Article on the current class.. Mentions huge failing rate but no mention on changing the next class or trying to rush a class immediately after this one.
Court-ordered FDNY class flaming out
By BRAD HAMILTON
Last Updated: 6:45 AM, March 3, 2013
They’re New York’s Fattest.
The Fire Department’s new class of recruits — all current city EMTs or paramedics who want to become firefighters — are flaming out fast, failing the Fire Academy in record numbers, according to FDNY sources.
As many as 30 of the 318 probationary trainees — who are older, weaker and fatter than those in previous years — have already quit, and more are expected to drop out before their 18-week course on Randalls Island concludes in May, the sources said.
During the first week of the academy, 166 of the probies flunked the physical-fitness test — which requires four pull-ups, 30 push-ups in one minute, 30 sit-ups in one minute and a 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes.
Recruits are required to pass the physical-fitness test in order to graduate.
“There are a lot of people saying this is the worst FDNY class in the department’s history,” said a source.
The oversized and under-performing candidates will be given remedial physical training. They’ll also catch a break on the running requirements, according to one high-ranking FDNY insider.
“They’re allowing them to do it in 13 or 14 minutes,” he said.
The Academy class, the first in the FDNY since 2008, was formed after a federal judge forced the department to become more racially diverse, finding that its recruitment practices discriminated against minorities.
So FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano excluded applicants from the general population for this Academy class, limiting the pool to medics, whose ranks include a higher percentage of minorities than is found in firehouses.
This year’s class is the most diverse ever — 42 percent are black, Hispanic or Asian, and six are women.
But they were rated only on a written exam. In years past, applicants had to score high on both a written and a physical test.
About 870 medics took the written test and were ranked by score. But 300 were dropped after failing a cardiovascular stress test on a stair-climbing machine, sources said.
More flunked out when they failed to complete an obstacle course in time, failing at such tasks as dragging a hose and a weighted dummy, carrying equipment, and raising a ladder. Insiders note this Candidate Physical Ability Test is less challenging than the one required for graduation.
So instead of plucking the cream of the EMT crop, the department “had to keep going farther down the list,” a source said.
“On the open exam for the general public, only candidates who score a 97 are likely to be called,” said the source. “But because so many of this class flunked their StairMaster, [scores] went as low as 72.”
Veteran firefighters are fuming over the quality of the new recruits.
“Seems to me that the EMS Promotional Candidates came to work unprepared and half of them out of shape,” posted “Duke” on firefighter-complaint Web site FDNY Rant.
“Fatbodies!” wrote “queenstl.” A retired city medic wasn’t surprised by the flabby failures.
“EMS people are fat — we’re like the AV squad at school,” he told The Post. “You sit in an ambulance for 8 to 16 hours a day. When are you supposed to exercise?”
A quartermaster was overheard saying about the new class, “I’ve never given out so many size-38 pants before.”
The department’s own EMS Academy head, Lt. David Russell, admitted in a 2011 report that even when FDNY recruits from EMS got extra help, “the overall fitness of these recruits is still poor.”
Cassano seemed to acknowledge this when he told the class, “The next 18 weeks will be the most difficult of your life and will push you like never before.”
The 318 entered the academy on Jan. 15 — and quickly began dropping out. Four left on Jan. 30, including a 29-year-old from Brooklyn who notched the highest written-exam score, a 100.
At least one man left because he didn’t realize he’d be taking a pay cut.
A first-year firefighter makes $39,370, more than $4,000 a year less than the paramedic’s starting salary of $43,690. EMTs start at $31,981.
FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon acknowledged the losses. “We’ve got people dropping out — every day it changes, almost. I don’t have exact numbers.”
He claimed the rate was “about the same as it usually is,” then conceded it might be “slightly higher” this year. Yet he defended the fitness of the class.
They’ll also catch a break on the running requirements, according to one high-ranking FDNY insider.
“They’re allowing them to do it in 13 or 14 minutes,” he said.
Just curious if this part is true. If it is then that is sad. Everybody promotional, OC, PHs knew in October when he list came out that they needed to start training. Anyone with no cardio can run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes. Not trying to be rude or disrespectful but that's how I feel. In less than 3 months I helped my brother, who couldn't even run a mile without walking, run 2 miles in 13:57. It's all in how hard you train and how bad you want it.
I don't care if is a promotion, someone who scores less than a 90 on this test from ems is just as unqualified as someone off the OC list who also scored the same.
What a joke this current class is. Not only are they failing physically but academically. I guess it is not an instructor issue as one member stated on this forum. Furthermore, some are evem droppinv out based om salary differences. Yeah, these guys really want to be firefighters. While at my intake interview last week, I hear guys stating it is time to work out since they havent started to prepare themselves physically.
I'd like to point out to those that can't read between the line that the only official source quoted for this story was spokesman Frank Gribbon. Everything else is unnamed sources or quotes from the fdnyrant. The quotes pulled Lt Russell and Commissioner Cassano were both made in the past. They don't even know exactly how many people have quit, and there's no mention of the fact we were told 10-15% of the class would drop out. We're currently at 8%.
I'm not trying to bad mouth anyone in the academy but everyone knew the FDNY was testing back in July of 2011 when they announced the test. I just think people were lazy and thought they could wait last minute to prepare physically.
If the academy does start July 29th that gives 4 months and 25 days from today. There should be no excuses
If you haven't started training START NOW!!
This is Amazing!!! and we havent even gotten to the priority hires yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a Fckin joke
“But because so many of this class flunked their StairMaster, [scores] went as low as 72.”
I dont think anyone has realized what this means... The lowest score on exam 2500 was a 72. So the info I got from the firefighter who is mentoring me threw the process(a neighbor), told me they had processed the entire list of EMS guys was true!!! OC guys WILL be getting called in relatively high numbers in my opinion, or numbers higher than most of us were previously thinking
For what it is worth Just heard that the first wave of Medicals started for Priority hires.....and that every single one of them failed
A few things I thought after reading the article: first, I can't imagine the next class is ALL Promo and PH. There will be serious backlash if two straight classes come out with seriously subpar physical performance. Second, journalists and others are clearly watching the forums, so let's continue to be on best behavior and only say things here that we'd be comfortable showing up in an article like this. And lastly, I'm about as old as a candidate can be - without the age extension for 6019 candidates I could not have taken this exam. But F THAT - I don't want any flexibility on physical training, running times, push ups, pull ups, anything. I'm as busy as anyone else (taking time out on Sunday morning to check the board from a day full of work) but I still have time to fit exercise into my day 4 or 5 times a week. I'll run that 1.5 miles in under 11. I'll bang out 20 pull-ups. I don't think I, or any of the PHs or the promos, should be cut any slack.