Physical Tests

The National Firefighter Physical Tests form part of the selection process, you will be required to undertake physical tests which aim to assess your level of fitness, strength and manual dexterity as well as your level of confidence in simulated exercises.

The following tests are designed to reflect operational practice and may change from time to time. Candidates will be asked to complete a Medical Screening Form prior to undertaking many of these tests, this is to ensure that individuals are fit enough to undertake them.

The 6 National Firefighter Physical Tests

  1. Ladder Climb
  2. Casualty Evacuation
  3. Ladder Lift / Lower Simulation
  4. Enclosed Spaces
  5. Equipment Assembly
  6. Equipment Carry

Ladder Climb

This is a test of confidence whilst working at height. Candidates must demonstrate the correct ‘leg lock’ at ground level before commencing the test. Wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including a harness, candidates must ascend a fully extended 13.5 metre ladder to approximately second storey height and demonstrate a ‘leg lock’.

The candidate will then be required to lean back with arms outstretched and describe a symbol shown on the floor. The candidate will then descend.

Casualty Evacuation

This is a test of lower and upper body strength. Candidates in full PPE will be required to drag a 55kg casualty walking backwards (guided by an assessor) around a 30-metre course.

Ladder Lift / Lower Simulation

Again, this is a test of upper and lower body strength. Candidates in full PPE will be required to raise a bar 75 cm off the ground to a height of 182cm and back down to the 75 cm support. The weight of the bar at the lifting point will start at 5kg. The maximum load to be added is 15kg.

Enclosed Space

This is a test of confidence, agility and possible claustrophobia whilst working in an enclosed space. Candidates in full PPE and wearing a Breathing Apparatus facemask will be required to negotiate a measured crawlway within a set time. Half the route will be with clear vision and the other half with obscured vision. You will be required to perform specific tasks during this test.

Equipment Assembly

This is a test of manual dexterity. Candidates will be required to assemble and disassemble an item of equipment and follow the colour coded diagrams provided.

Equipment Carry

This is a test of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina. Candidates will be required to:

  • Drag a hose reel from an appliance for 25 metres, then jog back 25 metres
  • Pick up and carry 2 coiled 70 mm hoses for 100 metres
  • Carry 1 coiled 70 mm hose at chest height for 25 metres, and then jog back 75 metres
  • Pick up and carry a 2.4 metre suction hose and basket strainer for 100 metres, then jog back 100 metres
  • Pick up and carry a simulated ‘Light Portable Pump’ for 100 metres (weighing approximately 30kgs).

In each of the above tests you will be given full instructions and will be required to complete them within a specified time.

Important Note: Many fire and rescue services have changed the physical tests over the past few years and there now appears to be no set standard. Although at the time of writing this article, many have returned to the original tests as detailed above. Its also worthy to note that many fire and rescue services now carry out “Taster Days” which allow you to go along and have a go at some of the above tests. Some fire and rescue services have actually only recruited from those who have attended, so worth getting yourself booked on one if offered.

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