1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default A quick question

    I am currently applying for full-time positions in the fire service, and I have one quick question. Unlike most people, my concerns have nothing to do with the written tests or oral boards. I test well, and was an english major in college, so I can communicate at an above-average level. My concerns are more in the areas of my weight.

    From the agility tests that I have seen, I know that I can perform most tests in the alotted amount of time. I have enough experience from firefighter I training to know what the desired tasks expected of a recruit will require. However, I have struggled with my weight off and on since I graduated with high school. Most departments I have seen do not publish height and weight standards, and while I am by no means obese, I am definitely overweight. Should I hold off on the employment process until I can cut some weight, or should I press on, since I know that I can perform the duties required on most agility tests I have seen?

    Also, in your areas, what are required on the agility tests? The ones I have seen locally are all based on actual fireground activities, i.e. raising and lower ladders, carrying equipment, victim drags, hoisting hoses, etc. Is this what I should expect everywhere, or in some areas do they require more of a physical fitness test that includes distance running, etc?


    Sean Bulger

  2. #2
    Rabble rouser
    Kobersteen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Fairfax County (VA) Fire & Rescue Dept.


    I would say apply. If you are confident that you can perform, go for it.

    Here in Fairfax County we use the CPAT (http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fr/recr...hPictures2.pdf) for our entry physical test, which if you know proper fireground techniques, it helps ALOT.
    Member IACOJ - Building crust and full of lust...

    "It's okay to to scared, just don't be chicken." - Clark

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Default Apply

    I would also say apply to as many places as possible. All you have to do is read the job announcement and ask the department if they have height weight ratio requiremnts. I currently work for a department that has these requirements but there is a clause that says that if you are above the weight set you have to test at below I think 15% body fat. All you have to do is ask the department. They will tell you. There are many departments that do not have requirements all you have to do is pass the physical, and medical and you can be hired. There is no harm in trying.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with the poor timid spirits, who know neither victory nor defeat." FDR

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    Many of us struggle with our weight. The difference is that you are applying to become a firefighter. If you are a serious candidate you will lose the weight. At this point it is simply not a priority to you.

    Let me tell you LOUD AND CLEAR that you are making a bad impression on the oral board if you come in out of shape. The physical agility tests are a joke. My wife could pass them.

    These are the MINIMUM requirements. Ever wonder why there is such a high failure rate in the recruit academy? Itís because the majority of applicants are not in PRIME physical condition.

    You are applying for a firefighter position for godsakes. Lose the weight!

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Default Paul is Right

    Just because you passed the physical agility doesnít mean you are ready for the fire academy or you will be a good firefighter. Whether you agree or not, the physical agility has been watered down to be politically correct. Departments know this. So, the training division is going to put you through the wringer to make sure you can do the job before you go on line. If you canít keep up they will wash you out. You have to maintain good physical conditioning during your probation and through out your career. It can be hard getting this job. It can become difficult keeping it!

    Showing up at the academy is not the time to start getting ready. You need to be in shape and hit the ground running. Itís tough enough getting a job. Keeping it can be a challenge. If you are let go by one department, it is going to be difficult if not impossible to get another department to take a chance on you.

    This from Mark: Just to add onto captain Bob's input....one of my classroom instructors (who also happens to be one of the PT instructors for the part-time academy) is such a physical fitness guru that she continues on every week with stories of how she has to "write up" recruits because of poor aerobic/anaerobic performance early in the academy (mind you these recruits did well on the Biddle). At this point I already get the point that if I'm going to fail physically, the time is now rather than in the academy. But what really got me down was when she mentioned that she knew a bunch of firefighters who had to be let go by a department after working a few years because they were no longer "aerobically fit" for the job. Where do they go now? What do they do? Just like captain Bob quoted, "You have to maintain good physical conditioning during your probation and through out your career. It can be hard getting this job. It can become difficult keeping it!"

    I struggle to gain enough weight to meet the minimum to get hired. No one can tell me loosing weight is harder. It seems everyone gains weight during their career. I weight 35 pounds more now. I would love to give back that 35 pounds back.

    Here are some of the incidents where candidates were let go:

    A candidate shows up at an academy not in shape even though he knows they will run 3 miles a day, he canít. Result. They run him into the ground the first week.

    Another recruit knew he had to lose weight for the academy. He did not reach his goal. His weight caught up with him trying to hump hose up the tower with a SCBA. Result: Got his marching orders because he didnít have the wind to complete this tough academy. Good news again. Regrouped, lost the weight, got in shape and convinced a department with an easier academy he would be an asset.

    More on the agility here: http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...52&sectionId=8
    Last edited by CaptBob; 02-26-2006 at 08:21 PM.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire ďCaptain BobĒ Articles here:

    Fire "Captain Bob"


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