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Applicants for Probationary Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Paramedic and Probationary Firefighter must complete all 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.

Tests are scheduled via email, by appointment only. 

Before the Test

In order to participate in the Physical Ability Test, and depending upon which position you are applying for, candidates must have completed one of the following forms: 

The authorization form must signed by a doctor. Be sure to allow your doctor enough time to complete either of these forms.

All candidates also need to complete an 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.

Practice Sessions

Applicants will be invited by email to attend practice sessions at the Fire Rescue Academy in Sparrows Point. Practice sessions will include review and practice of each station in the Physical Ability Test course. Applicants will also have the opportunity to speak with current career Fire Department members.

Test Course for Probationary EMTs

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

Watch a video of the EMT Physical Ability Test course.

For Stations 3 through 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Station 4: Barrier

    Applicants must climb over a 42-inch-high barrier.

  5. Station 5: Stair Chair and Stretch 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Image of a Fire Department employee assembling nuts and bolts.
    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.

      

  

Test Course for Probationary Firefighters

Watch a video of the Firefighter Physical Ability Test course.

For Stations 2 to 9, applicants will don a 50-pound weighted vest in addition to the hard hat and gloves required in Station 1. They are timed continuously from Station 2 through Station 9. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Station 2: 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.

  3. Station 3: Barrier

    Applicants must climb over a 42-inch high barrier.

  4. Station 4: Weighted Pull-Down and Pole Raise

    The applicant will pull down on a eight-foot pike pole attached to a prop ten times with 60 pounds of resistance. Then, the applicant will reposition the pole to push the weighted prop up 10 times, fully extending the prop with each evolution. The pole is then returned to the starting position.

  5. Station 5: Stair Climb

    Applicants climb stairs five floors of the building and call out "fire." 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.

  6. Station 6: Ladder Extension

    Applicant will fully extend, hand-over-hand, a stationary 35-foot ladder and it lower back down. Control must be maintained during this task.

  7. Station 7: High Rise Pack Carry and Equipment Raise

    Pick-up 52-pound high rise pack and drape strap over shoulder. Carry high rise pack up three floors and place pack in marked square. Raise a 25-pound rolled hose by rope, hand-over-hand, until the mark on the rope extends past the top rail and lower using same hand-over-hand method while. Control must be maintained. Pick up high rise pack and return to ground level. Applicants can use handrails for balance.

  8. Station 8: Maze

    Applicant will enter the building and crawl through a 17-foot by 3-foot tubular maze and exit on the other side of the building.

  9. Station 9: Hose Drag

    The Applicant will drag an 85-foot long, 3-inch diameter hose for 48 feet. Then, he or she will go down on one knee and hand-over-hand pull the hose for 30 feet and release the hose. Applicant will walk to the far end of the hose, pick up and drag hose 85 feet and release.

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Contact

Fire Headquarters

Public Safety Building
700 East Joppa Road
Towson, Maryland 21286

Hours:

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Request Contact:

Phone:

Main Phone Number:
410-887-4500

Emergency Medical Services:
410-887-4860

Fax

410-853-1883

Fire Chief:

 
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