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12 situational interview questions firefighters should study

All of these questions would be asked as “What would you do if ... " questions


The interview process involves situational questions, framed in a “What would you do if ...” manner.

Photo/Kris Blume

Becoming a firefighter is a competitive process. At some agencies, dozens, if not hundreds, of prospects apply for a handful of positions.

The process involves a firefighter interview, often involving situational questions, framed in a “What would you do if ...” manner.

Here is a list of 12 situational firefighter interview questions you may encounter on a typical entry-level oral board. Consider your answers so you’re ready for the questions.

12 “what if?” interview questions

  1. For weeks you notice that someone has been eating your cereal and drinking your milk. You have already asked everyone to please not do so and have even started labeling your food. One morning you walk into the kitchen and senior firefighter Bob is helping himself to the last of your milk and cereal. WWYD?
  2. While shopping for groceries on duty, a civilian approaches you and asks why his tax dollars are paying for you to hang out and shop at the grocery store. He is obviously very upset and angry. WWYD?
  3. While on scene at a medical aid, you are asked to go back to the engine to get a piece of equipment. In route to the engine, you notice that its placement is blocking traffic. Traffic is backing up, and an irate citizen is yelling for you to move the engine. You are not the engineer. WWYD?
  4. You suspect a fellow firefighter has a drug problem. WWYD?
  5. You see a fellow firefighter slip an expensive watch into his turnout coat during overhaul. WWYD?
  6. During the final exam of your probationary academy, you see two fellow recruits exchanging answers. WWYD?
  7. Your captain orders you to get him a radio from the engine. On the way, the battalion chief stops you and asks you to deliver an ax to the team on the roof right away. WWYD?
  8. You feel a fellow firefighter is not pulling their weight when it comes to station chores. WWYD?
  9. Your shift captain clearly delegates much more work to you than to the other firefighters on the shift who are consequently all off-duty drinking buddies. WWYD?
  10. You are assigned a task that you strongly feel is unsafe. WWYD?
  11. You and another recruit are assigned duties together, but you continually end up doing all the work. WWYD?
  12. You are having dinner at the firehouse and someone makes a comment that you find personally offensive. WWYD?

If the department is requiring a firefighter or EMT certification, they may ask situational questions that are fire- or EMS-related. Be prepared.

For more interview tips please read “50 most common firefighter interview questions.” And check out’s Jobs Articles section for more on how to get hired by a fire department.

This article, originally published in 2014, has been updated.

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