Testing - Firefighter/Medic Recruit


The Firefighter/Medic Recruit testing process covers four areas.

  • Written Exam
  • Physical Abilities Test (PAT)
  • Panel Interview

What's Next?

If you understand the testing procedure and have already read the requirements, then head on over to our application page and apply today.

Physical Abilities Test – What to Expect (Newport News)

Watch the PAT Overview Video

The PAT is composed of five events each candidate must execute consecutively. Two official timers/proctors will be with each candidate throughout the test. The PAT is a Pass/Fail phase of the selection process. Successful candidates will complete the course in 10 minutes and 30 seconds or less. These candidates will be eligible to advance to the next phase in the selection process. Those candidates unable to complete the course or taking longer than the 10 minutes and 30 seconds will be disqualified from continuing in the process.

Candidates will be required to sign an Assumption of Risk and Acknowledgment form prior to participation in the PAT.

The two areas most affecting the success of candidates in the PAT are:

  • Upper body strength
  • Cardiovascular stamina

It is in your best interest to consider adopting or incorporating exercises likely to improve these areas into your physical conditioning regimen.

You are encouraged to dress comfortably for physical exertion, including athletic or other non-slip footwear. NNFD will outfit each candidate in turnout clothing (helmet, coat, gloves) and a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) backpack.

Aerial Ladder Climb

Simulates: Climbing an aerial ladder to make a rescue or to fight fire.
Tests: Ability to work from heights.

The candidate shall climb a fully extended aerial ladder (approximately 75′), touch the top rung, and descend the ladder. The candidate will wear a Life Safety belt with a manned belay line attached.

Hose Pull

Simulates: Pulling hose or equipment to upper floors at a fire scene.
Tests: Hand-eye coordination; control of repetitive muscle use; lifting strength.

The candidate shall proceed to the assigned deck of the training tower. Standing behind a clearly marked line, the candidate shall begin pulling a piece of utility rope attached to two 50-foot sections of 3” hose over a hose roller. The event is over when the first 50′ section has been pulled over the hose roller.

Stretcher/Backboard Carry

Simulates: Removal of a patient from the third floor of an apartment when the elevator is out of service.
Tests: Upper body strength; lifting strength; balance; awareness of body position and movement.

The candidate shall proceed from the Hose Pull directly to the Backboard Carry. A 150 lb. (approximately) rescue dummy will be strapped to the backboard, simulating a victim. The candidate will be positioned at the head of the backboard for the first half of the carry and assisted by a fully trained member of the Newport News Fire Department. At the appropriate stairway landing, the candidate and assistant will trade positions and the candidate will conclude the event carrying the foot of the backboard across a clearly marked line on the ground just outside the training tower.

Simulated Rescue

Simulates: Dragging or carrying a victim to safety.
Tests: Upper and lower body strength.

The candidate shall proceed from the backboard carry to the simulated rescue. The candidate shall drag or carry the rescue dummy in a straight line for a distance of 80′.

Joist Walk

Simulates: Walking, at an emergency scene, on attic or unfinished joist construction, while carrying equipment.
Tests: Balance; lifting strength; awareness of body position and movement.

The candidate shall proceed from the Simulated Rescue directly to the Joist Walk. The candidate will lift two medical jump bags and walk the full length (approximately 18′) of the joists, turn around in the prescribed area, and walk back to the start/finish area. If the candidate steps off the joist or uses the cross beams, a five second penalty is assessed for each infraction.

At the conclusion of the PAT, the candidate will be assisted in removing the turnout clothing and SCBA. Water will be readily available. At the Field Coordinator's table, candidates will receive official times as confirmed and recorded by the proctors, obtain Pass or Fail standing, and sign an acknowledgment form.

Got a question? Give us a call at 757-969-1800 or email recruiter@nnva.gov
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