Firefighters Oral Board Interview – Sample Questions & Answers

In the past half century, the role of firefighters has changed a great deal. There was a time when the business of fighting fires was not as involved as it is today. The job mainly consisted of cleaning fire engines, taking care of the station, answering phones, and then rushing to an emergency when duty called. While there was no firefighter oral board interview or physical agility test to worry about, the job was a great deal more dangerous back then and protective safety gear was virtually nonexistent.

You may be undergoing firefighter training right now and wishing that you could go back to the days when getting into the industry that you love was so much easier. Nevertheless, you are much better off living in the present day-at least as far as the firefighter business is concerned.

Competition is Tougher than Ever Before

These days, becoming a fireman is about more than the necessary training. There are three main parts to the preparation and application process. Not including initial education and training, these are:

  • The written test
  • The physical agility test
  • The oral board exam

The panel interview is the deal breaker for many  potential firefighter candidates. If you do bad there, don’t expect to get hired. That’s why I encourage every applicant that is exploring the possibility of becoming a firefighter to download Master The Firefighter Interview Book. In it, you will learn commonly asked questions and how best to answer them.

The Purpose of the Oral Board Exam

The oral exam assesses your ability to handle the pressures of the job and can set any unsure minds at ease with the various questions that are asked. Plenty of people can pass a written test; even more can likely pass a physical agility test, but the oral board is a step in the application process that can set you apart from other applicants.

What to Expect from the Oral Board Interview

Contrary to popular belief and what your training buddies are telling you in attempts to try and scare you, the firefighter oral interview is not about trying to catch you up or trip you up. It is about examining your potential to be a strong, worthy firefighter. This is a job where people are charged with the responsibility of saving homes and lives and it is not right for everyone, no matter how appropriate for the job a person may think he or she is.

The firefighter board may ask any of a variety of basic interview questions, including but not limited to questions such as:

  • How has previous work experience or volunteer work prepared you for a job as a firefighter?
  • What part of your firefighter training do you think has best prepared you for this job?
  • Why do you want to be a firefighter?
  • What are your most positive strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?

As it is with every job interview, the oral board interviewers will probably throw a few curve balls into the firefighter interview and ask you some questions that you did not expect. These may be follow-up questions to answers that you have given, so it is best to be as prepared for them as possible.

Making Use of Personal Experiences

One way to really impress those giving your oral interview is to utilize personal experiences in answering your questions. Give examples, if you can. If you have experience in the firefighting business, even if it was just in the office filing papers, make use of it! Do so without being cocky or overconfident, but show them you have learned from past experiences, even if they were negative. Personal growth scores points with interviewers in every job field, not just for the oral board exam.

As you are looking to be a part of the firefighting program in your community, I highly recommend this new e-book, Master The Firefighter Interview, loaded with tons of sample questions and answers. It is more important than ever to be as prepared as possible for the various facets of the application process as possible, including the oral board interview. You can pass the physical agility test and written exam with flying colors, but without a good score on your oral interview, you can easily be passed over for the next person.

If you want the chance to put out the fires of the world, act like it. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Gather all of the information you can on how to become a firefighter and get all of the help you can get. Practice your interview with those who support your endeavors and show up to your firefighter interview calm, cool and collected.

How To Become a Fireman – Firefighter Requirements

Firefighters perform many job duties, including fighting building and forest fires, providing emergency medical assistance, and aiding victims. The job is quite dangerous and requires a spirit of public service and sacrifice. Aspiring firefighters must usually pass written and physical exams as well as hold an emergency medical technician certification.

Job Description

Professional firefighting is a physically demanding and very dangerous career. A high risk of death is common due to incidents such as walls falling or floors collapsing after being damaged by fire. Firefighters wear heavy protective gear in order to shield themselves from heat and flames. They commonly work 50+ hours per week in varied schedules far from the norm of 9-5 workers. Professional firefighters may also find themselves coming into contact with dangerous materials such as poisons, chemicals, potential explosive gases, and radioactive substances.

Job Duties

Firefighters provide a wide range of emergency services. In addition to putting out fires in buildings and forests, they are also often the quickest responders to such emergencies as sudden serious illnesses, accidents, or car crashes. There they act as emergency medical personnel to help stabilize situations.

The act of fighting fires takes much complex strategy and physical endurance. Fire often traps victims inside burning buildings and necessitates that firefighters assist with their removal. Firefighters must consider how much of a building can be saved or salvaged in the event of a fire. They must obtain a building layout to determine where structural damage will compromise the integrity of the building and endanger entering personnel. Firefighters must be familiar with tools including hoses, hydrants, axes, chainsaws, and other instruments to clear forest areas or bust into buildings.

Professional Requirements

Firefighters must pass both written and physical examinations in order to be considered for employment. Written exams test individuals on their knowledge of basic building codes/layouts, medical procedures, and strategies for fighting forest fires. Physical exams test the strength and agility of potential firefighters. Alertness, coordination, and self-discipline are all necessary for safe and effective firefighting. A continuing commitment to physical fitness is also vital.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 90% of all firefighters are employed by local governments ( These employers usually require their firefighters to be certified as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Most only require the basic level of certification but some larger departments which serve highly crowded metropolitan areas require advanced paramedic training. While high school diplomas were previously the norm for firefighters, some college education and even full college degrees in fire science are increasingly common.

Salary of a Firefighter

According to the BLS,, the occupation of firefighter is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. The average firefighter earned $18.43 per hour in 2004.

Firefighter Requirements in Texas


Becoming a firefighter in Texas requires more training than one would think. The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) requires one to first take the “The Basic Fire Suppression Curriculum” course.  This is a 468 hour exam that covers basic fire protection training. This training is equivalent to the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Fighter 1, Fire Fighter 2, Haz-Mat Awareness and Haz-Mat Operations training.


The 1st step for the new person is finding a certified training facility. This could be at the fire department itself, or a college, and even some private corporations offer this course.

The would be fire fighter must complete and pass all the skills required for The Basic Fire Suppression Curriculum. Two attempts may be allowed to successfully complete each skill.

The Fire Fighter 1 exam contains 5 sections. These lists are not compressive, just a sampling of what to expect.


  • General safety
  • Fire Behavior
  • Ropes and Knots

Fire Department Communications

  • Initiating response to an emergency call
  • Responding to a call
  • Using the fire department radio to send and receive

Fireground Operations

  • Working the emergency
  • Force entry into structure
  • Exiting as a team
  • Rescue Operation – Not required for Fire Fighter 1
  • Prevention, Preparedness and Maintenance
  • Care and maintenance of equipment such as
  • hoses, ladders, ropes
  • hand  tools

Fire Fighter 2 is much more comprehensive. You can view the entire Skills Manual at


If the examination is not completed successfully the first time, it can be retaken. However, if a third try is necessary for the skill that was not mastered, than additional training will be required. If this training is not mastered then the whole course must be taken again.

Once the exam is passed the 2nd step is to pass the State exam. This will be the written portion of the Basic Fire Suppression course. To pass the exam you will need to score 70 or higher. If you are taking the exam at a certified facility you would be able to take the State exam there at the end of your training.

The 3rd step involves taking an emergency responder course.  This course is offered through The Texas Department of State Health, and known as the “emergency care attendant” or, ECA. The American Red Cross has an Emergency Responder Course which is acceptable, also.


Coming down the home stretch now! After completing the first 3 steps, you can apply for certification. You will have to submit the TCFP-002, Application for Certification. There is an $85.00 fee for this application. If your application is not accepted you will be told what the problem for the rejection was, but you will not get your refund of $85.00.

When your application has been approved by the commission, you will then be subjected to a criminal background check. If you pass the background check, and have met all the other criteria as stated above, you will then be issued your certificate.


Here’s a complete list of paid fire departments in the state of Texas. Visit the official website of the agency you are interested in to complete an application of employment.

  • 2604 Volunteer Fire Department
  • 287 R/C Fire Rescue
  • 3-N-1 Volunteer Fire Department
  • 79 East Volunteer Fire Department
  • 812 Volunteer Fire Department / EMS
  • 84 East Volunteer Fire Department
  • Abernathy Volunteer Fire Department
  • Abilene Fire Department
  • Ables Springs Volunteer Fire Department
  • Addison Fire Department
  • Adell – Whitt Volunteer Fire Department

Firefighter Requirements in Alabama – Steps to Become a Fireman

Firefighter Requirements in Alabama

 So you want to be a Firefighter.  It’s not for everyone, but if a burning building, rescuing people (or an occasional cat or two), or extracting people from crashed cars appeal to you, then this is the career you have been waiting for!

Firefighter Training Requirements: EMT Training/Physical Agility Test (CPAT)

 Alabama Fire College (oh no, college, you’re saying to yourself!) or AFC, is the place to go for your training. It was created by the state of Alabama to train Volunteer, Paid and even the Industrial Firefighter. One good thing  about  college you will receive college credits and you can go on to get your associate’s degree.

 Candidates for college (there’s that C word again!) must be medically cleared by a physician first. You will also need proof you have taken and passed a First Responder Training, or an Emergency Medical Training (EMT) class.  Get those barbells out before you start this one……….You will have to pass the Candidate Physical Agility Test (CPAT) before enrolling in the college.

 Now to the nitty gritty of what to expect….

 Some examples of Firefighter 1’s basics are….

  1. How to handle the initial emergency call
  2. Using the FD radio to send and receive
  3. Forced entry
  4. Using SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) in an emergency operation

Team work is one of the most important foundations you will learn and come to appreciate…. The whole operation of a firefighting crew is working with your fellow firefighters, watching their backs as they watch yours. There is no room for big egos here…some examples..

  • Exiting a hazardous  site as a team
  • Working as a team to fight fire, or rescue those from crashed cars
  • As a team you conduct Search and Rescue inside structures
  • Horizontal and vertical ventilation fire fighting must be conducted with your team mates
  • Control flammable gas cylinder fires is a team effort

You will learn…

  • Pumpers and how to connect to a water supply
  • The difference in Class A, Class B, and Class C fires….each must be handled in its own unique way
  • Scenes will need to be evaluated so to illuminate for the best coverage
  • The importance and how to’s  of shutting off building utilities

After the fire the importance of Prevention, Preparedness and Maintenance will be learned. This aftercare is as important as putting out fires….You have to be ready to roll when the call comes in

All your equipment will have to be checked….

  • Hand tools
  • ropes and ladders
  • SCBA
  • Fire hoses and more

Additional Requirements: Polygraph Test/ Firefighter Interview & Exam

Now to the part you have been waiting for ……EXAMS…..

Written exams 70% and higher will get you a passing grade….the Physical portion will be graded on the quickness of performing all skills, ability and agility you perform with, and showing the working knowledge you have mastered!

Here are some additional steps that are required before getting hired by a fire department:

1. You must pass the firefighter entrance exam (also known as the civil service exam in some states).

2. You must pass a background check that is free of any felony convictions.

3. You must pass a drug screen test.

4. You must pass the polygraph test. I recommend downloading How to Pass Your Polygraph ebook.  I encourage you to look over this  e-book before sitting down for your polygraph test. You can thank me later.

5. You must go through and pass an Oral Board Interview. To prepare for the oral interview, we suggest reading through Master Your Firefighter Interview before sitting for your interview. It’s a very good interview preparation book for future fireman.

It sounds like a lot to learn and do but being a firefighter is one of the most exciting, rewarding and much needed career in our communities.

Go for it!!

Alabama Fire Fighter Salary/Pay scale

Within Alabama there is a lot of variation in Fire Fighter Salaries. These variations depend on on a wide range of factors from population to general competitiveness in the market.

Below is a chart containing the average salary of a fireman. However the data collected are national averages, meaning your pay could be more or less depending on the agency.

Position Minimum annual base salary Maximum annual base salary
Fire chief $78,672 $104,780
Deputy chief 69,166 88,571
Battalion chief 66,851 81,710
Assistant fire chief 65,691 83,748
Fire captain 60,605 72,716
Fire lieutenant 50,464 60,772
Engineer 48,307 62,265

 Firefighting Jobs in Alabama

The directory below is a list of every fire station in the state of Alabama. If you are looking for a firefighter job in your area, please visit our career job center, and then enter your city and state in the search function.

  • A and M Volunteer Fire Department
  • Abbeville Fire Rescue
  • Abernant Fire Department
  • Adger Volunteer Fire Department
  • Akron Volunteer Fire Department

Firefighter Requirements in Arizona – How to Become an AZ Fireman

Many young person seeing fire trucks zooming down the streets with horns blaring and lights flashing declare that they want to be a Firefighter when they grow up.

All grown up now and still wanting to pursue that dream? There are skills to be accomplished and much to learn but it’s all worth it in the end.

Arizona certification for Firefighters 1 & 2 are conducted by facilities that are approved by the Arizona Center for Fire Service Excellence, AKA, AzCFSE.

Steps to Become a Firefighter in Arizona

Basically there are 4 steps involved to receive your certificate…

  1. A certified trainer will verify you have met all the requirements so you can begin testing for your certification
  2. Money. Your money pays for the testing of both the written and skill examinations
  3. Pass your written exam
  4. Pass your skill exam

Let’s look at some of the requirements for becoming a firefighter starting with examples of the basics. Ready?

  • Operating all types of hand tools…hooks, bars, forcible entry tools
  • How to connect the hoses, direct the water stream and pressure, use firefighting chemicals
  • Protecting a citizen’s property, proper clean up afterwards, and performing salvage work
  • Being a First Responder on a HazMat scene
  • Giving tours, being a guide around the fire house, and visiting schools and giving children the dream to follow in your footsteps

KNOWLEDGE. If you are like me, you probably only know what you have seen in the movies…

  • What are the procedures and practices of modern day firefighting
  • Learning  and maintaining all your equipment, whether it’s the vehicles you drive, or the you tools use, proper care has to be taken of all
  • Learning all the government rules and regulations governing Fire Departments
  • HazMat, First Responder, Life supports procedures

Of course there is more “knowledge” needed, this was just the short list!

ABILITIES. You know what this means….being clear headed and able bodied to think through and carry out your knowledge

  • You will learn to think, act, and respond quickly in whatever kind of emergency
  • Deal with people who are in the midst of this disaster
  • Selecting the proper equipment you will need
  • Having the physical strength, endurance and stamina to operate under any and all pressure

Again, this was just a short list, too!

All these areas and more will be covered in your Fire Academy training to fully prepare you for your certification exam.

Test time!

Arizona Fireman Written Exam

Your written exam will be multiple choice containing 150 questions. Passing grade is 112 right, or 75%. Don’t let this scare you off. You are allowed 3 retests within one year of completing your initial training so. That‘s not so bad!

You know you need to be in the best physical and mental health to be a firefighter. For your own safety and that of those you will be serving this will be critical for all.

Additional Requirements: Polygraph Test & Firefighter Interview

Here are some additional steps that are required before getting hired by a fire department:

1. You must pass the firefighter entrance exam (also known as the civil service exam in some states).

2. You must pass a background check , free of any felony convictions.

3. You must pass a drug screen test.

4. You must pass the polygraph test. I recommend downloading How to Pass Your Polygraph ebook.  I encourage you to look over this  e-book before sitting down for your polygraph test. You can thank me later.

5. You must go through and pass an oral board interview. To prepare for the oral interview, we suggest reading through Master Your Firefighter Interview before sitting for your interview. It’s a very good interview preparation book for future fireman.

Good luck! I know you can do it! After all, this is your childhood dream come true.

Job Description of a Fire fighter:

Responds immediately to fires and other emergency situations. Provides protection to public and property. Requires a high school diploma or its equivalent with 0-2 years of experience in the field or in a related area. May need to pass strength tests.

Familiar with a variety of the field’s concepts, practices, and procedures. Relies on experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. Performs a variety of complicated tasks. May direct and lead the work of others. Typically reports to a manager. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected.

Average Salary & Pay scale of a Firefighter in AZ

The average salary of a fire fighter in Arizona is $41,000, according to The job listing website says the range for fire fighters in Arizona is from $29,612 to $56,444.

Firefighter Jobs in Arizona

The directory below is a list of every fire station in the state of Arizona. If you are looking for a firefighter job in your area, please visit our career job center, and then enter your city and state in the search box.