Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

The Fire Department Assessment Center Is Here to Stay

Issue 7 and Volume 170.

By Michael J. Barakey Fire department assessment centers are here to stay. Fire and emergency medical services (EMS) departments are using assessment centers to evaluate candidates for promotion. This evaluation tool is being used for all ranks, from entry level or first-line supervisor positions (lieutenant, captain, and sergeant) to a mid-/senior-level officer (battalion/assistant chief/major) to executive levels (deputy and chief). The assessment center uses “job simulation exercises” designed to replicate situations or aspects of the job the candidate is seeking. Performance dimensions are identified for each assessment, which ties the assessment to the job description. To accomplish this, fire and human resource departments will either conduct the assessment center “in house” and deliver the assessment center using fire and human resource staff or contract with a firm or vendor to deliver the assessment center. These firms or vendors are human resource consulting firms that develop, validate, and implement examinations and…

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