Fitness entry tests undertook by the Ayrshire fire and rescue service

Description / procedure: This test is designed to measure our aerobic capacity (i.e. your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently to activate the aerobic energy system which provides energy to the muscles for prolonged periods). This test is also an accurate indicator of the health of your cardiovascular system (i.e. your heart, lungs and blood circulation).

Scoring: You are required to step on and off a 30cm step for a period of up to ten minutes. The minimum acceptable standard upon entry to the Fire Service is 45 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.

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During the test pulse rate will is continuously monitored. Every two minutes the pace is increased and your pulse rate is recorded. Following the test your recorded pulse rate will be used to calculate your Aerobic Capacity

Equipment required: heart rate monitor, tape and tape player, bench and preferably a gym

Validity: I do not feel that the validity of this is fair because it measures 80% of a person’s heart rate during physical exertion. I mean there is nothing that can be done to control nerves and if you were to go into the test terrified then you could have already failed the test before it had even started. The results can also only be valid if the person undertaking the test is stepping up and down in rhythm with the beeps.

Reliability: This test is very reliable because if monitored correctly it clearly gives an indication of person’s aerobic capacity. Even though it may not be in the right way as stated above.

Accuracy: this test is very accurate when it comes to measuring a subject’s aerobic capacity it gives a precise reading of there heart rate results because the data is collected as the test is being conducted and the results are worked out accurately on a graph afterwards.

Advantages: Minimal equipment and costs involved, little time required, and this test can even be self-administered. This test can also be used to test large groups at once.

Disadvantages: If staff is limited it is very hard to tell if everybody is keeping to the step ups (if conducted with a large group)

Safety: It is important that the examiner makes sure that each individual has completed an adequate warm up and he or she must also monitor the performance

Test 2 -Shuttle run

Description / procedure: The shuttle run also known as the bleep test is designed maximal and progressive i.e. easier at the start harder towards the end you are required to run twenty meters along a track and back in time with the bleep. (The test is conducted exactly the same as in the police service but on a twenty meter track)

Test 3 – Strength Test

The Handgrip test is designed to measure your strength of grip for each hand separately. This test gives an indication as to an individual’s upper body strength. (This test is conducted exactly the same as in the police test)

Work Related Tests

These tests are more specific to the requirements of the role of the Firefighter. They give a measure of our personal potential to perform specialised tasks related to carrying out firefighting. They give us experience of the nature and demands of the role. These test are performed wearing full firefighting kit including fire tunic, over trousers, helmet and gloves. The tests include:-

Test 4 – Ladder haul

Description / procedure: Involves extending a Fire Service ladder to its full height by hauling on an extending line.

Scoring: The scoring of this is recorded by getting the quickest time

Equipment required: Ladder, rope, stopwatch and full fire fighters uniform

Validity: This is a very valid test if conducted properly. But it can only be made valid if every one starts and finishes from the same place.

Reliability: This is a very reliable test because it only tests the speed that the task in hand can be completed

Accuracy: If the conductor of the test makes sure that every one starts and finishes at the same place then the then will be very accurate.

Advantages: Minimal equipment needed.

Disadvantages: It is can a very time consuming task especially if it requires testing large groups of people

Test 5 – Hose Running

Description / procedure: Involves running out and making up a 25 meter length of Fire Service Hose six times consecutively.

Scoring: The scoring of this is recorded by getting the quickest time.

Equipment required: A 25 meter fire hose and maybe a full fire fighters uniform.

Validity: This test is very valid because it has to be done six times by each person.

Reliability: This is a very reliable test when you look at what is testing which is a persons ability to carry out a simple task relating to the job which they have to do and how quick that person can do it.

Accuracy: this is a very accurate test as it only sets out to set a how quick a person can complete the test. It is though to take into account that if the test is conducted outside which it probably, is then the weather.

Advantages: It gives the person being tested a chance to get to grips with a task that they will probably have to deal with on a regular basis and it gives the examiner a chance to se how well the subject can deal with the task in hand.

Disadvantages: It is probably a very time consuming task especially if it requires testing large groups of people.

Test 6 – Claustrophobia Test

Description / procedure: Involves completing a physically challenging and progressive route wearing a mask which obscures your vision.

Scoring: The scoring of this is recorded by getting the quickest time possible

Equipment required: A full fire fighters uniform and stopwatch

Validity: I personally don’t think this is a very valid test because if the person being tested is only giving one chance to have a go at this test I don’t feel that it is very fair because unlike the hose running, ladder hall and acrophobia tests it does not test something that our body is familiar with hence the obstruction of view because there is only a limited area. The other tests seem to test physical fitness ‘head on’ while this one tests physical fitness by taking away one of our five senses.

Reliability: the reliability of the test is good because the results given are accurate to what it is testing which basically is speed.

Accuracy: this is a very accurate test as it only sets out to set a how quick a person can complete the test.

Advantages: Can be conducted with a minimal amount of equipment.

Disadvantages: It is probably a very time consuming task especially if it requires testing large groups of people.

Test 7 – Acrophobia

Description / procedure: Involves climbing a fully extended Fire Service ladder and performing a manual task on the ladder.

Scoring: The scoring of this is recorded by getting the quickest time

Equipment required: Ladder, stopwatch and in some cases a full fire fighters uniform

Validity: This is a very valid test if conducted properly and if every one starts and finishes from the same place.

Reliability: This is a very reliable test because it only tests the speed that the task in hand can be completed

Accuracy: These tests results are very accurate if the conductor of the test conducts the test correctly.

Advantages: Minimal equipment needed

Disadvantages: Can take along time to conduct test if group that is being tested is a large group. The fact that this test is probably conducted outside means that weather is a variable when it comes to doing the test hence is the weather suitable to conduct the test?

Safety in all the fitness tests: It is important that the examiner makes sure that each individual has completed an adequate warm up whether it is for person who is completing a physical fitness test for the fire service or police service. He or she must also monitor the performance of each individual (especially in the Chester step test and the bleep test) for any changes such as in a subjects skin color hence if the become paler. It is also important that the appropriate foot ware and clothing is worn while undertaking any physical fitness test never mind just a fitness test. And finally it is import to make sure that the equipment used such as in the Chester step test, acrophobia test and the polices dyno grip test is all in good working order.

Chester Step Test – The minimum acceptable standard upon entry to the Fire Service is 45 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.

Shuttle run – the required entry level is 9.6

Strength Test – The minimum requirement is a level of 35 kilogram force for the dominant hand and 33 kilogram force for the non-dominant hand. This test gives an indication as to an individual’s upper body strength.

How a person can improve to pass the fitness test and comparing the fitness tests

It is vital that we prepare for the physical tests in plenty of time if we want to give ourself’s the best chance to succeed. The role of Firefighter or police officer requires you to be of an above average level of fitness. Dependent upon your current level of fitness it may take some considerable time to reach the required standard so if you want to pass the required fitness tests it is important to start doing fitness training at the earliest stage possible not only this but factors such as eating healthy not over eating and becoming over weight can also help us improve our fitness level so that we can successfully pass the fitness requirement for our chosen public services.

In comparison to the polices physical fitness tests you can clearly see that the firefights fitness requirements are much higher a good example of this is if you were to compare both services bleep test requirements, the police service only ask for a minimal of level seven on a fifth teen meter track but the fire service ask for 9.6 on a twenty meter track which clearly shows that its service is much more physically demanding to back this point up even more if you look at any of the fitness tests that both the police and the fire service cover you will clearly see that the fire service requires higher fitness level than the police service.

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