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Many people worry that they aren’t fit enough or strong enough to be a firefighter when this probably isn’t the case. Being a firefighter is a physical job, but with the right training most people can reach the average level of fitness that we require.

Our Fitness Team are here to support you throughout the National Firefighter Physical Tests to ensure you understand what’s involved and inform you on how you can improve your fitness level.

The exercises test your level of cardiovascular and muscular strength/endurance.

Some of this may sound intimidating but don’t forget that you’ll be invited to try some of these activities out before a full assessment day so that you’re confident and informed. And if you struggle we’ll support you in understanding where your weak areas are so you can come and try again another time.

Make sure to follow our Fitness Team on Instagram for more fitness advice.

Have you seen our new fitness training programme? Starting from the very first warm-up, it gives tips on how to improve both aerobic fitness and strength and helps you create a personalised plan to prepare for our tests and get yourself firefighter fit. You can download a copy to keep. 

Aerobic fitness test

You will have the choice of two aerobic fitness tests – either the Bleep Test or the Chester Treadmill Test.

The bleep test and involves running between two points which are 20 metres apart. You’ll need to get to level 8.8 to pass, which means eight shuttle runs into level eight.

The Chester Treadmill Test is performed at a set speed of 6.2kmph (3.9mph). The test lasts for 12 minutes and every 2 minutes the treadmill incline is increased by 3%. You must walk for the duration of the test and not hold on at any point.

Ladder climb

This ensures you’re confident at working at height.

Ladder lift

A strength test to ensure you can lift a ladder.

Casualty evacuation

Also known as a dummy drag, this will test your upper and lower strength.

Confined space test

Making sure you’re not claustrophobic and have confidence manoeuvring through tight spaces while wearing equipment.

Equipment carry

This tests your aerobic fitness, strength and stamina.

Equipment assembly

Also known as the manual dexterity test, here you will put a piece of equipment together using a step by step instructional guide.

Further support

Make sure to follow our Fitness Team on Instagram for more fitness advice.

Have you seen our new fitness training programme? Starting from the very first warm-up, it gives tips on how to improve both aerobic fitness and strength and helps you create a personalised plan to prepare for our tests and get yourself firefighter fit. You can download a copy to keep.

See what some of our current On Call Fire Fighters are saying about their roles

Bradley Valentine

Bradley Valentine works full time for a removals company...

Bradley Valentine works full time for a removals company and has been an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station for a year and a half.

He always wanted to be a firefighter after firefighters saved his life following a serious road traffic collision when he was 10-years-old. 

Bradley was worried that he couldn’t join because he is dyslexic.

“It’s been the complete opposite,” says Bradley. “Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been amazing. They have helped me so much and were able to give me support for the written and practice assessments. 

“I would recommend the role to anyone, even if you have got disabilities. It shouldn’t affect you at all. It’s such an incredible feeling knowing that you’ve saved a life and are helping people. 

“If you’ve got the time and you want to give some time and give something back to the community, then apply. You can come in and have a look at the station to see what the role entails and go from there.

Bradley is able to provide cover during the evenings and weekends. If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Teresa, you could be an on-call firefighter. 

Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb

Teresa Claxton

Self-employed hairdresser Teresa Claxton is paid to protect her...

Self-employed hairdresser Teresa Claxton is paid to protect her community as an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station.

She received a leaflet through her door one day from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service advertising an on-call firefighter role in Great Baddow and decided to apply.

She said: “It took me a whole year to get to the fitness standard but it was lockdown so I had plenty of time to train. You’ve got to get fit for the role. I had to learn to run, learn to lift and getting up the ladders has been a challenge climbing that height. But I’ve done it, and it’s the best job.

“The role is exhilarating, every day has been a challenge but it’s good, I like a challenge. Being an on-call firefighter is the polar opposite to being a hairdresser.

“It fits in really well with my job. I work for myself so I can provide cover for whatever hours are needed to fill in the gaps. There’s not a lot of worries for me during the day at the moment, but it works out that I provide cover two days a week and every evening and night.

“I’ve had great support from everyone I’ve met within the service and this has really helped to build my confidence and encourage me to continue even when I’ve had doubts.

“I’ve covered all kinds of topics which I’d never given a thought to before, such as electricity and shipping!”

If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Teresa, you could be an on-call firefighter.

Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb

Sean Goodchild

Thirty-seven-year-old Sean Goodchild is a security officer for the...

Thirty-seven-year-old Sean Goodchild is a security officer for the Ministry of Defence who is also paid to protect his community as an on-call firefighter.

Sean has always had an interest in the Fire Service so he became an on-call firefighter at Great Baddow Fire Station.

He said: “I joined the fire service mainly because I have always had an interest in it but also – it fits in perfectly around my job and my family life.

“In my main job, I work a shift pattern consisting of two days followed by two nights then four days off and during these days off are when I cover most of my required on-call 90 hours. I also have the option of covering some evenings and days while I’m home from London after a shift, which in truth, actually means I cover a lot of hours while I’m at home asleep!

“I enjoy that I pick the hours I wish to cover and although a 90 hours per week contract sounds a lot, it is easily managed (I even get to do the school runs most days).

“Every time my pager alerts me to a shout and I fly down the station to get my fire gear on, I get satisfaction knowing that my crew and I are helping the community, nearly every shout is something different and I feel a sense of pride to know that we’ve helped.

“If its suits your lifestyle and you live within 5 minutes of your local on-call fire station I would highly recommend you apply to be a firefighter and help your community.”

If you live or work within 5 minutes of Great Baddow Fire Station like Sean, you could be an on-call firefighter. 

Find out more at essex-fire.gov.uk/gb