How to become a firefighter: the physical test

While firefighting itself tends to be very similar from community to community, the courts have ruled that each municipality must analyze its own needs and develop a firefighter physical test designed to meet those needs.

In general, the firefighter physical test will be designed to measure your ability to perform typical firefighting tasks. You are expected to wear typical firefighter clothing or gear of similar weight, which is generally 50-75 pounds.

If you want to score well, you will need to be physically fit and familiar with the events in which you will be judged. You should obtain as much information as possible about the physical exam requirements.

a good first step

A good first step is to determine if there will be a training program for the test. You should also find out if you can practice on the actual equipment that will be used in the test. If the answer is yes, then you have to make a lot of effort to get to the training site and experience the test event. Many municipalities are using the CPAT or Candidate Physical Abilities Test.

Those cities and counties that use this test typically give candidates the opportunity to watch a film about how the exam is structured and what you need to do to run the events effectively. So, if your municipality uses the CPAT, be sure to arrange to see the film and be prepared to take notes on proper techniques and actions.

Before taking the physical, find out from the testing agency, fire department, or human resources department what restrictions may be imposed for each event.

Questions to try to get answers about possible restrictions

How will the test be scored? Will it be a pass/fail test or will there be a grade?

Will there be a set time limit to complete? Your quiz may have a total time to complete all events or a specific time for each event. The CPAT, for example, has a total time for all events: 10 minutes and 20 seconds. On the other hand, the New York City Physical Abilities Test has a specific time slot for each of its eight individual events.

If the test is a speed test, what time do you need to achieve to get the highest score? How long can it take to get a passing score?

What type of personal protective equipment should you wear? Or will this equipment be excluded from use during the test?

How can you know the beginning and end of each event? In other words, what constitutes a successful completion of each test event?

Finally, will he be allowed a rest period between events? And if so, how long will the rest be?

typical events

While you may think that you can prepare for the physical exam by doing exercises like pull-ups, weightlifting, push-ups, etc., this is not the case. The exercise program you undertake to prepare for a firefighter physical needs to prepare your body for twisting, bending, jumping, running, lifting and carrying heavy weights.

Although this exam varies from one municipality to another, there are some events in which it is almost certain that you will be evaluated. 10 of them are listed below. However, please note that these are just summaries of events. For full descriptions, you’ll need a book like Firefighter Exams by Barron or Firefighter Written Exams – Physical Exams by Robert Andriuolo.

1. Transport of hoses/tools. This event tests your ability to lift a fire hose weighing about 50 pounds from an elevated position or off the ground and then carry it a distance of 75 to 250 feet. You may also need to climb stairs while carrying the hose.

2. Hose Drag/Hose Line Advance This test is used to measure your ability to drag (move) the hose a distance of 50 to 200 feet.

3. Advance of the hose. The hose advance test is to measure your ability to work and pull a fire hose in a confined space of 50 feet or more. It is to simulate the movement of a hose in a fire area.

4. Hose coupling. In this test, you will connect a female hose coupling to a male hose coupling on a fire hydrant while she is standing. This is to measure its ability to connect a hose to a fire hydrant or other hose fitting. You may need to do this several times and use a 25 pound pack while testing.

5. Hose Lift – This test, which measures your ability to pull the hose out of the building or to an upper floor, is usually done while standing. The event is considered complete when the hose reaches a designated end point. You may need to use an air tank during this test.

6. Stair climb/high rise event. The purpose of this event is to test your ability to climb stairs while carrying firefighting equipment such as a hose, nozzle, hand tools, etc. It may include carrying hand tools, a spare air cylinder, or a kinked hose. You will need to climb approximately three to six flights of stairs to a designated stopping point while carrying equipment that will weigh approximately 25 pounds. You may need to do this two or three times and use an air bag while you test.

7. Stair climb. This event is designed to measure your ability to climb a 20- to 24-foot ladder. You may need to use an air pack or carry a tool while doing this event. You may also need to get off the stairs at the top, walk around the ladder, go back up, and then walk down the ladder.

8. Ladder lifting. This test measures your ability to lift a ladder from a horizontal position to a vertical position. You will pick up one end of a 20- to 24-foot ladder and then lift it from horizontal to vertical, using a wall or other fixed point for support.

9. Staircase/elevator extension. The ladder lift/extension test is to measure your ability to apply a pulling force to raise the flight section of an extension ladder. You will stand and pull a pull rope down until the ladder extends three to six rungs. You may also need to go down the ladder.

10. Ladder carry/equipment carry. In this test, you will start from a standing position and lift a ladder 10 to 20 feet, then carry it a specified distance to a pre-designated end point. The purpose of the test is to simulate lifting a portable ladder from the side of a fire apparatus and then transporting it to where it will be used. You will then place the ladder on a shelf or on the floor. You will then lift the equipment off the floor, a cabinet, or a shelf and transport it approximately 150 feet around a loop, returning to the starting position, where you will place the equipment on the floor or back in the cabinet on the shelf. .

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