Firefighting is more than a career. It's a passion that most smoke-eaters share. You study and drill endlessly, preparing for that one moment where life or death could possibly hang in the balance, but how can you be sure you're physically up to the task?
Have no fear, I've prepared a simple Fitness Evaluation (administered at home or in the firehouse) that will give you a good idea where you stand. Our evaluation starts off with a written exam that includes six yes or no questions.
Part 1: Written Evaluation
- Do you routinely get out of breath going up and down multiple flights of stairs? If yes, adjustment in fitness program indicated (focus cardiovascular endurance)
- Have you noticed an increase in weight, or have you clothes begun to fit a little snugly over the last few years? If yes, adjustment in diet and/or fitness program indicated
- Have you lost any muscular endurance or ability to carry out routine tasks (that were once doable) on the fireground? If yes, adjustment in fitness program indicated (focus power, muscular strength and endurance)
- Do you experience any unexplained physical symptoms at or after fire duty or training (ie: dizziness, nausea, weakness in arms or legs)? If yes, see your doctor before exercising, and notify your department about your symptoms
- Have you had a check up with your physician within the last year? If no, see your doctor before exercising or attempting this program
- Did you know half of all firefighter fatalities are heart attack related? If no, it's time to give yourself an education on the reality on the extremes of firefighting and how you can best prepare yourself
Part 2: Physical Aptitude
The FDNY tests it probies at 30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, and four pull-ups. It also asks it newly hired members to complete a 1.5 mile run in 12 minutes. Certain aspects of the test are easy for some and hard for others. There's also a graded step mill that's considered part of the initial medical exam (heart rate is measured).