Firefighter Functional Fitness Tests

Stage 3 of the Firefighter selection process involves candidates completing a number of physical assessments. These are designed to test your fitness and suitability for the role.

Fitness tests include: Ladder climb, confined space, casualty evacuation and equipment carry, ladder lift, equipment assembly, lateral pull down, shoulder press and treadmill test.

You can view videos of the functional tests below. 

Chester Treadmill Run Test

The treadmill run, also known as the Chester Treadmill Run Test, determines whether the applicant is able to achieve the minimum aerobic fitness standards of 46mlsO2/kg/min.

After a two minute warm up, applicants will be required to run at a brisk pace of on the treadmill.

As the test proceeds, the gradient of the treadmill's incline will be increased.

At two minutes, the gradient will be increased to 2%, at four minutes it will be set to 4% and at six minutes, the gradient will be set to 5%.

Once the applicant has ran for two minutes with a 5% incline, the test will be considered to be complete.

The test is a total of 10 minutes, including the 2 minute warm up. 

Equipment Carry & Casualty Evacuation

Candidates will usually do the casualty evacuation test first, immediately followed by the equipment carry test.

1. Casualty Evacuation - This test requires the candidate to walk backwards (guided by a safety officer) dragging a 55kg (8 1/2 stone) dummy casualty around three sides of a 10m square (30m route). This test must be completed in a given amount of time.

2. Equipment Carry – This test is performed back and forth along a 25m track whilst wearing full firefighting protective clothing (which weighs around 10kg).

This is not a test of memory as candidates will be reminded of the sequence of events by a safety officer.

The equipment will consist of:

  • One 30m (100ft) hose reel tubing on a drum
  • Two coiled 70mm delivery hoses
  • One 100mm hard suction hose and suction strainer in a basket
  • One 25kg barbell

The items will be laid out in the order in which they are to be used.

The test will be carried out as follows:

  1. You will start by holding the hose reel at waist height.
  2. Run the hose to the end of the 25m track and place it down.
  3. Run/jog back to the start line and pick up 2 lengths of 70mm hose by the handles
  4. Carry them up and down the course for four lengths, then place one back on the start line.
  5. Pick up the other length of hose by the centre lugs and carry at chest height down to the second line and place it down, then jog 3 lengths back to the start position
  6. Pick up and carry the straight silver hose and basket up and down the course for four lengths and place them back at the start line
  7. Run/jog 4 lengths of the course
  8. Pick up and carry barbell up and down the course for four lengths.

Candidates must complete this test in a given amount of time.

Confined Space

Applicants wear a breathing apparatus face mask to complete this test. The actual test is performed in total darkness. After navigating the crawlspace once, applicants will have their face mask obscured and asked to complete it again. The whole test is to be completed in a set time.

Equipment Assembly

Candidates are required to assemble various components and then dismantle them in a correct sequence, by following the displayed sequence of photographs. Candidates need to complete this test in a set amount of time.

Ladder Climb

Applicants must ascend a 13.5m (45 ft) Fire & Rescue Service ladder to a point two thirds of the full working height, take a leg lock and remove their hands from the ladder, look down to the assessor and read the letters/numbers they are holding. Applicants are able to practice the movement at a lower point before ascending fully.

Ladder Lift

This test is designed to simulate lifting a ladder.

  1. Start with your knees slightly bent and take an underhand grip with your palms facing upwards.
  2. As you extend the legs bring the bar up to chest height and then reverse the grip.
  3. Lift the apparatus ensuring a good posture and drive the bar to full extension above the head to the 182cm mark.
  4. Then, under control lower the bar back down to chest height and reverse the grip bringing the bar back down in a controlled manner. Keep your hands inside the lifting area of the bar.

Gloves MUST be worn. To complete the test successfully, candidates will need to combine upper and lower body strength and co-ordination to life the ladder to the required height and lower it safely under control.

Lateral Pull Down Test 

To complete the test successfully, the candidate will need to utilise upper body and grip strength and also co-ordination to pull a weight of (a) 25kg 30 times within a minute (b) a single pull down of 45kg and lower the weight in a controlled manner. Candidates must wear gloves during this test.

Shoulder Press Test

To complete the test successfully you will need to utilise your upper body and grip strength and also co-ordination to press a barbell 30kg into an extended press position, this is done in the seated or standing position, participants must start with a sub maximal weight.

Please note: The content on this page and in the above videos is accurate at the time of publication (January 2022).