Employment standards for Australian urban firefighters. Part 4: Physical aptitude tests and standards
Objective: Firefighter physical aptitude tests were administered to unskilled subjects and operational firefighters to evaluate the impact that testing bias associated with gender, age, activity-specific skills, or task familiarity may have upon establishing performance thresholds. Methods: These tests were administered in sequence, simulating hazmat incidents, ventilation fan carriage (stairs), motor-vehicle rescues, bushfire incidents, fire attacks, and a firefighter rescue. Participants included two unskilled samples (N = 14 and 22) and 143 firefighters. Results: Firefighter performance was not significantly different from the unskilled subjects. Participants from both genders passed the test, with scores unrelated to performance skill or age; however, familiarization significantly improved performance when the test was repeated. Conclusion: These outcomes confirmed this test to be gender-, age-, and skill-neutral. Familiarization effects could be removed through performing a single, pre-selection trial of the test battery.