How to become a firefighter in WA


Become A Firefighter In WA Quickly  

Even if you have failed multiple times

To remove any confusion I'm talking about how to become a firefighter with DFES, I will not be covering general how to's that can be found on the

"How to become a firefighter in Australia" Page.

Competition in WA Firefighter Recruitment

DFES is extremely competitive fire service in Australia. Over the last decade or so I have been following firefighter recruitment in WA.

The amount of applicants has fluctuated between 1200 - 3500 applications in the many variations of recruitment that DFES has conducted.

I like to point this out from the beginning so you understand the potential of the competition and what may be required in order to beat these hundred or thousands of people.

I don't mean to put you off the idea, more to make you consider the fact that simply winging it will more than likely land you on the wrong side of the fence when the cards fall.

Tests you need to pass

in order to become a firefighter in WA with DFES

DFES has had many iterations and process changes over the years we have been painstakingly following them. DFES Has probably changed the most out of all the fire services, they seem addicted to moving the way they recruit. This can be a pain in the bum but the fundamentals have not changed

Over the last few years we have seen DFES firefighter recruitment change test providers from Saville, Chandler Mcleod & Revelian

Cognitive Assessment  & Written Task Assessment

The Firefighter cognitive assessment in WA is designed to assess your suitability to undertake the academic content of the Trainee Firefighter School and pass . 

  • The assessment of written tasks is to assess your ability to review information and present your interpretation in a concise, efficient and professional manner.

    Cognitive Assessment
    The current areas of the cognitive assessments include error checking, verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, spatial reasoning, mechanical reasoning and diagrammatic reasoning. Some of the reasoning categories are very similar but it pays to know what you're going to be tested on in detail.

    Assessment of Written Task
    The written assessment task requires that you strictly adhere to a one-page response to the Application Questions. These questions address aspects of the firefighter success profile.

Aptitude test for WA Firefighter Selection

This assessment examines your verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning, and your ability to acquire, retain, organise and apply information. This assessment has a time limit.

The Key - With any cognitive assessment the key is to make sure you are using relevant test questions for your practice, there is a bit more to it but that's the big one. Unfortunately a lot of the practice stuff you will find  via web search is NOT what you will experience on the day. I have seen every mistake under the sun related to this issue.

Cognify ( game based assessment )

Cognify forms part of the cognitive testing - It has been used recently so I suggest getting some exposure to this type of test.

This assessment examines your reasoning ability, and your ability to acquire, retain, organise and apply information. This assessment has a time limit. You can access example tests for cognify in the Membership Area

cognify practice test image

Click the picture to go to an in-depth analysis of cognify

The Key - The thing you need to understand about the "cognify" game based assessment is that you want to get exposure to the test before the day, "cognify" gives the recruiters a deeper insight into your actual reasoning ability as it records not only your answers but also your behaviour whilst attending the test.

Psych Test

This assessment contains a variety of statements about beliefs and attitudes regarding safety requiring a response along a  scale. This assessment is not timed but should be completed in a timely manner to avoid raising flags.

The Key - With the Psych Test or Personality Test is you need to develop an understanding around the beliefs and attitudes of the preferred candidate profile DFES have come up with or more so the company DFES has hired at the time. 

Once you understand this it allows you to avoid mistakes thousands of people make each year

The tests above can be accompanied by some strategic questioning as the beginning of firefighter recruitment in WA

This is where a lot get knocked out of the game

TIP: Simply searching "Revelian test DFES" OR "Saville tests DFES" OR "WA firefighter test"    OR "free test firefighter" will usually prove a waste of your time and may even lead you down a path of being locked out for 12 months. Have a think about what the majority would do and don't do that

DFES PAT Test - Physical Aptitude test

Honestly most applicants don't pay a lot of attention to the PAT test which is a mistake unless you take into account the fact most of the people that take it for granted are the same ones who will never actually make it to the PAT anyhow.

The thing about the PAT, It's a specific test to DFES WA so at a minimum familiarise yourself with it.

The "Physical Aptitude Test" is not something you want to fail after going through the effort to pass the initial testing. The PAT test it's also the most transparent test you will face, you know the benchmarks you're required to meet, they lay it out for you on a platter (video).

TIP: Always "control the outcome of what you can". The PAT definitely falls into this category so why wouldn't you make sure you can control the outcome of something so simple.

Our process for the PAT -

1. We boil it down into a training method of the "minimum effective dose" so that absolutely every minute of effort is propelling you towards the goal and zero effort is wasted doing things that will not contribute.

2. Track execution of the plan and progress.

3. Adjust if needed 

This process allows us to sail through any Physical test and gives us the luxury of intervening before it's too late if necessary.

DFES Physical Aptitude Test: Round Robin Instructional video 


Common Interview Questions Firefighters get Asked

There are 2 components to the interview for DFES Firefighter recruitment.

(can be conducted via video interview)

Format 1: Speed Interviews 

Speed interviews work as follows - applicants are required to sit down 1-on-1 with an assessor and answer interview questions. Applicants rotate assessors every 10 minutes, 4 times.

Format 2: DFES Panel Interview
The panel interview has a panel of 3 - 4  members. You must provide your resume prior to this interview.

Interview Tips:

The interview process is easily your Biggest opportunity in the entire process to beat your competition.

See this podcast for a free debrief with our in-house interview coach

The Interview is actually the least competitive aspect of the process as usually at interview they have culled hundreds or even thousands of applicants.

Do not assume that if you reach this stage the interview is simply a formality; more candidates will be brought to interview than there are positions available. It is a critical part of the selection process and is subject to rigorous assessment.

So at this stage you might only have to be better than 20-40 other applicants.

It is at this stage of the process I get really excited for the guys I work with because I know if they simply follow my training and show up to their coaching sessions they are almost guaranteed a job.

Group Activity

From time to time services will introduce and remove the "Group Activity" into or out of their firefighter recruitment process.

Therefore I'm including this video so you can have some awareness needed or not. I always like to cover all bases and be ready for anything during the recruitment process to avoid any silly mistakes. The example in the above link was made for another services recruitment but it's fundamentally the same.


Understand what you will be subjected to before the medical, If you have something you are worried about it will pay to speak to someone confidentially before your medical as there are things that can be done before it's too late. I like to do this at the beginning with people Im working with as it allows us to remove doubt and focus on more fruitful activities that will get us a job. Below are the listed medical issues DFES is concerned with, they take each person on a case by case basis but these conditions may rule you out.

  • Asthma
  • Colour - vision deficiencies
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Hearing Loss
  • Integrity Requirements
  • Joint replacement

Employment Checks - Validations

Employment checks will be undertaken following successful interview and include the following:

• Reference checks – Make sure you have great referees 

• Working with children check - I'd get this in advance

• Criminal Records Check – National Police Certificate


This test is the modern day PC version of DFES being able to recruit people who are physically capable of doing the job without specifying an individual reason i.e. Your too short

You are required to undertake a number of tasks that a firefighter might be required to do on any given day. The tasks require you to have good strength for specific tasks. 

KEY: Listen carefully and follow your instructions to the letter


Check your Online presence because they will

Skills, Attributes & Attitude needed to become a Firefighter in WA.

- Mindset: you need to be able to get into the right frame of mind to become a firefighter in WA, many people struggle with the journey and find the challenge insurmountable. If you can get this right from the start you're half way there. Commit to the journey

- Develop skills and understanding around all aspects of the testing suite for the current intake.

- Attention to detail.

- Communication skills, you will need to develop extremely good communication and interpersonal skills.

- Positive winning attitude, every minute spent on an unproductive negative activity or conversation is a minute wasted that could be put to use. Don't be like the masses.


TIP: Position Description is a gold mine in the right hands

- You have 1 opportunity to get this right so don't take any chances

- This is generally your first interaction with the service so make it count. Make it contribute to your success, it's a real opportunity to do just that.

- Read the instructions carefully & Follow them to the letter. Sounds simple but so many people mess it up.

- Gain an understanding of what IS important to include and what IS NOT. You don't want to paint yourself in a dull light just because you don't fully understand whats superfluous and what is crucial to have on your application. You can be a great candidate but not a great writer so don't let this be the reason you're out of the game for another year.

TIP: Getting a second opinion from a suitably qualified professional before submitting could make or break you at this point. In my opinion If you can control the outcome of something it is wise to do everything in your power to do just that.

Case Study

Mario L - DFES Firefighter

Mario was on his 3rd and final attempt at becoming a firefighter in WA with DFES. Mario had tried twice and been unsuccessful over an almost 3 year period. 

We met Mario on his 3rd and final attempt at his dream of becoming a professional firefighter.

What I think is an interesting takeaway from Mario's journey is that he had decided to give it one final try, go all out and leave nothing to chance. This actually reminds me of the way I approached the process myself.

The way Mario's life has changed forever by following the process and committing is unimaginable, I'm glad Mario decided to give it one last go before giving up and not only give it one last go, make sure that last attempt was stacked in his favour.

Here's a brief tip to YOU from Mario

tips to applicants: "talk to firey's and maximize the tools inside membership; write down everything you see, learn, read and hear and ask about the values and situations encountered and what to do (e.g. city vs suburbs), what stations specialise in etc"

Process MAP - DFES Firefighter Recruitment


candidate information pack, There is some great information inside this publication that you need to be familiar with as a starting point. Here is a link to
This will give you the most up to date information about becoming a firefighter in WA as far as the service is concerned.


Programs By Fire Recruitment Australia

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A collection of my best recruitment related resources

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