Firefighting can be a physically demanding and hazardous activity with potential for exposure to high physiological and environmental thermal loads. To ensure effective and safe operational performance an appropriate level of physical fitness is essential.
Your level of physical fitness will be determined by measuring your performance during a number of physical and practical firefighting tasks (National Firefighter Selection Tests NFST) which are detailed below.
In addition you may be required to perform an ‘aerobic’ fitness test to predict your aerobic capacity (in mlsO2/kg/min). This allows us to assess your ability to perform exercise for longer periods which is important for safe firefighting. The minimum requirement for candidates at recruitment is 42.3 mls/O2/kg/min (equivalent to level 8.8 on a bleep test).
If you progress to medical you may be required to demonstrate this level of fitness again on a Chester Step test. The FireFit program has been designed to help with reaching the required level for the National firefighter selection tests.
You may be required to undertake the Job Related Aerobic Fitness (Bleep) Test to a minimum level of 8.8
The components of the Physical and Practical Assessment are:
Enclosed Space Test
You will need to combine confidence, agility and flexibility while negotiating a crawl-way to pass the test successfully. There is only one way through the crawl-way, forward, right, left, up or down and there are no doors to open. You will start the test wearing a face mask which allows clear vision. However, on completion of the test, your mask will be obscured and you will be required to return along the same route. You should be able to complete these tests without jeopardising your safety and well-being.
Equipment Assembly Test
This test is designed to assess manual dexterity. You will need to assemble and then disassemble a piece of equipment (a hydraulic tool which is used by the Fire and Rescue Service). Before you commence the test, an Instructor will demonstrate the correct assembly of the equipment. You will also have a diagram illustrating correct assembly.
You will be shown how to climb the ladder and how to apply a ‘leg lock’. You will then be allowed to practice the leg lock. You will climb the ladder to the specified height. At that point, you will use the leg lock to secure yourself to the ladder, remove your hands from the ladder and lean back, looking over your shoulder to identify an object which is being held by the instructor at ground level. When you have identified the object, you will be told to put your hands back on the ladder and release the leg lock. You will then be instructed to descend the ladder. You will need to show confidence and apply the correct technique to climb the ladder.
You will be required to carry standard firefighting equipment over a set 25 metre course for a total distance of 550 metres. You will need to combine aerobic endurance, upper and lower body strength and muscular endurance.
Casualty Evacuation Test
You will be required to drag a 55kg mannequin/dummy simulating a casualty evacuation for a distance of 30 metres.
Ladder Lift Simulator Test
You will need to combine upper and lower body strength and co-ordination to lift a ladder over your head to the required height and lower it safely and under control. The approximate weight of the ladder is 26-30kg.
Further information on the Physical and Practical Fitness tests can be viewed here.
Please note you will not be required to undergo the Ladder extension test.