A neighboring department recently conducted Fire Captain interviews for 7 candidates. I was asked to sit on the oral board and help evaluate the candidates. This is one of my favorite things to do because it always gives me such great insight into the preparation and stresses of an interview. One of the captain oral board questions that we asked to each candidate was a very good question. We liked it so much that we have now added it to our Fire Officer Interview Questions ebook. This question is a little “out there” but it gives the panel good insight into the thought process of a candidate.

Your Fire Chief sends out a memo that requires you to unload and wash every section of hose on the pumper once a week, and reload the truck with clean hose. He read in a magazine that this will lead to better service and performance. How will you deal with this situation?

Key Points: This is an obvious loaded question. No Chief in the world would accept this amount of out of service time from his units. The point of this question is to hear the thought process behind the candidates’ answers. Are they going to say “No, I will not follow that order” or will they say that they will find a solution that benefits everyone?

Example Answer: As a Captain it is my job to help the department reach its organization goal of protecting life and property. It is also my goal to provide honest and valuable feedback both up and down the chain of command. My first step is going to be following the new order. This new memo will require a great deal of out of service time working with the hose. I would also check with out hose manufacturers for recommended care and storage of our hose and see what they recommend. If I had an idea that would lower our out of service time, allowing us to serve the public better, and maintain high performance and reliability from the hose, I would put together a letter with my findings and recommendations and forward it up the chain of command. I must stress that my job is to follow orders, and I will follow this one, however it is also my job to ensure my crew is always at a high level of operational readiness. Our job is to be in service and available to help the citizens as much as possible. Our command staff values feedback  from the line officers and would work with me to improve our service to the community.

Fire Officer Interview Questions