Daren, recently purchased our fire officer interview questions e-book in preparation for his lieutenant oral board.  After his interview he emailed us telling us our guide had 7 of his 10 questions in it.  This was one that was not in our guide, but is now.  Its a great question and allows the panel to gain insight into a candidates thought process on risk/reward and safety.

You arrive to a single story single family residential home with light smoke showing from basement windows.  The basement windows have metal security bars over them.  The fire appears to be in the incipient stage and there is not an exterior stairwell.  What will you do?

This is a great interview question that has to be answered carefully.  It presents a picture of a small fire in the basement that should be easy to handle.  The point of this question isn’t to see if the candidate has his strategy and tactics down, but rather his view of safety.  If he makes an offensive attack, will he have a secondary means of egress?  Is this allowed within your department’s SOPs?  The panel will watch for a risk/benefit analysis, a careful size-up, and a plan to operate safely.  A defensive attack is acceptable in this case as long as no life hazard can be confirmed.  However, the most appropriate answer is to have a RIT in place, and a truck crew working on removing the bars when the attack begins.  Either way, as long as the candidate mentions the security bars as his concern the panel will most likely be happy.  Yes, this question has been added to our Fire Officer interview questions e-book.