The fire service prides itself on training and being prepared and your fire officer test prep should follow the same philosophy. The same passion and dedication you show for training and knowing your job should follow you into your preparation for the exam.
Fire promotional examinations are very predictable. You will be challenged in your ability to handle every type of emergency response, your philosophy on leading and managing a crew, your administrative skills, your ability to prioritize administrative skills, and your ability to interact with the public we serve.
Your fire officer test prep should include identifying each of the common scenarios for you can expect to encounter for emergency responses. This includes managing structure fires (house apartment, strip mall, commercial and any building type particular to your area). You should prepare to be first in on the engine, second in on the engine with the first engine passing command to you because they declared an imminent rescue, and you should prepare to be first in on the truck (if this applies to your agency). If your agency does have a truck and it has a pump, will you function in engine or truck mode?
Your preparation should also include hazardous materials, Swiftwater, confined space, trench rescue, active shooter, multicausalty incidents, and building collapse. While these are certainly potential scenarios that you may encounter in your exam, a prudent choice would be to master all aspects of the fire scenarios first.
Your fire officer test prep should include being prepared to discuss what you have done to prepare for the position (your education, experience, and training), how you plan to support the goals and values of the department, and how you would manage a firefighter who is not following policies or is disgruntled. Other questions may focus on how you view the current situation of the department and how you could (or already have) work to improve it.
You can expect to have your administrative skills challenged during your exam. To prepare for this eventuality, your fire officer test prep should focus on the administrative aspects of the position. This includes practicing your writing including memos, essays, or staff study (Administrative) reports. The higher the position you are seeking, the more advanced the writing assignment will be. You may also be challenged by an in-basket assignment. This is best described as a series of events that will challenge the candidate’s ability to identify and prioritize problems while working under a time constraint.
Since customer service is a very important of the fire service, your fire officer test prep should include reflecting on how you have provided exceptional service in the past and how you will do so in your new role. Be prepared to give specific examples.
You want to be prepared to discuss your decision-making process. What is the barometer you use to make a decision about something that doesn’t fall into a specific policy commonly referred to as a “gray area”? Are you going to take a hard line, or do you seek to find creative solutions that are in the best interest of the department, the member, and the community? Would you be proud if your decision ended up on the front page of the local newspaper?
Fire promotional examinations are very predictable. Like most things in the fire service, you can train for them and be prepare for what you are likely to encounter. It has been our experience that the prepared candidates usually fare the best in the exam and are promoted. This preparation extends to their performance once they are promoted. Good luck! Fore more information visit Aspiringfireofficers.com.