The destruction of Fire and Rescue NSW

Disappointing times for a once proud organization. Bureaucrats have moved in and professionalism has moved out. It is pronounced throughout the organization but most noticeable at the recruit stage.

The effort to recruit more females has resulted in some astonishing decisions. Some of the more glaring issues are:

  • The physical entry requirements (recently reduced) are now a national disgrace. There is no method of confirming the VO2 max of an applicant. (basic fitness levels).
  • We now know that recruits may not even be able to lift a ladder. The simulation weight is far below the strength required to complete the task
  • Even though the ladder simulation is below par females are still offered a lower resistance level if they are unable to lift the “correct weight”.
  • Females are not competing for positions against the males. Higher scoring males were denied the chance to complete the Physical Aptitude Test, despite the fact that many would have easily passed.
  • An incredible amount of money has been spent on advertising, forums, interstate travel and scholarships for woman at a time when Fire and Rescue NSW is closing (TOLing) stations because of budget cuts.
  • Their promise that all candidates will be judged on merit is a lie. They are selecting candidates based on criteria not relevant on the job, therefore discriminatory.
  • Fire and Rescue NSW is the only state to outsource its recruitment with firefighting staff having little or no input into the procedure.
  • The main criteria for progression to the Physical Aptitude stage are the on line exams. These exams can be done anywhere and are completely unsupervised. It is widely known to firefighters that cheating is rampant, management have been informed but they just do not care.
  • In the most recent recruitment drive the end result showed a success rate for each female applicant at over three times the success rate of males. That is despite the fact that females make up only 4% of their firefighters.
  • Most male applicants were not even given the option to attempt the PAT despite the fact that fitness is a main criteria of the job. Highly discriminatory and highly flawed.

NSW Government departments are required to select the best candidates. The selection process must be by merit, with each applicant judged against set criteria then ranked against all other candidates. This ensures that the process does not discriminate by ranking each candidate solely on their ability to be firefighters. Management are letting down the public of NSW and may well be guilty of discriminatory practices. Further details to follow.

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