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Probationary Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedics

Physical Ability Test

Applicants for Probationary Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic  must complete all seven stations of the Physical Ability Test. Each station tests a different combination of job-related skills. Each applicant will be timed separately as he or she performs the test. The overall time is a key component of the applicant's overall consideration in the hiring process. A video of the Physical Ability Test course is available to assist candidates with preparing to take the test.

Image of a Fire Department employee going over the Barrier Station.

Station 1: Ladder Climb

Applicants must climb – one rung at a time – a 24-foot, pre-thrown, secured ladder using the hand-over-hand method. Applicants will climb to the top, touch the top rail and descend back down, using the same method. They must complete this task once. This station is pass or fail, with a one-minute time limit and is not part of the overall course time. This allows applicants to take their time and perform this task safely.

Station 2: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

The applicant must kneel beside a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) mannequin and perform two minutes of chest compressions, rest for 15 seconds, and perform another two minutes of chest compressions.

Stations 3 to 7

Applicants will don a 38-pound weighted vest in addition to the hard hat and gloves required in Station 1. They are timed continuously from Station 3 through Station 7. Running is not permitted at any time; instead, they are encouraged to maintain a brisk pace. Applicants may rest at any time during the testing. However, the time taken for rest periods will be reflected in the applicant's overall score.

  • Station 3: Rescue Drag
    Applicants must drag a 120-pound tire by the attached rope for 25 feet past a line, turn around and drag the tire back 25 feet passing the starting point. They must complete this task once.
  • Station 4: Barrier
    Applicants must climb over a 42-inch high barrier. 
  • Station 5: Stair Chair and Stretcher Lift
    The applicant will pick up a 38-pound stair chair from a designated location and proceed to the second story roof of the burn building. Once at the second story, he or she places the stair chair in the designated location. Then, the applicant proceeds to an affixed piece of stretcher equipment and raises and lowers it five times. He or she returns to the stair chair, picks it up, returns to the ground level and places it in the original location.
    Image of a Fire Department employee assembling nuts and bolts.
  • Station 6: Stair Climb/Bag Carry
    Applicants will pick up a 19-pound medical bag and drape it over their shoulder. Then, carry the bag to the fifth floor of the building and call out "medic." After receiving acknowledgement, they proceed back down the stairs to the ground floor. The applicant is permitted to use the handrails for balance, but may not skip steps.
  • Station 7: Nut and Bolt Assembly
    This exercise tests the manual dexterity required to perform delicate tasks after physical exertion. Applicants must assemble and disassemble four pairs of nuts and bolts of various sizes while seated.

Physical Ability Test Forms Needed

You must have a Medical Authorization Form (PDF), signed by your doctor, in order to take the Physical Ability Test. Be sure to allow your doctor enough time to complete this form. Applicants who fail to bring a completed and signed form with them will not be allowed to participate in the Physical Ability Test.

In addition, all applicants must complete the Applicant Data Form (PDF) and bring it with them to the Physical Ability Test. At each practice and test session, you will be required to sign a Waiver Form at check-in.

Revised January 21, 2016


Revised April 6, 2016        

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