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Fire Fit Training Guide

As firefighters, we put life first and we train to get it right.

Firefighting is a physically demanding occupation. Tasks include carrying heavy loads including personal protective equipment, handling temperature extremes, variable terrains and confined spaces, all of which impose unique physical and physiological demands upon firefighters.

The FireFit Training Guide is based on an eight to 12-week program, depending on each individual’s fitness level, and is available to help eligible candidates prepare for the Fire and Rescue NSW Physical Aptitude Test (PAT)*.

We have created a series of exercise focused videos called “Train Like a Firefighter” that will show you how each exercise relates to the physical demands required of firefighters.

The PAT is an assessment of the inherent requirements of firefighting and has been designed specifically to identify and recruit individuals who are physiologically capable of tolerating the work-related demands of firefighting.

To successfully complete the PAT, an eligible candidate’s preparation will require regular cardiovascular and resistance training with a program targeted at the specific functional movements associated with firefighting. Please refer to the FireFit Training Guide (PDF) for further advice and a recommended weekly training program created by exercise physiologists.

We encourage you to start training now. Download the Fire Fit Training Guide here (PDF, 3MB)

*Please note the ability to complete this program will not guarantee competency in the PAT.

Train Like a Firefighter video series

Importance of training both strength and endurance

A high degree of strength and endurance is crucial for firefighters to enable the safe and effective execution of operational duties. This includes more than fire, with HAZMAT, Rescue and natural disaster relief jobs contributing to the overall workload.

To best prepare for these tasks, both maximal strength and muscular endurance should be targeted and depending on your focus, this will influence the weights and repetitions used in the gym.

Vertical push progressions

Many firefighting tasks need real upper body strength. Like carrying and raising ladders, that are heavy and awkward to handle. To train for this, practice vertical push progressions with a focus on maximum strength.

Split squat and step ups

Many operational tasks require heavy objects to be carried or dragged through varying terrains. This includes up and down stairs, through the bush or in confined spaces. To prepare for this, firefighters train by doing split squats and step ups with a focus on muscular endurance.

Deadlift and squats

Some rescues require firefighters to lift over 100kg. To prepare for this, Firefighters practice deadlifts and squats with a focus on maximum strength. The stronger your squat and deadlift are, the more capacity you will have to lift someone or something off the ground.

Cardiovascular endurance

Firefighters need cardio endurance to perform prolonged jobs. These are often made even harder by hot environments, wearing heavy protective clothing and using heavy equipment. The heart is another muscle in the body that needs to be trained, just like your legs. High intensity interval training is one of the best ways to do this and will improve your cardiovascular endurance.