercise or in the form of an oral interview. You can rest assured that there will be questions that center around managing employees.
If your exam consists of an In-Basket exercise (a series of administrative and operational events that are presented to a candidate that must be managed within a certain timeframe), the fire officer promotional exam questions will focus on how you prioritize events and how you will manage your time. The questions presented may include operational items such as a firefighter who has shown up late for work, has an injury, or may be under the influence. You may be faced with a nail in the tire, or an air leak on the apparatus. Administrative challenges may include a school tour that conflicts with a scheduled station inspection.
If your exam includes a writing exercise, the fire promotional exam questions may require an essay on leadership, or how you will implement change in the fire service. It may involve writing a memo that is related to the employee counseling event that you managed in an earlier event. Other common topics may include writing about the department’s progressive disciplinary system, how you will implement the department’s mission statement and values, or to outline the topics you would discuss in your first crew expectations meeting.
Promotional exams can be intimidating if you do not have a solid foundation. By taking the time to identify the predictable fire promotional exam questions, you can take much of the guesswork and uncertainty out of the examination process. Good luck and for more information go to Aspiringfireofficers.com