1. #1
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    Default Physical Agility Test

    For the past 5 years our training officeer has done a lack luster job to say the least, with him stepping down out of the postition I stepped up. I've put a training schedule together for the year and trying to make it interesting.
    One of the training dates is: SCBA and PPE donning timed along with a Physical Agility Test that is based off of a full-time FD CPAT test. You would have thought that I asked these FF's to give up their first born when I told them about the test. My question is I'm I out of line for this test!
    How many other FD's do this? As an entry preemployment and annual test?
    Please also give your FD's make up with your response just as a side note for me.

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    Just a question... Are you gonna make it a little more interesting by making them put their hoods on backwards and putting all their gear in a big pile in the middle and say "find yours and put it on" ? Sometimes this shakes it up a bit. Here in our town we have accountability tags which require the guys to do some physical agility stuff then have their vitals taken so that they can be recorded for further use by EMS on scenes. Not sure if you utilize this, but it might help.

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    Theoretically it is the volunteer service and there is a job for everyone... no matter what there physical condition is. However, the problem is when extremely unphysically fit people partake in physically strenuous activities, either in training or at an incident. This puts theres' and their fellow fire fighters' lives at risk.

    In my opinion, if you expect to act in physically strenuous activities in training and/or on the fireground then you should have no problem with getting yourself in shape for a physical agility test. I'm going to assume there are a lot more who don't agree though.

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    If you tried this at my dept,99.9998% sure you'd be laughed at,publicly stoned and probably booted off the dept for trying to pull something like this. As belder said theres a job for everyone. We got guys who are in good shape(mostly the military guys) and guys in not so good shape. But we get by rather well with what we have so nobody complains
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 06-05-2006 at 11:59 PM.
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    Being physically fit in our line of business (calling) is very important. As others here have stated, it might be hard to get your department to agree to these new tests.

    It sounds as though your department is similar to mine and probably similar to several others. You have some that are interested in being in the best shape possible to be able to carry out their firefighting duties. Then you have others that are more interested in support work (which I believe we cannot do without). Then you have the rest.

    I think that your best course may be to offer these new physical tests as an option to those that are interested. This will let them know where they stand in being able to survive on the fire scene. And who knows, maybe some of the others will soon want to join in.

    One last thought.....you may want to add an incentive to these tests. Maybe make it where they cannot be "Interior Firefighters" without it (just a thought). Anyway, congratulations on your new position and good luck with your new training regiment.
    Last edited by THEFIRENUT; 06-06-2006 at 04:06 AM.
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    True there is a job for everyone and we have staff that don't do interior work or are drivers for back reasons but has a whole all of the staff is to be able to perform any job duties as direct to them. With staffing levels being what they are during days you may not get to pick who will be your interior or truck crew. I've been looking around in my area and many FD's have some sort of annual and pre-employment test. Maybe my department is slow on the band wagon here, just wondering about the rest of the departments out there

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    I think it's a good idea, but what are the consequences if they don't pass? What if only 3 people pass. I would offer this as an optional test as already suggested. Maybe you could tell them that this is going to be mandatory within 6-12 months for interior firefighters. Give them some time to work toward getting into the shape they really should be in to do the job.

    I think it's actually a good idea. It will just be hard to implement.

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    Physical fitness should be a constant part of our lives. This is especially true for firefighters. The #1 cause of LODD's is heart attacks. Many of these can be prevented by better physical fitness or contributing factors can be detected early due to physical testing.

    I think annual physical agility tests are a good thing, though you may have to ease people into it. Does your department have a gym? Announce the testing early, then work with people to get them (back) into shape. My department worked with a nearby gym and had personal trainers come in and do an evaluation/workout plan for everyone. Maybe if you work it as "Get everyone in shape" versus "Pass this or you're out" people would be more inclined to participate.

    Another option would be to have the department particpate/organize a road race or other event. It's team building and getting folks in shape (and it's good PR).

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    Thanks to all for the input so far, to answer some of the questions. Is it a pass/fail test. No not at this time, I'm thinking more along the lines as an eye opener for the members that we need to be in shape to do this job. Also as one of the supporters of the test from my department stated, "I want to know who can pull my *** out of a fire." I know that opens a complete other can of worms. As for the gym at the station, Nope I brought it up for fire grant monies to the grant group and got shot down. The training test night is the 19th of June I'll post the results and the test layout on this thread after that.

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    I'll admit, I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to grants. Is there a limit to how much money one department can get from different grants?

    Are there different grants for a gym, and another for new SCBA, and another for new turnout gear? And if so, are you limited to how many of them you can get?

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    Why do you need a physical agility test? Don't you have to pass a physical
    each year to stay in the dept.? Also if it's handled in this way guys aren't going to be embarrassed if they don't do well.
    Some people don't have to be in the best of shape to get the job done either. I know of one guy who goes more than 200lbs and has better vitals after coming out of a burning building than the "physically fit" guy in the dept..
    So being "physically fit" may not be right for everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bunkers2big
    Why do you need a physical agility test? Don't you have to pass a physical
    each year to stay in the dept.? Also if it's handled in this way guys aren't going to be embarrassed if they don't do well.
    Some people don't have to be in the best of shape to get the job done either. I know of one guy who goes more than 200lbs and has better vitals after coming out of a burning building than the "physically fit" guy in the dept..
    So being "physically fit" may not be right for everyone.
    I disagree. Passing a physical and being able to walk up three flights of stairs with 80lbs of gear on without passing out are two completely different things.

    While most calls don't require too much physical activity, when you do need it, it is very important.

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    Having had a FF that used crutches I can tell you that there are jobs for all, he could drive and run the panel. This lets a more "mobile" person on the hose. Don't count a person out just because he can't do it all.
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MEDIC932
    For the past 5 years our training officeer has done a lack luster job to say the least, with him stepping down out of the postition I stepped up. I've put a training schedule together for the year and trying to make it interesting.
    One of the training dates is: SCBA and PPE donning timed along with a Physical Agility Test that is based off of a full-time FD CPAT test. You would have thought that I asked these FF's to give up their first born when I told them about the test. My question is I'm I out of line for this test!
    How many other FD's do this? As an entry preemployment and annual test?
    Please also give your FD's make up with your response just as a side note for me.

    As a new training officer myself I can agree with your frustrations. I also understand the problem of ppl who do not pass the test. Currently our department is considering something similar to a physical agility test. However, ours is going to be more directed at doing the job. Nothing is set in stone yet but we are strongly considering accepting the loss of some firefighters so that the future of our department can be better. One of the biggest things that I have been told by training officers around the country is to consider "minimum company standards". This standard needs to be set at the level which you want the "non-interior" type firefighters to be able to perform. Likewise, interior firefighters need to be able to demonstrate an ability to perform to a minimum standard on exterior operations. Currently the test we are considering closely resembles that of our state's basic FFI&II test. Hope this helps and remember, whatever you do make sure it is best for the dept. as a whole. Check with your local OSHA, NFPA, and State regulations and see if they can help.

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