The PAT for the NSW Fire Service Recruitment Process
The PAT for the NSW Fire Service Recruitment Process
I wanted to write about this specific subject as it is one that has changed a bit recently, I hope this hope those that are applying for NSWFB.
The Physical Aptitude Test (PAT) in New South Wales fire service recruitment process consists of three stages of 8 different tasks.
This test is updated every few years, so finding up to date information about the PAT is important. With the next recruitment campaign beginning at the end of January, it is time to begin preparing yourself for this process.
Your PAT will be in the same equipment that you would be wearing during an emergency. Your responsibility is to wear your personal clothing that you would wear in an emergency. You should wear a Tee, shorts, and sneakers. Your footwear should not have spikes on the soles or cannot be cleats; your footwear should not benefit your performance more than regular footwear.
It’s vitally important that you understand how to progress from one stage to the next, because confusion will worsen your performance report.
Both tasks during stage one of your tests are not timed. The first task in stage one is use a frosted face mask and conduct a thorough search of a building. The frosted face mask simulates a smoky building fairly accurately, but as there are no flames you have the advantage of a much calmer atmosphere during this test. You will be crawling on your hands and knees during the search, simulating the need to be as low as possible to have the greatest visibility for your search. They are watching you for consistency in your search as well as the safety precautions that you take. Keep consistency and safety as your highest priority during this test.
Stage one’s second task is the ladder simulation. This task tests your ability to raise a 10.5 meter ladder up against a wall. The simulation consists of a pulley system and a bar. Your feet should be positioned shoulder width apart when you reach down for the bar. Bend at the knees and then, using your legs, lift the bar to your stomach. Next, position your arms underneath the bar to prepare for the 2nd half, lifting the bar over your head. Your arms should straighten in a continuous motion. To accomplish this, once again begin the lift with your legs. Your legs contain your most powerful muscles and will help you get the momentum going. When your arms go over your head, lock your elbows and hold it there until the test is over.
Stage 2 consists of 4 tasks to be completed over 15 minutes. Speed is not important as long as you are able to complete the tasks in the time frame. You will not be allowed to begin stage 3 until the 15 minutes are over, any remaining time can be used to rest or mentally prepare for stage 3.
The first task of stage 2 is a single sided jerry can carry task. This simulates the firefighter’s task of carrying hazardous waste repeatedly until the public is safe from it. To complete the task lift the jerry can with one hand, remember to use your legs for the lift, and then walk the can 195 meters away. You may put the can down and swap hands as often as you like, many participants find it helpful to do so at the end of each of the 6 and a half laps they are required to complete. Maintain your balance, and maintain your strength, as you still have 3 more tasks to complete! You must never drop the can, drag it, carry it or spill the contents at any time, or you will fail this portion of the test. You must also never use two hands, to hold it, so to swap hands, place the can gently on the ground, move to the other side of the can and then lift it again.
Task 2 is similar to task 1; you must hold the jerry can in one hand and take 36 steps on a stair master. The same rules apply to as the first task of this stage.
Task 3 simulates the use of tools being used to extract occupants from a motor vehicle that has been involved in an accident. You will be asked to hold a set of weights at a variety of different heights for 40 seconds. You will get a 20 second break in between each height to loosen up your muscles again. This task therefore takes 3 minutes to complete. The first height is at shoulder level, holding the back of the weights and the handle. Pick the weights up to waist level by using a squat, and then lift the weights to your shoulders with your arms. Hold it for 40 seconds then return the weights to the ground for your break. The second height is at waist level, so you only need to use the squat to pick the tool up. The last height is at knee level, you will be squatting for this whole time. All heights require you to maintain the weights parallel to the ground, and you should never rest the weights on any part of your body besides your hands.
The final task in stage two simulates dragging a hose for prolonged periods of time, like you would be required to in a bush fire. You will be dragging a weighted hose for 30 meters. To accomplish this, pick up the hose and hoist it over your shoulder. Put your back into the pull but remain upright at all times and begin a march. When you reach the end hand the hose over to your tester and return to the start point. You will be pulling this weighted hose for 30 meters a total of 5 times before you finish this. You may swap shoulders each time you pick up the hose again, so do not worry if your arm is getting tired.
Stage 3 is a 2 minute stage. The first task is to pull the same weighted hose you were carrying at the end of stage two, but this time doing so crawling to simulate the need to travel through a smoky room with your hose. Pull the hose under your arm by holding onto the handle. If you fall, turn around or pull the hose incorrectly, you will be asked to restart. You will need to pull the hose for 30 meters, or one lap of the course.
The final task of your final stage is the firefighter rescue. Hold the weight in both your hands and pull it above the ground (remember to lift with your legs!). You will be tasked with lifting this weight while squatting lower than 1.55 meters a total distance of 10 meters. You can adjust your grip by placing the weight on the ground, gently – if your tester suspects that you dropped it you will have to return to the start. Remember to be lifting the weight before you begin moving again!
The distances, heights and rules mentioned are all updated for the 2014 NSW Fire Service recruitment test. You will have to pass other tests to finish the recruitment process, like the psychology test, but the PAT test is probably the most grueling test you will have to take in your firefighter career.
Remember to prepare in advance and you will have a fighting chance. Good luck!