Fire Service Entry Requirements.
The physical requirements to join the fire service include 6 tests:
- Ladder climb - This tests confidence at a height. The person doing the tests will have to perform a 'leg lock' correctly at ground level before the test. The candidate will be wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including a harness. Then they will have to climb the ladder which is fully extended at a length of 13.5 meters to roughly second story height and perform a 'leg lock'. The candidate will then proceed to lean back with their arms stretched out and describe a symbol displayed on the ground. They then will descend.
- Casualty Evacuation - This test is designed to show upper and lower body strength. Wearing full PPE, the candidate will have to drag a 55kg casualty backwards around a 30 meter course (guided by an assessor).
- Ladder lift/lower simulation - Again this test is designed to show upper and lower body strength. The person performing the test will be wearing full PPE and will be expected to raise a bar 75cm off the ground to a height of 182cm and lower it back down to the 75cm support. The weight of the bar starts at 5kg but weight can be added on, the maximum that can be added is 15kg.
- Enclosed space - This is a test of confidence, agility and claustrophobia whilst working in a small/enclosed space. Candidates in full PPE and wearing a breathing apparatus will be required to arrange a deliberate crawlway within a certain time limit. Half the route will be easily seen by the candidate, the other half with obscured vision. They will also be expected to perform distinct tasks throughout the test.
- Equipment assembly - This is a test of manual dexterity. The candidate will be expected to assemble and disassemble a piece of equipment and follow the colour coded diagram given.
- Equipment carry - This is a test of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina. The candidates will be expected to:
- Drag a hose reel from an appliance for 25 meters then jog back 25 meters.
- Pick up and carry two coiled 70mm hoses for 100 meters.
- Carry 1 coiled 70mm at chest height for 25 meters and then jog back 75 meters.
- Pick up and carry a 2.4 meter suction hose and basket strainer for 100 meters then jog back 100 meters.
- Pick up and carry a simulated 'Light Portable Pump' for 100 meters (weight approximately 30kg).
Once the candidates are nearing the end of the selection process, they will be asked to attend a medical, where they will be examined by the fire and rescue service doctor and their medical records received from their GP. They will also be invited to complete a questionnaire covering their medical history and will then be expected to cover a series of tests. These tests consist of:
- Hearing Test - The candidate will be seated in a sound proof booth wearing headphones, and will be asked to press a button when they hear a series of sounds.
- Step Test - They will be required to step up and down on a box whilst their heart rate is being monitored and the rate step deliberately increases.
- Lung Function - The person participating in this test will be asked to blow hard and long down a hollow tube until their lung capacity is fully exhaled. A reading is taken and assessed.
- Physical Stamina - Candidates will be required to squat on a machine designed to test their back and thigh strength. They will then have to pull a particularized measurement.
- General Tests - They will finally see the doctor who will test their reflexes and examine their questionnaire with them.
- Chest X-Ray - Some FRS's will send the candidates to the local hospital for a chest x-ray.
A candidate hoping to join the fire service will need good knowledge of physics and building construction for fire, rescue and safety issues. They will also need to be knowledgeable in the subject maths as firefighters perform drug calculations and hydraulic calculations. Knowledge of chemistry and environmental ecology may be proved useful when firefighters respond to hazardous material incidents.