Here are resources and tools that I have found helpful throughout my career as I was preparing for fire department promotional tests.
Assessment Center Preparation
Firefighter Inspiration Readiness & Education
Chief Anthony Kastros’ Mastering the Fire Service Assessment Center workshop was essential in getting me the promotion to Captain. I took this workshop two times over a couple year span. The best aspect of this workshop is that it forces you to practice the uncomfortable people skills scenarios that you may face in your fire department assessment center. Chief Kastros is a great instructor and really helped me get dialed in for my promotion test. He does workshops all over the country on a regular basis. If you are testing for the position of Captain, Lieutenant, Battalion Chief, or another Chief Officer position then I highly recommend his workshop. I have also read and used his book to prepare for assessment centers that you can find HERE.
Red Helmet Training
Red Helmet Training offers a wide variety of courses. I took one of their strategy and tactics workshops prior to my second Fire Captain test. They come prepared with tons of table top courses that give you plenty of opportunity to practice and perfect your strategy and tactics. Not only does Red Helmet Training offer assessment center preparation workshops, but they also host California State Fire Marshal courses. Jesse Quinalty also does Firefighters in Fire Trucks Getting Ice Cream where he does informative and entertaining firefighter interviews (not so much for promotion testing though). Check out the YouTube Channel HERE.
Aspiring Fire Officers
What I found most useful from this website was their page of free downloads that you can use for your fire department assessment center preparation. You can find that page HERE. There are resources to help you with firefighter promotion interviews, fire department personnel scenarios, oral presentations, written exercises, etc. They also provide online courses and private coaching to prepare for assessment centers, but I have not used these paid resources.
Firefighter Education and Training
FireRescue1 (Education and Training)
Here you will find a large and popular website full of resources for all things firefighting. I have used the Firefighter Education and Training section of their website to find useful articles on promoting. There is an endless amount of information on here though, so be careful to stay focused on the topic you are looking for. I find it helping to read articles about the specific type of tactical scenario I am preparing for in my assessment center so I can learn new tactics and methods that may help me. More things to add to the toolbox because you never know what they are going to come up with for your assessment center portion of the promotion test.
Fire Engineering (Firefighter Training)
This is another major publication that has a very in depth website full of information. There are many articles, blogs and podcasts that you can search to find information specific to a scenario or topic you are researching for your promotion test. There is also a Groups page where you can sometimes find discussions between members with information that can be helpful with a fire department promotion test. Once again, there is tons of information here so stay focused on what you are looking to learn.
U.S. Fire Administration
This is the place to go for professional development in the fire service. I have taken several of the free National Fire Academy courses and they have been beneficial. Some of the courses such as Incident Safety Officer may be required by your department for a promotion. The USFA has all sorts of online classes and resources on their website. There is not a lot about promotion exam prep specifically, but this is a great resource career advancement and professional development in general. They offer several programs such as the Managing Officer and Executive Fire Officer that can set you above the rest of the competition when it comes to Fire Battalion Chief and Chief Officer promotions.
Tactical Scenario Practice
On the FireRescue1 Firefighter Education and Training page you can also find videos of tactical scenarios that can be of benefit when looking to practice your scenarios. It is great to run through these videos to get some practice visualizing what you would do. Maybe you can get some tactical ideas that you could use for your scenarios as well. You can find all different types of tactical scenarios on FireRescue1’s website to be sure you have covered the many different situations that you may be tested on.
Fire Engineering Simulations
Fire Engineering has also created a page under their Firefighter Training page that includes simulation videos for tactical scenarios. This was not available the last time I took a promotion test, but it looks useful. It is a good idea to get a look at as many tactical situations as possible so you can be prepared no matter what the proctors through at you during your assessment center. There are several different situations in the Simulator page that will help you get exposed and give you more reps practicing your tactical worksheet.
Fire Science Degrees
Fire Science Online
There are endless options out there for getting a college degree if it is required by your department to take a promotional exam. I ended up going through my local university to earn my degree and didn’t use an online option. This website has tons of information that I did look at and consider for a while. There is information on other public service degrees such as Emergency Management which might be a good option for some. In the end, be sure to choose an online fire science college that meets the requirements of the position you want to promote to. My department and most others require a degree from an accredited university. The Fire Science Online website has information on accreditation and links to many colleges for you to research your options.
Free Study Resources
With Quizlet you can create online flashcards to study for your written fire department promotional exam or for the assessment center portion for free. Quizlet is easy to use and collaborative so you can recruit a study partner to help build your flashcard database. If flashcards are your thing when you are learning new material then this might be the thing for you. I used Quizlet to prepare for all my promotion tests and it was a very useful tool.