Firefighter Online Assessment Tests

How2Become Firefighter Online Assessment Tests

UK Firefighter Online Assessment Tests

No matter which Fire and Rescue Service you want to join the UK, you’ll need to pass several written ability tests to get recruited. These tests are designed to assess your cognitive skills in several areas, and allow recruiters to evaluate how suitable you are for the non-physical side of the role.

As a firefighter, you need to be able to make correct decisions under serious time constraints, and make use of many skills such as mathematical aptitude and situational awareness. As such, recruiters are keen to test these skills during the notoriously tough recruitment process.

Most services do so using the National Firefighter Ability (NFA) Tests, which consist of the following:

  • Working with Numbers Test;
  • Understanding Information Test;
  • Situational Awareness and Problem Solving Test;
  • Mechanical Reasoning Test;
  • National Firefighter Questionnaire. 

Many forces are now choosing to host these tests online. Keep reading to learn more about the each of the firefighter online assessment tests.

Firefighter Online Assessment: Working With Numbers

This multiple-choice test assesses your ability to understand and work with numerical information of a type that a firefighter is likely to experience whilst carrying out his or her role.

The test requires candidates to perform combinations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as estimations of numerical data.

A firefighter entered a fire at 19.09 and had 47 minutes of air in their cylinder. The time is now 19.20. How much air do they have left?

a) 32 minutes
b) 33 minutes
c) 34 minutes
d) 35 minutes
e) 36 minutes

e) 36 minutes.

11 minutes have now passed since the firefighter entered the building (19.20 – 19.09).

Subtract 11 minutes from the total amount of air that was in the cylinder when they entered the fire (47).

47 -11 = 36 minutes.

Firefighter Online Assessment: Understanding Information

The Understanding Information test is designed to assess a candidates ability to learn and retain information. Firefighters need to be capable of learning job-specific information and be able to retain that information so that they can use it during training and whilst attending operational incidents.

During this test you will be presented with a written passage or video and it is your job to understand the information provided and answer a number of questions directly relating to the material.

It is important to take the content at face-value and not use inferences or outside knowledge to reach your answer. 

Retained fire stations are usually based in rural areas where a wholetime fire station would not be cost effective. Retained firefighters wear a pager whilst on duty, which allows them to be alerted to a fire or incident from the central Fire Service Control Centre. Once the pager is activated, the retained firefighter will then proceed to the fire station where he or she will mount the fire engine before proceeding to the incident. The role of a retained firefighter requires a high degree of flexibility, dedication and commitment.

Q. Retained firefighters are required to wear Personal Protective Equipment, just like their wholetime firefighter colleagues.

a) True

b) False

c) Impossible to say

c) Impossible to say

There is no information in the passage about the Personal Protective Equipment wholetime or retained firefighters are required to wear. 

Firefighter Online Assessment: Situational Awareness and Problem Solving

The situational awareness and problem solving test assesses an applicant’s ability to ensure the safety of themselves and others as well as measure their ability to use information in order to solve problems.

The test requires applicants to read a scenarios that a firefighter could expect to face. There will be four alternative answers to choose from and you should select the answer that most accurately reflects how you would respond to the situation. 

A work colleague in the Fire Service has been absent due to sickness and she has missed an important operational incident debrief that has highlighted a number of important change to procedures. What would you do?

a) Immediately explain to her what the changes are and clarify that she fully understands them.
b) Inform your line manager of her absence so that he can tell her what they are.
c) Do nothing. She will probably find out about the changes through other work colleagues or whilst she is on the job.
d) Wait until tea break before you inform her. There’ll be more time then to explain what the changes are.

a) Immediately explain to her what the changes are and clarify that she fully understands them.

It is important that she is informed immediately about the changes. 

This question relates to the PQA of openness to change: “Demonstrates an understanding of the need for change within the Fire and Rescue Service (e.g. explains the reasons for new working practices to colleagues absent from briefings).”

Firefighter Online Assessment: Mechanical Comprehension

Some Fire and Rescue Services in the UK have chosen to implement a mechanical comprehension test. It is important to check with the service you are applying to to find out which tests you will be facing during their recruitment process.

Mechanical comprehension tests are used to assess a candidate’s ability to work with, and understand, mechanical concepts.

Many mechanical comprehension tests require you to concentrate on ‘mechanical principles’ rather than making calculations, and as such will include diagrams and pictures as part of the question.

For example, you may be shown a diagram of a series of cogs and be asked which way a specific cog is turning based on the rotation of an adjacent cog. Other questions may be concerned with ‘mechanical advantage’, or deal with simple pulley systems.

How much force is required to lift the bucket?

How2Become Mechanical Comprehension Pully Sample Questiona) 100 kg
b) 50 kg
c) 25 kg
d) 10 kg

b) 50 kg

The pulley system only has one supporting rope so the mechanical advantage is one.

Firefighter Online Assessment: National Firefighter Questionnaire

During the firefighter selection process, you will be required to complete a questionnaire. The purpose of this questionnaire is to determine your attitude, motivations and opinions in relation to situations centred on the Personal Qualities and Attributes.

There are no right or wrong answers to the questions, but the questionnaire should be taken seriously as it will be used to determine whether or not your application is successful. 

With regards to change, I believe that you shouldn’t fix things if they are not broken.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree or disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

Whilst there is no right or wrong answer for any of the questionnaire questions it is important to remember that change in any organisation is important and supporting change is essential to the role of a firefighter.

Ideally, you would select disagree or strongly disagree to a question like this. 


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