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Description of the FDNY Fire Safety Director Test Procedure
(in June 2000) Disclaimer Revised 01 December 2005

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FSD Home Page Study Guide, including study materials at the FDNY

Becoming an NYC Fire Safety Director

bullet You must first take a Fire Safety Director course by an approved school and pass their exam. The course consists of five four-hour lectures and one two-hour class on fire command panels.
bullet You must then take the FDNY written exam (described below).
bullet Finally, you must pass the on-site test to obtain a Certificate of Fitness within one year of passing the FDNY written exam.

You should read the Notice of Examination for important information.

Pre-test Paperwork

You will need to bring the following:
bulletBall-point pen
bullet#2 pencil
bulletNotarized Child Support Certification form.
bulletVerification letter from your employer attesting to your five years of experience in fire prevention and/or servicing building equipment, signed by him/her and notarized.  If you've been employed for less than five years by your present employer, you may submit additional notarized letters by previous employers for additional experience years.  Any combination of notarized letters from past employers verifying fire safety experience which total five years all together will also meet this FDNY requirement. 
bulletOriginal certificate of completion from your FSD school.
bulletYou can fill out the C of F Application in advance or there
bulletTwo pieces of identification, one of which has your photograph (driver's license, non-driver's identification, passport, state or local government ID, credit card with photo).
bulletPayment of $25 fee or completed waiver of fee form (if you're a municipal employee).

Getting to the FDNY Test Location

Tests are administered at 9 Metro Tech East, Brooklyn NY, which is located on the west side of Flatbush between Myrtle Avenue and Tech Place. Subways available are:

bulletN, R to Lawrence St.
bulletA, C, F to Jay Street (exit at the rear of the train)
bullet2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St. & Boro Hall
bullet2, 3 to Hoyt St.
bulletQ, D, M, N, R to DeKalb Ave.

The building entrance is unlocked shortly after 8 AM. Once inside, the C of F (Certificate of Fitness) unit is the first door on the left.

Large scale map of 9 Metrotech East. Click for a wider view.

Your pretest paperwork will be examined, and if found satisfactory you will be given three new forms to fill out.

 Read the official FDNY test description

    When you complete these forms, return them to the person you received them from, who will check them and direct you to a window where you will be required to produce your identification with your completed forms. If satisfactory, you will be directed to the another window for payment of test fee, and the information from your forms will be entered into the computer system. You will then be directed to a third window, where your picture will be taken and electronically attached to the information you submitted.

You will then be directed into the exam room.

The Exam Room

The picture just taken will be checked to make sure the person taking the exam is the same person who provided photo ID. This same picture appears on your certificate if you pass the exam. Do not attempt to have someone else take the exam for you; both of you will be arrested.

You will be told to sit at a specific testing station, which consists of a touch-screen computer monitor sunken into a desk. No keyboard is required, you press the screen at the icon you wish to activate. The screen welcomes you and asks you to input your social security number. It confirms the SSN and asks if you're supposed to be taking the FSD exam. Press "yes."

You will then be offered the opportunity to take a tutorial on how the icons work. Take the tutorial, which allows you to become familiar with the system and does not count against test time. The icons always on the screen are:

bullet Next question
bulletPrevious question
bulletReview your answers
bulletFinish the exam and find out your mark

Once you begin the exam, you are not permitted to leave the room until you finish. The exam consists of 100 questions. The passing grade is 70%. The computer allows 500 minutes (8 hrs. 20 min.) to complete the exam, but also there is also a requirement that the exam be completed by the end of the business day. Because of personal needs it is unlikely that you will be able to take the entire allotted time.

The screen always shows the time and date the exam started, number of questions completed, number of questions left, and time remaining, as well as the icons listed above.


Each question has four possible answers, A, B, C, or D. When you choose one, the next screen will read the question back to you with the answer you have chosen. You will then have the following choices:

bullet Yes. I'm sure of this answer.
bulletMaybe. I'll come back to this again later.
bulletNo. I want to go back and change my answer.

This is not your last chance to decide. You can change any answer later. Mark the answer as best you can, and move on to the next question. If you have no idea of the answer, go on to the next; a later question may tell you what the answer to this question is.

When you have finished question 100, press the review icon. The screen will then show about six questions per screen along with your answer (both shortened to fit the screen). You can review all the questions in order, or review only those questions which you didn't answer or answered "maybe".

Some test-taking advice:

bullet Listen carefully to the test instructions before the test begins. If there's anything you don't understand, ask.
bullet Trust your judgment. If you've studied, your first hunch is probably the best, but read all of the choices.
bullet Don't jump at "decoy" answers that may sound approximately right.
bullet Pay attention to the little words, like least, not, most, always, never – they can make all the difference!
bullet There are usually one or two answers that are clearly wrong. Eliminate those first.
bullet If a question stumps you, don't labor over it. Mark it as "maybe" and go on, then come back to it later.
bullet As you go through the test, you may come across information in one question that can help you answer another question. Use it.
bullet For the tougher questions, once you eliminate choices that you know are not right, look at the choices that are reasonable and carefully compare the similarities and differences between them. This may help you select the best answer.
bullet Take your time. There are no extra points for finishing first!
bullet Something in the exam room may trigger your memory – look around. The suspended ceiling may remind you about plenums, etc.
bullet Don't try to cheat by looking at someone else's screen. There may be different versions of the exam, and the same questions may not appear in the same order on each exam (i.e., question 10 on one exam may be question 68 on another, or not appear at all.)
bullet Make sure you answer all the questions. Remember that only correct answers count, so "no answer" is automatically wrong. You have a 25% chance of answering the question correctly even if you have no idea of the correct answer.
bullet Remember that you can get 30 questions wrong and still pass, so do your best but remember that each question is worth only one point!
bullet Make sure your personal needs don't require you to leave before you want to – use the restroom, have a snack, drink some coffee, etc. before you enter the exam room.
bullet Dress in layers; you never know what the temperature is going to be like in the test room. In June, it was chilly.

After you believe you've done the best you can, press the "finished" icon. You will then be asked if you're sure you've finished. If you press "yes", your score will be shown immediately on the screen. Assuming you passed (70% or more), you will be asked if you want your certificate immediately, press "yes". In a few minutes you will receive your certificate.

 If your prior experience is acceptable, a week or so later you will be mailed your certificate of completion (suitable for framing). This is not a Certificate of Fitness. You will still have to pass your on-site test at the building you're to be a FSD of. You are allowed one year to schedule this test with the Hi-Rise Unit (718-999-2559/60).

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FSD Home Page Study Guide, including study materials at the FDNY

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Copyright 2000-05, Ralph G. Johnson. All rights reserved.