Firefighting is an exciting and dangerous profession in any country, but Australian firefighters face unique challenges such as bushfires. If you possess traits such as courage, enjoying work within a team, and a desire to serve your community, this may be a rewarding career for you.
The process of becoming a firefighter is slightly different depending on the state you live in and the type of fire service you want to join. For example, you may wish to become either a permanent firefighter or an on-call firefighter. You also may choose to work in an urban area, a rural area, or on government land. Each of these options involves varying job duties and work cultures, which is why the recruitment process is different. However, there are some common parts of the process you can prepare for, such as online assessments.
Application and Hiring Process
The first step to becoming a firefighter in Australia is to find an opening and submit an application. After you submit your application, some FRSs (fire and rescue services) require an initial interview before continuing with the process.
Next, you will need to complete written and physical tests. The written tests are described in more detail below. There is usually a medical examination and a physical fitness test that ensure you can meet the demands of the job. Many stations use the Physical Aptitude Test, or PAT. It includes activities that simulate those you will carry out as a firefighter. Some of the activities are carrying or dragging equipment, climbing a ladder, and searching for items with reduced visibility. The final steps of the PAT are a simulation of actual firefighting situations.
If you succeed on the tests, the next step is to complete an interview. Interviews are usually with a committee and take place in person in the region where the job is posted. Some common questions include the following:
- Have you been in a life-and-death situation? How did you handle it?
- How well do you work within a team?
- Describe a situation where you had to make sure others completed a task successfully
After a successful interview, you can begin a mandatory training program that is usually at least 12 weeks long. Once your training is complete, you’ll be prepared to join your FRS as a full-fledged firefighter.
What Is the Australian Firefighter Test?
In general, candidates who submit an application will automatically be emailed an invitation to complete the tests. The tests are completed online at home. You usually have up to four days to complete them after receiving the email invitation.
The specific assessments you need to take will depend on the FRS you are applying with, but typically include the following test types.
Emotify is designed by the testing company Revelian to assess your emotional intelligence. It measures how well you can identify another person’s emotions and make decisions accordingly. The test consists of two sections in a game-based format and takes about 20 minutes to complete.
The first section, Matching Faces, involves quickly identifying various emotions based on facial expressions. The second section, Emotional Ties, asks you to recognize emotions in the context of different situations.
This test includes sections on numerical, verbal, and abstract reasoning. It measures your critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. You will have 20 minutes to complete 51 questions.
The numerical reasoning section includes questions on basic math functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You may be asked to view graphs or charts and interpret the data included.
For the verbal reasoning section, some questions involve reading a short text and answering questions about the information it contains. Other questions ask you to choose words with the same meaning or the opposite meaning. You may be asked to choose words that relate to each other in specific ways.
The abstract reasoning section involves activities such as identifying the next image in a pattern or matching a shape viewed from different angles.
Work Safety Assessment
This assessment is not timed but usually takes about 15 minutes. It asks you to respond to questions about safety and emergencies. The goal of the test is to determine whether you can work safely and take responsibility for the safety of yourself and others.
The Revelian version of this test, which many FRSs use, measures five factors:
- Safety control: how likely you are to take actions that increase safety
- Risk aversion: whether you are likely to engage in risky and dangerous behaviors, or try to avoid them
- Stress management: if you are able to cope with the high stress of firefighting and avoid letting stress negatively impact your work
- Drug aversion: whether you are likely to engage in drug use
- Attitudes toward violence: if you can avoid violence and safely manage anger
Work Reliability Scale
This test measures qualities such as honesty and reliability. The questions ask you to indicate how you feel about different statements which relate to the workplace. This test does not have a time limit but it usually takes about 10 minutes.
Some of the questions deal with undesirable workplace behaviors such as dishonesty, theft, and absenteeism. The questions measure whether you are lenient toward these types of behavior or if you are strictly against them.
How to Prepare for the Australian Firefighter Test?
Some candidates worry that it is impossible to prepare for the online tests involved in the application process, because they measure inherent traits. However, practice tests will help you know what to expect and feel more confident in your responses.
There are practice tests available for each type of test included in the recruitment process. Give yourself enough time before you begin the assessments so that you can take each practice test several times. If you’re not satisfied with your score at first, you can work on any difficult topics and try again. A good score on the tests is crucial to moving forward in the hiring process, so don’t give up.
By preparing properly, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success. You’ll be on your way to a satisfying career as a firefighter in no time.