How to Become a Firefighter in NSW Through These Physical Aptitude Test (PAT) Tips

Video highlights:
01:14 – Reduced visibility search & tips
01:54 – 4 Task Assessment 15 minutes & tips

04:46 – 2 task Assessment 2 minutes & tips
03:55 – Problem Solving
05:17 – Firefighter Rescue / dummy drag & tips

Welcome to This is another episode of Fire Recruitment Australia News.

Today’s subject is how to become a firefighter NSW Australia, in particular how to pass the PAT test or the Physical Aptitude Test as it’s known.

Stage 1: Reduced Visibility Search

You’ll be required to wear a frosted facemask, crawl in the dark in a confined space. You cannot remove the mask and must move forward in a consistent and safe manner. Keeping in mind that the New South Wales Fire Brigade is very safety focused. This is important to make sure you keep this in mind whilst undertaking the task.

My tip for this task the reduced visibility search; try operating in an unfamiliar environment with a restrictive mask on to ensure you don’t have issues with claustrophobia or operating in a confined space.

Stage 2: Ladder Simulation

You’ll be required to pick up a bar off the ground and bring it to navel height, then squat under the bar and stand up raising the bar above your head with arms completely straight. The movement from your navel is to be done in 1 smooth movement to right above your head.

My tip for this one, as it’s a ladder simulation, is to simply go and find a ladder that’s 10.5 meters long or there about and practice standing it up and placing it back down again. It would be a good idea to get a friend to come and help you so that it’s nice and safe as well.

Stage 2 of the PAT test is a 4 task assessment and you have 15 minutes in which to complete it.

Stage 2 – Task 1: Holding a Jerry Can

The first one is you have to hold a jerry can in one singular hand and walk the total of 195 meters. To pick it up in one hand it can’t be put down and it’s a number of laps in the circuit which add up to 195 meters.

Stage 2 – Task 2: Climbing a Stair Holding a Jerry Can

The next task is a stair climb holding a slightly less heavy jerry can of 17.5kg in one hand. Then you must step up and down on a step 36 times. Basically what it is it’s just a static step or a box which they make to step up onto and then back down 36 times whilst holding the jerry can in one hand.

Stage 2 -Task 3: Holding a Rescue Tool

The third one and probably most difficult as you’re a bit fatigued in your forearms etc. is the rescue tool hold. Basically what it is is it’s a weighted object. It’s off balance. It weighs 19kg. You must be able to hold it parallel to the ground for lots of 40 seconds and then you get a 20 second break in between.

The first one you must hold it above your shoulder height for 40 seconds parallel to the ground, place it on the ground for 20 seconds rest, pick it back up again, and hold it at waist height for 40 seconds, and then place it back down on the ground again, then pick it up again for 40 seconds below your knees, and then place it back on the ground again. What you’ve got to be careful of here is that you pick it up and put it down in a safe manner using a squat method without bending your knees, so not causing any undue stress on your back.

Stage 2 – Task 4: Dragging of Hose

Task number 4 is a repeated hose drag. It’s a simulated 30 meter drag of a 38mm fire hose 5 times which equals a total distance of 150.You must be able to drag the simulated hose the full 150 meters whilst having an upright posture and facing forwards the entire time. Basically what this is it’s a short piece of hose that you use with a resistance band and they’ll make you drag for a period of time.

My tip for this one is either find a way to ensure that you can do these tasks physically or look at ways to simulate them. The best way to simulate this one is if you know someone that’s in a fire brigade somewhere and they’d be willing to let you come and practice with him dragging a 30 meter length of 38mm hose that would be perfect or try and think of another way where you can simulate using those muscles and stuff like that.

Stage 3: A Two-Task Assessment to be Completed in Two Minutes

The last task or stage is a 2 task assessment and you’ve got 2 minutes in which to do this.

Stage 3 Task 1: Fire Attack Simulation

The first one is a fire attack simulation. You must grip a branch with the hose over of the shoulder using a crawling technique and remain below 1.25 meters and drag that for a distance of 30 meters.

Stage 3 Task 2: Firefighter Rescue Simulation

The next one is a firefighter rescue simulation. You must lift a weighted BA set, a breathing apparatus set with weights attached to it and a drag attached to it as well, safely drag it backwards for 10 meters whilst remaining below 1.55 meters. Just remember when you’re doing this particular task that you’ll be fatigued by this point so it’s important not to underestimate this and keep in mind that you’re going to below 1.5 meters roughly.

The tip here is to make sure that you get to simulate the rescue at a minimum, as many good strong people have been knocked out at this stage and remember the 1.5 meter thing because this is one that you don’t want to get knocked out on. There’s no need to.

Action Steps: What to do Now

I want you to look for ways or places that you can undertake similar tasks to what we’ve spoken about throughout this tutorial video. Make sure you do this in a safe manner. The last thing we want you do is get hurt.

I want you to go and do this and then get a benchmark on all the simulated tasks that we’ve spoken about so that you know which areas you need to work on.

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments below.

I personally reply to all comments and emails.


Brent C

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Brent C

After becoming a Firefighter, I developed a massive interest in the Fire Services Recruitment and Selection Processes. I've been in the fire service working since 2007 to learn everything about how Fire Services Recruitment works. I've tested and refined proven methods to help people get the edge over the competition. Today, over 300 of my former students are living their Firefighter dream.

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