Fire Service Fitness Tests

If you’re considering a career in the fire service, be prepared to undergo a rigorous application process. Fire brigades carry out various mental and physical tests on new applicants to ensure a safe and effective working environment.

One of the most challenging components of the application process is the fire service fitness test. A fire crew must trust that you have the physical capabilities to respond to emergencies.

While fire service fitness tests will vary depending on the squad who is testing you, six different physical tests are required to pass the application process:

  • Ladder lift
  • Ladder climb
  • Casualty drag
  • Enclosed space
  • Equipment assembly
  • Equipment carry

Let’s take a closer look at these primary fitness tests.

Ladder Lift

It might sound cliché, but firefighters still must be able to hold and lift ladders. The ladder lift is a frequent exercise performed during fire service fitness tests. The primary purpose of this test is to examine lower and upper body strength in a practical setting.

In most instances, you’ll perform this test using the ‘bar of a ladder,’ instead of an entire ladder. You must be able to raise a 30-kg bar from a resting position to a height of at least 190 cm. This resting position might vary if you are particularly tall or short.

Ladder Climb

Another standard fire service fitness test is the ladder climb. In most cases, you will use a 13.5-metre fire ladder for this exercise. There will be a designated point on the ladder that you must reach.
Not only will you need to climb the ladder to a designated height, but you will also need to lock your legs around the ladder, turn around, and identify a symbol near the instructor.

Don’t worry: The ladder will be secured and you likely will have a harness to catch you if something goes wrong.

Casualty Drag

If you are to be a firefighter, you must also be able to drag a human body from a burning building. The casualty drag is an exercise that simulates this action.

This fitness test requires the use of a 55-kg dummy. You will need to drag the dummy at least 30 metres while walking backwards. This test also examines your lower and upper body strength, as well as your endurance.

In some cases, you might have to navigate the dummy through multiple cones.

Enclosed Space

If you become a firefighter, there might come a time when you need to navigate an enclosed space with limited visibility. This exercise is as much a mental test as it is a fitness test because it determines whether you can handle tight spaces without panicking.

In this exercise, you will wear an oxygen mask and climb through a confined space. In many cases, it may resemble a maze or air duct. When you reach a certain point, an instructor will place a blindfold over your eyes and require you to return to the starting point without any visual capabilities.

Equipment Assembly


While assembling fire equipment might not seem like a physical test, it can be challenging to set up industrial equipment while wearing full firefighter gear.

The equipment assembly test will require you to assemble a portable pump while wearing your firefighter equipment. In many cases, you will also have to disassemble it.

Equipment Carry


In some ways, the equipment-carry exercise is like the casualty drag, except you won’t have to walk backwards. With the equipment carry, you must carry various hose reels and drums around specific targets.

Preparing for Your Fire Service Fitness Tests


Once you decide to apply for the fire service, you must begin training for your fitness tests. As you might imagine, there are hundreds of exercises you can use to prepare yourself for your fitness tests. No matter what type of exercises you choose, focus on increasing your overall fitness in the weeks leading up to the exam.

A mixture of cardio and weightlifting exercises will help you achieve the level of fitness you need to be successful. There are even some fitness centres that will allow you to train for these tests.

Keep Track of Fitness Metrics


If you’re preparing for the fire service fitness tests, you need to push yourself to be as ready as possible. At Pro Health Analytics, our cloud-based platform centralises your health data to help you analyse key metrics. It’s also a useful tool for organisations that want to keep track of employee health information. It’s power time!

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