Firefighter Fitness series

Ever wanted to be in the fire service? Want to know how to train to improve your chances of passing the entry test? Or if you want to mix up your training then training like a fire-fighter could be what you’re looking for.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be talking about how fire-fighters should train, how they get fit for the job, what the job requires physically and how both serving fire-fighters and members of the public can train to be fit and strong for duty.

What do I know?

I joined the fire service in 2008, and have been full time in Manchester ever since. In Greater Manchester we are the 2nd busiest service in the UK and have a metropolitan population of over 2.5 million people.

On top of that I have 15 plus years of training experience under my belt, I own The Fit Controller Private Gym and am a fully qualified PT.

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Fire fit? What’s required?

So what’s required to be fit for service? Well that’s an interesting question at the moment. For the recruitment test, well not that much. A decent level of fitness will get you through the bleep test to a level of 9.4. That’s the absolute basic level, if you can’t reach that then go away and just get fitter.

After that the tests are currently changing. So prepare for the new one. And this is what you’ll need to think about and how to train for it.

The fire ground fitness test involves wearing fire kit and performing a number of drill yard tests in a circuit, the test is timed and training will be required. The most important components of the test are:

Pulling / dragging force. – You will be expected to drag dummy casualties and pull fire hose.

Equipment carry. – Obvious one really, carry length of hose over a designated distance, also carrying other pieces of equipment.

Hose running. – Running out fire hose over a course of 25m various times, the hose has to be run out as per operational technique, at shoulder height.

Moving in fire kit. – As it says on the tin, get used to running and walking in boots and heavy, hot clothing.

The most effective way to train for the fire service is a dynamic and varied approach to fitness, strength is a vital component of the job, and is actually much more important than being overly quick. We don’t run when carrying equipment or wearing breathing apparatus (except for hose) But you may be asked to climb up a tower block carrying gear in full kit, so sustained weight bearing fitness is vital. Our equipment is heavy, and you often have to hold it for a long time, so strength is also vital.

This advice is just a starting point, the series will progress and I’ll post workouts and more detailed training techniques in the coming weeks, in the mean time, if you have any questions please contact Tom.

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