Required Psychological and Medical Exams for Firefighters

Even if you are able to pass the physical requirements required to be a firefighter, you still need to pass a psychological exam as part of the hiring process.

The work that firefighters perform is physically and mentally stressful. They are attending at accident scenes and fires that cause damage to property, injuries, and sometimes, fatalities.

Anyone working in this type of environment must be psychologically stable. Firefighters work as a team, and all members of that team must be able to work together so that they don’t endanger themselves, coworkers, other emergency personnel, or the public. Up to 50 percent of candidates don’t pass the psychological test, which is made up of two parts.

The first portion of the psychological test is a written exam where the candidate answers a series of questions. Rather than try to figure out what information the tester is looking for and slanting your answers in that direction, a better policy is to answer each question honestly. Once you have completed the written portion of the test, you will be interviewed by a psychologist. He or she will ask you questions based on your answers. After the process is complete, a Pass or Fail grade is given.

The medical exam portion of the application process for firefighters is performed to rule out the presence of any underlying medical conditions or issues that may affect job performance and possibly endanger others. The other reason for a full physical exam being conducted is to have a baseline to go by if the person makes a claim for job-related injuries or disabilities. That way, evidence is present that the cause of the injury or disability is not related to a pre-existing condition.

The medical exam may include any, or all of the following components:

  1. Blood test
  2. Cardiovascular exam
  3. Examination of the musculoskeletal system
  4. Eye exam
  5. Hearing test
  6. Respiratory test
  7. Urine test

If you are disqualified from being hired as a firefighter due to something that was discovered during the physical exam, you may be able to appeal the ruling. The first step is to find out exactly why you were turned down, then get a second opinion from either your personal physician or another qualified medical practitioner. You can submit a medical report, along with any supporting test results, to the department and ask that the file be reviewed.


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