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Fire Fighting Physical

The USA/Canadian Fire Fighting Physical is a series of tests that fireman/firewomen have to undertake to join the firefighting service.

The Tests

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 training program.

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 stories
  • 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 conditions.

These sessions also need to be completed wearing your full firefighting kit - perhaps push it up to 22 pounds.

Alternative Tests

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[1] is a competition based on firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergencies. The Challenge is very demanding, and many participants perform at the elite level.

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 floor's designated area.
  • 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.


  1. Firefighter Combat Challenge Rules [WWW] Available from [Accessed 01/08/2014]

Page Reference

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: [Accessed