SAMFS PAT Information Guide
Hi there! This is Brent C from Firerecruitmentaustralia.com
I put together this comprehensive guide on the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service physical aptitude tests in an easy-to-follow format that I wanted to share with you. This will show you all the do’s and don’ts and what to watch out for in order to become confident, stand out and pass the PAT.
I have seen fit people who train often but still fail these tests. This is because they fail to take the time to understand the process– going to the tests solely relying on their strength, fitness, and endurance.
Remember, it is very important that you know what is being tested for each test. Also, following instructions is one of the areas where other candidates get knocked off. Stay focused and follow this video guide and you should be alright.
An operational firefighter needs to be fit to carry out a range of different tasks and deal with many varied incidents. To ensure fairness when selecting people to fulfill this role, the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service must show a direct relationship between the level of fitness required and the physical demands of the job. To achieve this, the Fire Service has designed and developed a series of work-related physical fitness and strength tests that reflect the nature of the physical work undertaken by operational firefighters. The purpose of this production is to provide the candidate with information on the 2 components of the recruit selection process: the Physical Aptitude Test Stage 1 and the Physical Aptitude Test Stage 2.
Stage 1 SHUTTLE RUN TEST
For Stage 1, the test used is the Australian Sports Commission 20-meter Shuttle Run Test. This test has been widely used in Australia by the AIS and by professional sporting bodies. This has been adopted by all Australian firefighting agencies as a recruitment selection test. The test will establish whether the candidates possess a sufficient level of cardiovascular fitness to be able to perform physically demanding firefighting tasks.
The Physical Aptitude Test Stage 1 is a progressive shuttle run test designed to measure aerobic fitness. The test gives an estimate of maximum oxygen intake which indicates how effectively the body is utilizing oxygen. You’ll be required to run along a 20-meter running track in time with a recorded series of beeps. The test starts at a slow pace with a required running speed initially quite slow. You should pace yourself so that your arrival at the end coincides with the single beep. A single beep signals the end of a shuttle. A triple beep signals the end of a level. At each new level, there is an increase in running speed.
Your aim should be to follow the increasing pace until the level of 9.6 is achieved. You must place one foot on or over the blue 20-meter line before returning to the other end. You should not commence the next shuttle until the beep has sounded. If you fail to place one foot on or over the blue 20-meter line before returning or if you start a shuttle before the beep has sounded, then a referee will issue a yellow card warning. If you receive 4 yellow card warnings, your test will be concluded.
There is a red line 2 meters before the 20-meter line. If you fail to make this line before the beep has sounded, then the referee will issue a red card warning. The shuttle still has to be completed. If you fail to make the red line at the immediate next end before the beep or at the same end for 2 beeps in a row, your test will be concluded. If after you receive a red card warning, you make the red line before the beep for the next 2 consecutive shuttles, then the initial red card warning will be rescinded.
This concludes the description of the SAMFS Physical Aptitude Test Stage 1: Shuttle Run Test. Remember, you must pace yourself so that your arrival at the end of the shuttle track coincides with the beep. Applicants are required to complete the 9.6 level for a successful outcome.
The Physical Aptitude Test Stage 2. This test is designed to simulate with physical demands of the critical tasks that are performed by firefighters at emergency incidents. This test consists of 11 events performed in a continuous sequence. There will be no rest period between test events. You must successfully complete all 11 events in 32 minutes or less. In 2 of these events namely the hose hold test and the encapsulated suit test, there are set times allocated. The time will accumulate for the other 9 events and be added to the set times of the above-mentioned tests to make up the total test time.
This is a pass/fail test. Failure on any one event or a total test time exceeding 32 minutes will constitute a failure and your test will be concluded. There will be no accumulation of warnings across any of the events.
To ensure the test is realistic, all of the events will be performed in full personal protective equipment, including breathing apparatus which will be provided. Where health and safety considerations permit, operational firefighting equipment will be used. You must provide your own socks, T-shirt, trousers or tracksuit pants to wear underneath the personal protective equipment. All jewelry including watches must be removed for the duration of the test.
The events in order are hose hold, tunnel crawl, casualty rescue, ceiling breach and pull, ladder raise extension and lower, tower climb and descent, container haul, forced entry, high pressure hose line drag, equipment carry and encapsulated suit.
Once the test commences, you must proceed steadily between test events. Although running is not permitted, you should aim to maintain a steady pace at all times, remembering there is an overall time limit. Throughout the test, you will be followed, not led by the assessment supervisor. The role of the assessment supervisor is to time your test, monitor your safety, provide you with instructions and make any final decisions regarding your performance. Additional assessors will be present during the test.
Event 1 HOSE HOLD TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of holding a 64-millimeter hose line against water pressure.
This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength, core stability, balance and coordination. The hose has been marked to assist you to gain a safe and effective hold. Your rear leg should be placed against the largest white band. Your rear hand should be placed on the smaller white band. Your front hand should be placed on the white band marking the branch control lever.
The assessment supervisor will ensure you have adopted a safe method of holding the hose before commencing the test. During the familiarization period of 1 minute, the assessment supervisor may suggest changes to your grip or position. For the first minute, you will be required to hold the hose at a pressure of 500 kilopascals and direct the water stream between 2 bollards. If you lose control of the hose during the first minute or step outside the marked square, the assessment supervisor will assist you to regain grip and the first minute will be restarted.
At the end of the first minute, the hose pressure will be increased to 700 kilopascals and you will be expected to hold and control the hose for 2 minutes. You will direct the water stream between 2 bollards while remaining inside the marked square. The water stream will be required to be directed to the inside of each bollard and held for 30 seconds. You will be directed to alternate between bollards every 30 seconds by the assessment supervisor. If the water stream goes outside the bollard or the water stream isn’t rotated or controlled as instructed, you will receive a warning. If a second warning is received or if the candidate moves outside the marked square, the test will be concluded.
Event 2 TUNNEL CRAWL TEST
This test is designed to simulate the critical demands of the task of searching for a fire victim in limited visibility in an unpredictable area. This is a functional capacity test designed to test the candidate’s ability to work in a confined space. For this test, you will wear personal protective clothing and a breathing apparatus set with a restricted vision mask.
The mask is not connected to the cylinder and normal air will be breathed. You’ll be required to crawl on your hands and knees through a tunnel maze navigating around, over and under obstacles. In addition, you will be required to locate and climb a short ladder and negotiate a down ramp. During the assessment, you will wear a restricted vision face mask to simulate the limited visibility conditions encountered by firefighters. The assessment supervisor will ensure the face mask is fitted safely and securely prior to the commencement of the assessment.
If you take off the breathing apparatus face mask or the restricted vision visor at any time during this event, your test will be concluded. You will navigate using a secured guideline throughout the tunnel. The assessment supervisor will assist to locate the guideline as you enter the tunnel. Throughout the maze, the assessment supervisor will continually monitor your movements.
If for any reason, you cannot continue and choose to end the test, stop and place one hand on the top of your head.
The supervisor will remove your face mask and escort you to the nearest exit point. If you require assistance at any point, your test will be concluded. As you reach the end of the tunnel, the assessment supervisor will assist you to exit and remove the face mask.
Event 3 CASUALTY RESCUE TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of removing a casualty or an injured firefighter from a fire scene. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength and to demonstrate the ability to negotiate obstructions in order to complete a task successfully.
You will be required to lift and drag a 75-kilogram dummy through a simulated fire scene for a distance of 20 meters finishing outside the building. You will place your arms under the arms of the dummy and lift using your legs as much as possible. You will then walk backwards dragging the dummy. The assessment supervisor will guide you around the simulated fire scene. The entire dummy must be dragged across the marked finish line. You will not be permitted to place the dummy on the ground at any time during the test. If you fail to drag the dummy across the finish line, if you drop the dummy or rest the dummy on the ground, your test will be concluded.
Event 4 CEILING BREACH AND PULLING TEST
This event is designed to simulate the critical task of breaching and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire extension. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength and demonstrate the ability to complete a task successfully.
You are required to remove the preventer from the white band on the frame and stand within the boundary established by the equipment frame. Place the tip of the pole in the white recessed area of the hinged door of the ceiling. Push up fully with a preventer on the hinged hatch a weight of 27 kilograms 3 times. Then, hook the preventer on the white ceiling device and pull down the counterbalance lever of 36 kilograms 5 times. 3 push repetitions and 5 pull repetitions constitute 1 complete set. You will be required to perform 4 completes sets.
You are permitted to stop and adjust your grip. Should you release your grip or if the preventer slips from your hands without it falling to the ground, you are permitted to re-establish your grip and continue. In this case, you will not receive a warning. If the preventer is dropped, you must pick it up and resume the event. You will be permitted to drop it only once. Dropping it a second time will constitute failure and your test will be concluded. You are not permitted to place either hand on the end of the handle to gain extra leverage. If this technique is adopted, you will receive a warning. If you receive a second warning, your test will be concluded.
If you do not successfully complete a repetition, the assessment supervisor will call a miss and you must repeat the repetition. If you do not repeat the missed repetition, the entire set will not count and you will be required to do it again. If you step outside the frame, you’ll receive a warning. A second warning will result in your test being concluded.
Event 5 LADDER RAISE EXTENSION AND LOWER TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of using an extension ladder at a fire scene and extending the ladder to a roof or a window opening. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength, core stability, balance and coordination.
You are required to raise a ladder from the ground to a vertical position. Holding the top rung of the ladder, you will lift the ladder until it is at arm’s length. You will then be required to use a hand over hand method using each rung to walk the ladder up until it rests against the building. The ladder should be raised in a smooth continuous manner.
If you miss any rung during the raise, you will receive a warning and are required to redo that section. If you miss a rung after receiving the warning or allow the ladder to fall on yourself, lose control or drop the ladder, your test will be concluded.
After successfully completing the ladder raise, you will proceed immediately to the second pre-positioned ladder. Standing between the ladder and the wall, you will extend the sliding section by pulling on the extension rope hand over hand until it hits the stop. You will then lower the sliding section hand over hand in a controlled fashion returning it to its original starting position.
If you allow the extension rope to slip in an uncontrolled manner, your test will be concluded. You will be required to lower the ladder previously raised. Hold the ladder at shoulder height and carefully pull it away from the wall. If you pull the ladder too quickly, you are likely to lose control. You will then use a hand over hand method using each rung until it is returned to the ground. The ladder should be lowered in a smooth continuous manner.
If you miss a rung during the lower, you will receive a warning and are required to redo that section. If you miss a rung after receiving a warning or if you lose control of or drop the ladder, your test will be concluded.
Event 6 TOWER CLIMB AND DESCENT TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of climbing a multi-story stairway while carrying essential firefighting equipment. This is a functional capacity test designed to test endurance, physical strength, the ability to undertake a task and vertigo. You will be required to climb 2 levels of stairs prior to the container haul test and the forced entry test, and then climb an additional 5 levels.
During the tower climb, you will be carrying a 13.5-kilogram high-rise pack containing firefighting equipment of the type carried by firefighters at high-rise incidents. You must carry the high-rise pack by the handle at all times. You must ascend the stairs in a continuous manner, one step at a time. These infractions will constitute a warning. A second warning will result in a test failure. If you stop and place the high-rise pack on the ground, you will receive a warning. A second warning will result in your test being concluded.
Upon reaching the top floor of the tower, you are required to remove a coupling from the high-rise pack and connect the coupling to the hydrant riser. You will then move to the edge of the tower and identify the 4 symbols as they appear at ground level. If you cannot identify any one of the 4 symbols, your test will be concluded. You must lean over the guardrail with your shoulders outside the plane of the tower without holding the guardrail with your hands. You are then required to return to the hydrant riser, disconnect the coupling, place it back in the high-rise pack and then descend the stairs with the assessment supervisor.
Event 7 CONTAINER HAUL TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of using a rope line to lift essential firefighting equipment for a multi-story fire scene. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength and assess the candidate’s ability to undertake a task. You must lift a 20-liter container from the ground level to the second floor landing. A hand over hand method must be used to hold the container. You are permitted to run the rope line over the white railing protector when hauling and lowering.
The container must be lifted completely over the guardrail and placed on the landing. You are not permitted to stand on the ledge with both feet. However, one foot on the ledge is allowable, providing your other foot remains on the landing. If you do not use a hand over hand method to lift the container, if you do not keep one foot firmly planted on the landing, or if you place both feet on the ledge, you will receive a warning. If you receive a second warning, your test will be concluded. If you allow the container to fall at any time during the test, your test will be concluded.
Event 8 FORCED ENTRY TEST
This event is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of using force to open a locked door. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength, core stability, balance and coordination. You will use a 4.5-kilogram sledgehammer to strike the measuring device in the target area until the buzzer is activated. This will activate when an accumulative force of 136 kilograms (300 pounds) has been reached. If while swinging the sledgehammer you lose control and release it from both hands, your test will be concluded. After conclusion of this event, you will be required to place the sledgehammer on the ground adjacent to the forced entry simulator.
Event 9 HIGH-PRESSURE HOSE LINE DRAG TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of advancing a high pressure hose line from the appliance to the scene of a fire. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength and assess the candidate’s ability to undertake a task. You will be required to drag the high pressure line by the branch handle for a distance of 20 meters around obstacles which will include a 90-degree turn around a drum. You must drag the hose line until the branch is completely across the marked finish line.
If you fail to go around the drum or to go outside the marked line way, you will receive a warning. If you receive a second warning or you fail to drag the branch line past the marked finish line, your test will be concluded. After you have crossed the finish line, you will turn around and pull an additional 10 meters of hose over the finish line using a hand over hand method. You are not permitted to use your body weight by walking back with the hose line. If you use this technique, you will receive a warning. If you receive a second warning, your test will be concluded. You must remain behind the finish line at all times.
If you step in front of the line, you’ll receive a warning. If you step across the line after you receive a warning or if you cannot pull the 10-meter white band across the finish line, your test will be concluded.
Event 10 EQUIPMENT CARRY TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of removing firefighting equipment from an appliance and carrying it to an incident. This is a functional capacity test designed to test physical strength and assist the ability to undertake a task. You will remove 3 pieces of equipment one item at a time from the appliance lockers, then carry that item along a marked route for a distance of 20 meters. Each item must be carried and placed in the marked square.
If you stop and rest at any time on the ground or go outside the marked route, you will receive a warning. If you receive a second warning, your test will be concluded. Each item must be carried using the handle indicated by the white band. If at any point during the test you drop a piece of equipment, your test will be concluded.
Event 11 ENCAPSULATED SUIT TEST
This test is designed to simulate the demands of the critical task of wearing breathing apparatus and an encapsulated suit at hazardous material incidents. This is a functional capacity test designed to assess the candidate’s ability to undertake a mundane task wearing an encapsulated suit working in conditions with high heat and humidity.
You will be required to remain in an encapsulated suit breathing cylinder air through a face mask for a total period of 5 minutes. The temperature of the room will be set at approximately 36 degrees. The assessment supervisor will ensure that the breathing apparatus cylinder and the face masks are fitted securely prior to the commencement of the test. The supervisors will ensure the breathing apparatus is operating correctly and then assist you to don the suit.
You will be required to stand in the suit for an initial 2-minute period. During this period, the supervisors will observe for any signs of anxiety or distress. If the supervisors deem it has become unsafe for you to continue, they will remove the suit and the test will be concluded.
At completion of the initial 2 minutes, you’ll be required to move 12 drums from one wall to the opposite wall in a 3-minute period. To successfully complete the test, the drums must be stacked in an alternating checkerboard pattern as currently displayed. You are required to lift the drums by the handle. You must stack the drums aligning the handle with the recessed area underneath the drum. If the drums have been stacked as directed before the 3-minute period, you are required to remain in the suit until the 3-minute period has elapsed. If the checkerboard pattern is not completed or if the drum is dropped, the test will be concluded. If you cannot remain in the suit, raise your hand. The supervisors will remove the suit and the test will be concluded.
At the completion of the test, the encapsulated suit and the breathing apparatus set will be removed. Note: the time will stop from the moment you enter the heat and humidity room until the suit is donned. This will allow for any inconsistencies in individual donning techniques.
This concludes the description of all 11 events of the SAMFS Physical Aptitude Test Stage 2. Remember, this is a timed test. You must pace yourself and successfully perform all 11 events in order within the total test time that does not exceed 32 minutes.
Watch the full SAMFS PAT video below:
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