Is firefighter fitness important?

Obviously the answer is yes. Fire and Rescue NSW will shortly introduce ongoing health and fitness testing for all its firefighters. A first for any Fire Service in Australia. This was done partly at the request of the New South Wales Auditor-General. Refer link below:

The report acknowledges the fact that the public expect their firefighters to have above average fitness levels. The trouble with this is that Human Resources do not believe this is necessary, at least for the recruits. Now that it is confirmed that fitness should be a high priority in the selection of a firefighter one could assume that provided all other requirements are met the fittest firefighters, both male and female should be selected.

As we know this is not the case. In recent years they have reduced the number of applicants down from well over 7000 (approx) to 300 (approx) prior to any fitness testing of the applicants thereby making it impossible to determine who is likely to progress. In affect management have ensured that over 6000 applicants will never get to prove how fit they are. Incredible considering the fact that the public expect that fitness is a high priority for their firefighters. Worse still when many of the top 300 chosen are not fit enough to complete the Physical Aptitude test or whose supervised online verification test is well below their initial unsupervised test.

Commissioner, its time to ensure the integrity of the recruitment process. As is the case with other Fire Services in Australia can every applicant be judged against set criteria, and each other, based on the requirements of the job.




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