Testing - Firefighter/Medic Recruit
The Firefighter/Medic Recruit testing process covers four areas.
- Written Exam
- Physical Abilities Test (PAT)
- Structured Oral Process (SOP) Interview
- Candidate Profile Summary (CPS) Interview
Additionally, you may be required to attend an interview panel.
Physical Abilities Test – What to Expect (Newport News)
The PAT is composed of five events each candidate must execute consecutively. Two official timers/proctors will be with each candidate throughout the test. The PAT is a Pass/Fail phase of the selection process. Successful candidates will complete the course in 10 minutes and 30 seconds or less. These candidates will be eligible to advance to the next phase in the selection process. Those candidates unable to complete the course or taking longer than the 10 minutes and 30 seconds will be disqualified from continuing in the process.
Candidates will be required to sign an Assumption of Risk and Acknowledgment form prior to participation in the PAT.
The two areas most affecting the success of candidates in the PAT are:
- Upper body strength
- Cardiovascular stamina
It is in your best interest to consider adopting or incorporating exercises likely to improve these areas into your physical conditioning regimen.
You are encouraged to dress comfortably for physical exertion, including athletic or other non-slip footwear. NNFD will outfit each candidate in turnout clothing (helmet, coat, gloves) and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) backpack.
Aerial Ladder ClimbSimulates: Climbing an aerial ladder to make a rescue or to fight fire.
Tests: Ability to work from heights.
The candidate shall climb a fully extended aerial ladder (approximately 75′), touch the top rung, and descend the ladder. The candidate will wear a Life Safety belt with a manned belay line attached.
Hose PullSimulates: Pulling hose or equipment to upper floors at a fire scene.
Tests: Hand-eye coordination; control of repetitive muscle use; lifting strength.
The candidate shall proceed to the assigned deck of the training tower. Standing behind a clearly marked line, the candidate shall begin pulling a piece of utility rope attached to two 50-foot sections of 3” hose over a hose roller. The event is over when the first 50′ section has been pulled over the hose roller.
Stretcher/Backboard CarrySimulates: Removal of a patient from the third floor of an apartment when the elevator is out of service.
Tests: Upper body strength; lifting strength; balance; awareness of body position and movement.
The candidate shall proceed from the Hose Pull directly to the Backboard Carry. A 150 lb. (approximately) rescue dummy will be strapped to the backboard, simulating a victim. The candidate will be positioned at the head of the backboard for the first half of the carry and assisted by a fully trained member of the Newport News Fire Department. At the appropriate stairway landing, the candidate and assistant will trade positions and the candidate will conclude the event carrying the foot of the backboard across a clearly marked line on the ground just outside the training tower.
Simulated RescueSimulates: Dragging or carrying a victim to safety.
Tests: Upper and lower body strength.
The candidate shall proceed from the backboard carry to the simulated rescue. The candidate shall drag or carry the rescue dummy in a straight line for a distance of 80′.
Joist WalkSimulates: Walking, at an emergency scene, on attic or unfinished joist construction, while carrying equipment.
Tests: Balance; lifting strength; awareness of body position and movement.
The candidate shall proceed from the Simulated Rescue directly to the Joist Walk. The candidate will lift two medical jump bags and walk the full length (approximately 18′) of the joists, turn around in the prescribed area, and walk back to the start/finish area. If the candidate steps off the joist or uses the cross beams, a five second penalty is assessed for each infraction.
At the conclusion of the PAT, the candidate will be assisted in removing the turnout clothing and SCBA. Water will be readily available. At the Field Coordinator's table, candidates will receive official times as confirmed and recorded by the proctors, obtain Pass or Fail standing, and sign an acknowledgment form.
Physical Abilities Test – What to Expect (Hampton)
The timed portion of the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) is a continuously-timed test comprised of 6 tasks representing physical demands that are directly drawn from the data and the associated information noted above. Please recall the tasks selected for the test are intended to represent a broad range of the physical dimensions of work required by the job of firefighter. However, the tasks themselves, though often similar to the actual work on the fire-ground, are not intended to precisely replicate specific fire-ground tasks or tactical requirements. They are intended to reflect the physical demands of fire suppression work as much as is reasonable, safe, and practical. In other words, the tasks selected are intended to assess the physical (functional) capabilities of firefighters and firefighter candidates relative to the performance demands of the physical requirements associated with the business necessity of fire suppression work in Hampton, VA. All PAT testing will be completed in full turn-outs and a weighted self-contained breathing apparatus. The applicant must complete all 6 tasks in less than 5 minutes and 17 seconds. The 6 tasks for the HFR PAT are as follows.
From the start line, on the word "go" subject picks up a 20-foot, 53-pound aluminum straight ladder from its position on the ground. Holding the ladder in a manner that prevents it from touching the ground at any time, subject walks with the ladder approximately 50 feet toward the training tower. Upon reaching the tower, subject hangs the ladder on brackets secured to the external stairway railing (the midpoint of the ladder's width will be at roughly 62 inches above the ground). Once the ladder is secure, subject turns to the right and walks roughly 50 feet to the hose drag task.
Subject approaches the hose at the nozzle end upon reaching the nozzle. Subject drops to all fours, grabs the charged 1.75-inch line, and advances it crawling forward 25 feet. At that point the subject stands and continues advancing the line forward another 50 feet (for a total drag of 75 feet). When the nozzle crosses the finish line, subject drops the hose and walks to the forcible entry task, the Keiser Force Machine.
Upon reaching the Keiser Force Machine, subject mounts the device, picks up the shot mallet and hammers the metal ingot until it has moved 5 feet. Once the ingot has moved 5 feet (timer will yell "done"), subject drops the shot mallet, dismounts the machine, and walks to the stair climb task.
At the bottom of the internal tower stairway, subject picks up a 67-pound high rise pack using the standard department pack and carry bag. The subject may either use the shoulder strap or carry the pack under the arm. Subject climbs to the 4th floor of the tower (the climb is 3 stories; 1st floor is at ground level). Upon reaching the 4th floor landing, subject drops the pack and descends the stairs to the ground. Subject exits the tower and walks to the confined space / barrier surmount / search crawl task.
At the crawl task start line, subject drops to all fours such that his/her hands are on the start line and crawls forward through the out and back L-shaped course. Subject crawls approximately 10 feet to a barrier and proceeds under the barrier, continues crawling forward to a traffic cone, and makes a 90° turn around the cone. Subject then crawls an additional 12 feet to a 2nd cone and executes a 180° turn around that cone to crawl back the way he/she came. On approaching the barrier the 2nd time, subject climbs over the barrier, returns to all fours on the other side, and crawls to the task finish line for a total distance of 60 feet. When the subject's hands cross the finish line, subject stands and walks to the victim rescue task.
Subject approaches the roughly 170-pound rescue mannequin from the head end and, using a double underarm hook method, lifts the mannequin's body off the ground (only the mannequin's heels may remain on the ground, depending on the subject's height). Once the mannequin is lifted, subject walks backward, carrying the mannequin 50 feet to finish line. The test ends when the mannequin's feet cross the finish line.