Prepare for the Firefighter Situational Judgment Test [2024]
Yedidya Lixenberg

Yedidya, Firefighter Recruitment Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What is the Firefighter SJT Test?

Unlike cognitive firefighter tests, firefighter situational judgment test is an aptitude test used to assess your decision-making abilities in a fire service job, during various stressful situations. It is similar to a personality test- you will be presented with hypothetical (yet realistic!) firefighter-related scenarios and descriptions of common firefighter practices. Each question requires you to do one of three things:

-Determine the most appropriate action

-Choose the most appropriate & least appropriate action

-Rank the responses from most appropriate action to least appropriate action

Questions related to firefighter practices assess your ability to determine the reasoning behind the practice. Be advised that there is usually no time limit, but that these tests tend to take around 45 minutes to complete. There are several fire service tests, but almost every fire department includes a situational judgement test section, which is sometimes even presented as a personality test.

To reiterate- the firefighter SJT measures your personal qualities and decision making abilities by having you choose how you would act during stressful situations. Many fire departments prioritise your SJT score highly, so raising your skill level can seriously improve your chances of being considered a good fit and getting the job. But choosing the correct answers can be difficult- you usually have to consider more than one side of each dilemma. 

And the best way to work on your SJT decision making skills is by trying some sample questions!


Firefighter SJT Sample Questions

 Here are three examples from the firefighter situational judgement test- one for each format.


Firefighter SJT Sample Question 1

Joe has been a firefighter on your team for about a year. During his time on the team, he has managed to get everyone upset with his late arrivals to shifts and the way he generally seems to be inconsiderate. This evening, just before your night shift, you saw Joe drinking alcohol at a local bar with his friends while you were jogging. You know that he is supposed to be your relief in the morning. However, in the morning your captain calls you and says that Joe is not feeling well and won’t be able to relieve you. Your captain is still looking for a replacement and asks you to continue your shift during this time. He doesn’t know when he will be able to find a replacement, if at all. You are very tired after the night shift and suspect that Joe just wants to stay in bed after a night of excessive drinking. You know that this is not the first time he’s done something like this.
What should you do?

A. Try to find replacement yourself by calling other team members. It's irresponsible of you to continue to work when you're tired.
B. Tell the captain what you saw and insist that Joe takes his shift.
C. Agree to continue his shift and ask to discuss the matter. tell your captain about Joe's behavior.
D. Continue your shift and let this matter go. You don't know Joe's situation, and can't judge him.
E. Have a serious talk with Joe at a later time and explain how his behavior affects everyone on the team.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C.

Best response: C
Competencies: Interpersonal skills (working under authority, teamwork).
Explanation: This scenario has several focal points. First, there’s your supervisor’s request that you stay on duty until he finds a replacement for you. This element addresses your relationship with your superior. It’s important for firefighters to follow orders, even if they disagree with them. This principle helps you to rule out response B. In addition, you are told that your supervisor is looking for someone to relive you. Trying to find relief for yourself is redundant and could interfere with your supervisor’s efforts. Also, the decision of who will take the shift is your supervisor’s, as he has another perspective and might have considerations you are not aware of. In fact, spending your shift making phone calls is inappropriate. All these considerations help to rule out response A.

Another key focal point in this scenario is Joe’s behavior. You saw Joe drinking the evening before his shift. You don’t know whether or not he is lying about feeling ill, but it seems that he has been drinking irresponsibly. Importantly, you are also told that this is not the first time something like this has happened. Joe’s actions are unethical and disrupt the functioning of the department. Therefore, you should take action and not ignore the situation. At this point, you can rule out response D – this is a reoccurring situation, not a single time incident. Both responses C and E take action with regard to Joe’s behavior. Now, you are left debating which action to take. Since Joe’s behavior seems repetitive, unethical, and damaging to the department, it’s not enough just to talk to him. If the situation were one of mere misunderstanding or a one-time slip, then response E would have been appropriate. But since the situation is more severe, it’s your responsibility to inform your supervisor of Joe’s behavior. Therefore, the best response is C.

Firefighter SJT Sample Question 2

You are very impressed with Sheila, a fellow firefighter who took initiative at a fire incident and prevented the fire from spreading to an adjacent building. During the debrief meeting, you noticed Sheila's lack of confidence as she played down her role and omitted several important details regarding her contribution to managing the incident. You want to help boost Sheila's self-confidence.
What are the best and worst responses?

A. Recommend that she discloses all her efforts in the future.

B. Ask Sheila for her advice and opinion on best managing future incidents.

C. Point out Sheila's mistakes during this incident, and recommend areas for improvement in future events.

D. Constantly praise Sheila's work, even when she makes mistakes.

Click here for the full solution.

Best response: B
Worst response: C
Competency: Interpersonal skills (teamwork).

In this scenario, you want to help a fellow firefighter improve on a personal quality. You need to decide on the best course of action.
Response B is the most appropriate response. By asking your fellow firefighter for her input, you show her that you value her opinions. By demonstrating that you value her input, you will increase her self-esteem and self-confidence.
Response C is the worst response. You want to help boost her self-confidence, not damage it. By pointing out her mistakes, you will not be improving her self-confidence. Rather, you will be achieving the opposite.
Response A may sound like a good response as you are encouraging Sheila to take credit for her efforts. However, you need to first boost her self-confidence in order for her to take this future action willingly.
Response D may sound like a good response as constantly praising her work could indeed increase her confidence. However, the response states that you also praise Sheila when she makes mistakes. This, in fact, could be detrimental to her work and service as a firefighter as she will continue making the same mistakes over and over. She may become more confident, but she will also become incompetent in her work. Response C, however, is the worst response as you are asked what are the best and worst responses to boosting Sheila's confidence. In this case, response C is detrimental to Sheila's confidence, while response D is detrimental to her performance as a firefighter.


Firefighter SJT Sample Question 3
In the ambulance after a traffic accident, Firefighter Garcia sees Firefighter Johnson go back to the car and pick up a wallet. He puts it in his pocket when no one is around.
What should Firefighter Garcia do?
Rank the following responses from 1 (most effective response) to 4 (least effective response).

A. Tell firefighter Johnson to report the incident to your superior, or you will.

B. Nothing. Firefighter Johnson probably picked up the wallet for the driver and will make sure it is delivered to him.

C. Explain to Johnson how his behavior affects the victim and your trust toward him.

D. Demand that Firefighter Johnson give the wallet to the emergency room staff.

Click here for the full solution.

Correct answer:





Competency: Integrity and professionality (ethics)
Explanation: In this scenario, a firefighter witnesses his teammate taking the wallet of a man they just assisted. You are asked to rate the responses to such a situation.
First, the appearance of the situation is that of theft – the firefighter picks the wallet up when no one is around and places it in his pocket. The right thing to do in case a man you evacuated to the hospital drops his property is to bring it to the hospital staff for safe-keeping until he is conscious and able to receive his property back. Firefighter Johnson’s actions don’t indicate any such intention. Stealing from civilians you are rescuing is both a crime and a serious ethical violation.
It is your responsibility as a firefighter not only to work ethically but also to maintain your team’s ethics. When you witness such an incident, it’s your responsibility to make sure your supervisor is informed, despite the difficulty of reporting a fellow teammate. Your supervisor will decide on the proper response toward the firefighter and help you make sure that the stolen object returns to its owner. Response A finds a middle ground — Firefighter Garcia makes sure that Firefighter Johnson’s actions are reported to their supervisor, while also allowing Johnson an opportunity to repent. This is the most appropriate response as it combines high ethical values and teamwork competencies.
The next best option is D – here firefighter Garcia acts to get the wallet back to its owner. This is a positive and active response. However, it is not the best. Firefighter Garcia doesn’t make sure that the wallet actually reaches its destination – counting on the thief to return the stolen object is not a guaranteed course of action. In addition, Firefighter Garcia fails to inform his supervisor of this ethical violation. It’s important to understand that reporting this incident is a firefighter’s duty, not an option.
Next up is response C. In this response, Firefighter Garcia tries to raise Firefighter Johnson’s awareness of the effect his actions have on others, as well as his empathy. While this action could be useful on its own, it cannot be the only response in this situation. Firefighter Johnson’s actions must be reported.
Response B is the worst response. As explained before, Firefighter Johnson’s actions seem like theft. Being able to trust your teammates is important, of course, but when witnessing something that points otherwise you should take action. If you are not sure of what happened, informing your supervisor and letting him or her take the necessary actions to investigate the incident is the right decision.

Importance of the Situational Judgement Test

Being able to make decisions based on quick judgement of a given situation is important when responding to a fire emergency. Firefighters are constantly faced with urgent situations in which they need to act speedily, confidently, and efficiently. This is why the SJT is one of the most important aptitude tests for many fire service jobs in the firefighter selection process.

Situational Judgement Test Preparation

Arriving on the day of your test confident and well-prepared will no doubt help you succeed. JobTestPrep is here to provide you with the skills you need. Our custom-made Firefighter Practice Test pack includes both aptitude and personality tests as well as detailed answer explanations to help improve your final score.

Learn More About the Firefighter Test Sections
Mechanical Reasoning
Math Reasoning   Personality

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