Top 35 Firefighter Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

Today, there are over 1 million career, paid per call, and volunteer firefighters in the United States. If you’ve always dreamed of joining them, then you know that getting there is a journey. Along with completing official firefighter training, you’ll have to pass the CPAT. Plus, you’re going to have to show you have the right stuff when answering firefighter interview questions.

Yes, answering firefighter interview questions probably isn’t as scary as rushing into a burning building. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t intimidating. Luckily, you’re here, and we have your back.

If you want to make sure you can shine during your interview, here’s what you need to know.

How to Answer Firefighter Interview Questions

Now, we get that you’re probably incredibly excited to see the firefighter interview questions. After all, when it comes to how to become a firefighter, getting knowing what they are and how to answer them makes a difference.

The thing is, we need to pause for a second and take a step back. Why? Because whether you’re hoping to go career or want to snag a volunteer firefighter position, nailing your interview requires more than just seeing the questions you might face.

First, it’s essential to understand that there are a lot of potential questions out there. First, there are general job interview questions. That can include fan-favorites like:

Then, there are job-specific interview questions. In this case, these really dig into topics that are relevant to firefighting. You might need to discuss firefighting training experiences, for example, or have to explain how you meet the firefighter requirements.

In the end, you need to do some preparation that goes far beyond simply looking as questions. You also need to know how to answer firefighter interview questions. That way, no matter what you’re asked, you’ll be ready.

So, how do you answer firefighter interview questions? By having a fantastic strategy.

First, it’s time to embrace research. Take a trip back to that firefighter job description and spend time reading every detail. Look at the duties, the firefighter requirements, and anything else to learn more about what the department needs to find.

After that, take a trip to the fire department’s website. Look at its mission and values, as well as any information about the services they provide.

Next, it’s time for social media. See if the department has profiles and if so, give them a solid once over. You can learn a ton about a department’s culture this way. Plus, you’ll usually see some tidbits about recent achievements, and that’s good stuff, too.

Once you’ve done all of that, it’s time to focus on your job interview strategy. If you want a rock-solid foundation that can make answering any kind of question easier, take a moment to learn about the Tailoring Method.

With the Tailoring Method, it’s all about ensuring your answers are insanely relevant to the job you want to land. It’s a great option when you need to stand out from the pack, so make it your go-to starting point.

Now, if you’re dealing with behavioral interview questions, the Tailoring Method can help there. But if you want to take your responses to the next level, it’s time for a combination approach.

Mix a healthy dose of the STAR Method in there, and you’ll be in excellent shape. Instead of bland answers, you’ll be able to share details about your firefighter training and relevant skills, traits, and accomplishments through compelling stories.

The Tailoring Method and STAR Method together genuinely take your answers to the next level, making sure the interviewer stays engaged and learns all they need to about what you have to offer.

So, what kind of skills and traits do you need to cover? Well, any skills you acquired during your training are usually a good starting point. The work is very physical, so make sure you discuss accomplishments that put a spotlight on your fitness level.

When it comes to other traits, situational awareness is a biggie. The same goes for decision-making, communication, teamwork, and calm under pressure.

Honesty and integrity are similarly huge. After all, part of your job involves entering other people’s property, and the interviewer needs to know that you’ll act appropriately when you do.

We also wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions along with their firefighter specific ones!

Click below to get your free PDF now:

Get Our Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet!

FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview.


Top 3 Firefighter Interview Questions

Alright, now it is time for those handy-dandy firefighter interview questions and example answers. By reviewing these samples, you can get an idea of not just want you may be asked, but how to approach your response. That way, you’re fully prepared to put the tips above into action.

So, with that in mind, here are the top three firefighter interview questions and example responses.

1. Why do you want to work as a firefighter?

Okay, while this might seem like an unnecessary question on the surface, it’s actually incredibly important. Why? Because the work is inherently dangerous.

Ultimately, the interviewer needs to understand what motivates you to walk into a situation most people would run from. Plus, they need to make sure your reason is sound. They aren’t looking for adrenaline junkies who are simply after a thrill; they need reliable professionals.

Typically, you want to focus on how firefighters have a positive impact on people’s lives. This can include helping individuals during tragedies, supporting public safety, and anything else along those lines.

MIKE'S TIP: Were you motivated to become a firefighter because a fighter had a big impact on your life? Then talk about it. Many people decide to pursue this profession because firefighters were there for them during their moment of need. It’s a solid reason, as this usually means you want to be that hero for someone else. Plus, there’s usually a compelling story at the heart of that motivation, giving you a solid foundation for a great answer.


“Since I was young, I knew I wanted to have a career that let me help people and my community. Becoming a firefighter was ultimately a natural fit. Firefighters arrive during what can be the worst day of a person’s life, putting themselves on the line to mediate the tragedy. I’ve always respected that and, as I got older, realized that I wanted to be that person for someone else.

In many ways, it feels like a calling. However, over the course of my training, I also learned that it’s something I’m capable of doing reliably. I want to step up for my community. That’s my core motivation from becoming a firefighter.”

2. What steps do you take to maintain your physical fitness?

While being asked about your exercise routine would be odd for most professions, during a firefighter interview, it’s par for the course. After all, your fitness level plays a significant role in how well you can do your job, so the interviewer wants to know that you have a routine in place for maintaining it.

Now, you don’t have to drill down into too many specifics. Instead, give a solid overview of your approach. You can also touch on how your routine may shift if you’re hired, showcasing that you can keep it up even after a schedule change.


“Currently, I maintain my fitness level by working out four to five days a week. I find that using a high-intensity interval training approach works best, allowing me to develop strength, stamina, burst energy, and more. Plus, I believe that pattern mimics what you experience when fighting a fire, making it particularly relevant.

During part of the year, I also participate in a recreational basketball league. This lets me have some fun while improving my cardio and hand-eye coordination.

If I’m hired, I would also start participating in the department’s fitness program right away. Not only will this help me keep my physical capabilities honed, but it also lets me bond with my new colleagues, something that I consider a win-win.”

3. If you saw a firefighter steal an item from a scene, what would you do?

As mentioned above, integrity is a huge deal for firefighters. When you’re battling a blaze, entering someone else’s home or business is typically part of the equation. This means the team has access to the victim’s property, some of which may be valuable.

Interviewers ask this question to see how you would act if you witnessed a colleague taking property from a scene. It’s an uncomfortable situation, but the interviewer needs to know that you’ll do the right thing.


“If I saw another firefighter remove a person’s property from the scene, I would follow all reporting guidelines set by the department. While I know that teamwork and comradery are crucial to succeeding as a team, we have a responsibility to those we help. Our communities need to trust us, and that ultimately takes precedence.”

32 More Firefighter Interview Questions

Here are 32 more firefighter interview questions you might encounter:

    1. Which of the firefighter requirements do you feel is the most challenging for you?
    2. What part of the firefighter training was the most difficult for you?
    3. Have you ever been personally impacted by a fire?
    4. Which traits do you think are necessary for becoming a successful firefighter?
    5. Can you tell me about a time when you had to make a decision quickly?
    6. Why are you leaving your current department?
    7. If you believed that a fellow firefighter reported to duty under the influence, what would you do?
    8. Why do you want to work for this department?
    9. If you have a conflict with another firefighter, how would you address it?
    10. If you witness bullying or hazing in the workplace, how would you respond?
    11. Ethics and morality play a big role in this job. If you were given an unethical order or one you had a moral objection to, that wasn’t explicitly against protocol, what would you do?
    12. What steps do you take to manage stress, both on the job and on your own time?
    13. Since discussing fire safety is a common part of the role, can you tell me about a time when you had to give a presentation to a group?
    14. Our state has a safe-haven law. If you saw someone leaving an infant, what would you do?
    15. Which of the firefighter daily tasks do you enjoy most? Which do you enjoy least?
    16. If you saw a rookie struggling mentally or emotionally after a fire, how would you react?
    17. If you found drugs or alcohol in another firefighter’s locker, what would you do?
    18. Tell me about a time where you had to step up as a leader during a crisis.
    19. Can you share an example of an incident where you saw someone in distress and stepped up to help?
    20. What is the most stressful moment you’ve had in your life? How did you handle the pressure?
    21. What steps do you take to increase and maintain your firefighting knowledge?
    22. If a superior gave you an order that violated protocol, what would you do?
    23. If a person asked you for tips to help prevent housefires, what would you share?
    24. Tell me about a time that you had to solve a problem as part of a group.
    25. Give me an example of a time that you had a disagreement with a colleague. What happened, and how did you navigate the situation?
    26. If you were given two conflicting orders while on the scene of a fire, how would you proceed?
    27. If a fellow firefighter became trapped by debris within eyesight of you in the burning building, and you received an order to vacate immediately, what would you do?
    28. What is a fire department’s role in its community?
    29. Can you share an example of a time where you had to convince a reluctant person to do something that scared them?
    30. What steps have you taken to ensure you meet the firefighter requirements?
    31. If you weren’t a firefighter, what career would you choose instead?
    32. What part of being a firefighter scares you?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Firefighter Interview

At the end of your firefighter interview, you’ll probably get a chance to ask the interviewer a couple of questions. This can be a great opportunity, letting you learn more about the department’s culture, priorities, and more.

Usually, you want to have at least a few questions at the ready. If you aren’t sure what to ask, here are five good questions for the end of your firefighter interview:

    1. Is there anything about working as a firefighter that initially caught you off guard?
    2. What sort of team-building activities are used to strengthen the department?
    3. Aside from fighting fires, what does the department do to support the local community?
    4. Does the department actively encourage firefighters to further their education? If so, how?
    5. What traits do your best firefighters have in common?

Putting It All Together

Now that you’ve made it this far, you probably know how to tackle firefighter interview questions. Use all of the tips and tidbits above to your advantage. That way, when it comes time to land your next firefighter position, you’ll be ready.

Good luck!

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Download our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you word-for-word sample answers to some of the most common interview questions including:

  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength?
  • Tell Me About Yourself
  • Why Should We Hire You?
  • And more!

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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.