This program is designed to evaluate the physical work capacities of healthy, physically active individuals. Each test requires a maximal effort. All of the tests are completed while wearing firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE) that weighs approximately 22 kg (50 lb). This ensemble includes: helmet, flashhood, gloves, pants, boots, jacket and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). You will not breathe from the SCBA, but you must carry it. For safety during the treadmill test, running shoes are substituted for firefighting boots. After completing the treadmill test, you will rest for 60 minutes before starting an orientation to the job-related performance tests. The orientation to the job related tests consists of a “walk-through” session to practice each of the tasks. This will take approximately 30 minutes and will familiarize you with testing procedures and provides a suitable warm-up for the demanding tests that follow. Each test is followed by a rest period of 3 minutes for recovery and hydration. You are not permitted to leave the testing area or remove the PPE during the rest periods. The tests are described briefly in the following sections:
Aerobic fitness will be measured during a progressive exercise test to near exhaustion on a treadmill. After a standardized 5-minute warm-up, you will walk at 3.5 mph and 10% grade for 8 minutes. In order to pass the aerobic fitness standard, you must complete the 8-min stage at 3.5 mph and 10% grade.
You will drag a charged (full of water) 38 mm (1.5inch) hose a distance of 45 m (125’). Three 15 m (50') lengths of hose are "snaked" behind the starting line. The nozzle is held over the shoulder and you advance to the finish line as quickly as possible (running is not permitted). This test assesses lower body strength and power and must be completed safely in less than 32 sec.
You will pull a bundle of hose weighing approximately 56 kg (123 lb) a distance of 15 m (50’) over a smooth concrete floor using a rope. This task is repeated 3 times. During this test, you must stand still and pull the hose bundle towards you using 16 mm (5/8") rope. This test assesses upper body strength, power, and completed safely in less than 102 sec.
You will use a 3.6 kg (8 lb) "dead blow" sledge hammer to move a forcible entry machine against 1200 psi as rapidly as possible. This test assesses muscle strength, power and endurance, particularly in the upper body and must be completed safely in less than 45 sec.
You will drag a mannequin weighing 68.2 kg (150 lb) a total distance of 30 m (the mannequin lying "face-up" on the floor. You will lift the mannequin and walk backwards for 15 m, turn around a traffic cone and return to the start line as quickly as possible. This test assesses muscle strength and endurance and must be completed safely in less than 49 sec.
You will climb a 7.3 m (24’) ladder to the 10th rung and return to the floor as quickly as possible. This task will be repeated five times. This test assesses muscle strength, endurance, and anaerobic capacity and must be completed safely in less than 108 sec.
You will carry small (18 kg or 40 lb) and large (36 kg or 80 lb) vehicle extrication tools (the “Jaws of Life”) a total distance of 30 m (100’). In addition, you will lift and hold the 18 kg tool in specific positions that simulate the work required to remove a vehicle door. This test is designed to evaluate the strength and endurance required to lift, carry and use heavy tools in rescue situations. This test must be completed safely in less than 270 sec.
In order to do your best, you should come to the laboratory on your testing day well nourished and well rested. You should not do strenuous exercise on the days immediately before your tests. Sleep well the night before and try to be as relaxed as possible. Avoid alcoholic beverages the day before and definitely on the day of your test. Do not smoke or drink beverages with caffeine (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cola, energy drinks, etc.) for at least two hours prior to your test. Do not eat for at least two hours before your test appointment. However, it is important to be well nourished and well hydrated. The tests are very demanding and most individuals are extremely tired at the end of each test. If your appointment is first thing in the morning, do not skip breakfast. You should eat a light meal (e.g., fruit, toast or cereal, and juice) about three hours before your test.