Fire Fighting Physical
The USA/Canadian Fire Fighting Physical is a series of tests that
fireman/firewomen have to undertake to join the firefighting
You have to wear the full firefighting clothing (approx. 20 lbs
in weight) throughout the series of tests that comprise of:
- climb five stories carrying a 40-pound coil of fire hose
- at the top pull up a 40-pound coil of fire hose hand over hand
with a rope
- return to ground level
- hit a 165-pound steel beam 5 feet with an 8lb sledgehammer
- pick up a pressurised hose, carry it 30 feet and hit a target
with the water jet
- carry a 175-pound dummy 100 feet
You are allowed five minutes to complete all the tests. Three
minutes is considered an excellent time.
See the 40yrd dash page for an idea of a
In phase 2 of the 40yrd dash training you will need to substitute
some of the sessions with:
- stair or hill work - equivalent to 5/6 stories
- pulling up a 45-pound coil of fire hose hand over hand with a
rope - equivalent to 5/6 stories
- stair work with a 45-pound fire hose - equivalent to 5/6
- running on the flat with a dummy of 200 pound - 110 feet
- hitting a 180-pound steel beam 5 feet with an 8-pound sledgehammer
Distances and weights are approx. 10% more than the actual test
These sessions also need to be completed wearing your full firefighting kit - perhaps push it up to 22 pounds.
The Fire Fighting physical does vary from state to state. In New
Hampshire (USA), the test used to be as follows:
- Ladder raise - raise a 24-foot extension ladder weighing
at least 70 pounds but not more than 100 pounds
- Ladder extension - extend the top section of a 35-foot
extension ladder and safely lower it using the attached rope
- Dummy Drag - drag a 140/160-pound dummy for a distance
of 120 feet
- Simulated roof venting - complete 50 impacts with an 8-pound sledgehammer
- Hose hoist - hoist a 2.5" hose 50 feet long off the
ground, using a pulley system
- Ladder handling - remove a 24-foot ladder weighing at
least 70 pounds and not more than 100 pounds from a rack on the truck, carry it
for 40 feet and replace it on the rack
- Hose line advance - extend 150 feet of 2.5" hose on a
grass or dirt surface
- Attic Crawl - crawl across a simulated attic floor made
of wood joists spaced 24 inches apart and 10 feet in length
- Equipment carry - carry a rolled 50-foot length of 2.5"
hose that weighs approx. 42 pounds for a distance of 1500 feet
The test is conducted wearing a fire coat, helmet, gloves, air
tank and ankle weights and to "pass" all the elements have to be completed non-stop in 11.5 minutes.
The Firefighter Combat Challenge
The Firefighter Combat Challenge is a competition based on firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergencies. The Challenge is very
demanding, and many participants perform at the level of elite athletes.
The tasks are:
- Task 1: Stair Climb with High Rise Pack - Carry a
high-rise standpipe pack (2-50-foot sections of 1¾ inch hose weighing
approx. 42 pounds) to the fifth floor. The hose load must be deposited into the
designated area on the fifth floor.
- Task 2: Hose Hoist - From the top of the tower, using a
hand over hand motion, pull a 5/8-inch rope to hoist a doughnut roll of LDH hose
(45 pounds). This task is complete when the doughnut roll has cleared the rail and
is in the designated area on the floor.
- Task 3: Forcible Entry - Using the 9-pound shot mallet
and Force Machine; drive a 165-pound beam five feet. This event is complete
when the end of the beam crosses the five-foot line.
- Task 4: Hose Advance - After moving a distance of 140
feet around 6 hydrants, pick up a nozzle and move a 1¾ inch charged hose
straightforward for 75 feet, crack the nozzle, hit a designated target, and
place the nozzle on the pavement. Then move 30 feet to the next event.
- Task 5: Victim Rescue - Drag a 175-pound victim
(SIMULAIDS's, Rescue Randy) a distance of 100 feet. This event (and the course)
is complete when the beam is broken across the finish line. The competitor must
have the victim or a 2-second penalty will be issued.
An excellent time is 3 minutes or less.
- Firefighter Combat Challenge Rules [WWW] Available from: https://firefighterchallenge.com/Challenge/Rules.php [Accessed 01/08/2014]
The following references provide additional information on this topic:
- GLEDHILL, N. and JAMNIK, V. K. (1992) Characterization of the physical demands of fire fighting. Canadian journal of sport sciences - Journal Canadian des sciences du sport, 17 (3), p. 207-213
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:
- MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Fire Fighting Physical [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/firephys.htm [Accessed
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: