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People doing the bleep test

Fitness and practical tests

As part of your journey to become a firefighter, you’ll have to pass a number of activities that will test your fitness and the fire in your belly!

It’s natural to feel nervous about them, which is why we’ve created an eight-week fitness schedule (PDF) to help you get on track before your test.

Our ‘Have a Go’ days are open to potential applicants and allow you to come and ask questions and test out some of the practical tasks you’ll have to do as part of your role. Our recruitment fitness sessions for female applicants are dedicated spaces for women to test out the exercises in preparation for the real thing.

Bleep test

An important part of being a firefighter is having a good level of fitness. We assess this through the bleep test. This involves running between two points which are 20 metres apart before a ‘bleep’ sounds. As the test progresses, the time between each bleep gets shorter and shorter, meaning you have to run faster each time.

The pass rate for this is the eighth shuttle of level eight (8.8).

Swimming test

Water rescues are also a part of the role, so it's at the same stage as the bleep test that potential wholetime firefighters will do the swimming test.

In this assessment, you’ll have to:

  • jump into the deep end of the swimming pool
  • swim 50 metres in 70 seconds
  • climb out of the swimming pool, unaided and without using the steps.

Effective swimming strokes include breaststroke, backstroke, front crawl, back crawl, and butterfly.

Ladder lift

The ladder lift is designed to test your upper body strength by mimicking the requirement to lift and lower a 13.5 metre ladder on top of a fire engine. For the test, you’ll have to lift a bar weighing approximately 30kg over your head to a height of 1.90 metres in a controlled manner.

Ladder climb

The ladder climb is about seeing how confident and co-ordinated you are while working at height. You’ll have to go up and down a 10.5 metre ladder and get on and off the ladder from the second floor of a drill tower – all while wearing the full fire kit!

Equipment assembly

While wearing fire kit, you’ll take apart and reconstruct an item of equipment against the clock. This tests your dexterity and ability to follow instructions.

Equipment carry

Here you’ll be carrying equipment of various weights and sizes over 25-metre shuttles against the clock – while wearing fire kit. This is similar to what you’d do on the ground as a firefighter.

You’ll have to cover the total distance of 550 metres in five minutes and 47 seconds or less. You will have to:

  • Run out the hose reel for 25 metres
  • Walk or jog back 25 metres
  • Pick up and carry two x 70mm hose (each weigh approx. 15kg) for 100 metres
  • Hold one 70mm hose at shoulder height and walk 25 metres
  • Walk/jog back 75 metres
  • Pick up and carry the 100mm suction hose and basket (total weight approx. 12kg) for 100 metres
  • Walk or jog back 100 metres
  • Pick up and carry the pump simulator, which is a bar bell (weight approx. 25kg) for 100 metres.

Breathing apparatus and confined spaces

As a firefighter sometimes you will have to navigate dark and confined spaces. In this test, you’ll follow a guideline through a building with small spaces, while wearing a mask so you have no visibility. You’ll be wearing a full fire kit including breathing apparatus (although you will be able to breathe normally). The course will involve navigating rooms, stairs, and a crawl tunnel against the clock.


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