Practical selection tests (PSTs)

Details of the seven tests which form part of the PST. Other tests on the day to check attributes including numeracy and upper body strength.

Practical selection tests (PSTs)

The practical selection tests (PSTs) evaluate your ability to perform physical tasks required in the role of a firefighter. These tests assess your fitness, strength, manual dexterity, and confidence in simulated exercises.  

Before each test, the assessor provides a test brief and detailed instructions. They will ensure candidates understand the instructions and can ask questions if needed.  

The practical selection testing includes seven specific tests. There is also the possibility of additional. These would be looking at attributes such as numeracy and upper body strength.

Ladder climb

A test of confidence whilst working at height. An instructor will first demonstrate before the candidates start the test. The candidates will perform a leg lock just above ground level before starting the test.

The test will have the candidates wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). They will also have a harness attached to a fall-arrest system.  

Candidates must:  

  • ascend a 13.5 metre ladder  
  • extended to the third floor of the drill tower to two-thirds of its height  
  • demonstrate a leg lock

The candidate will then lean back with arms outstretched to the side. Looking down to the Test Instructor, they must identify and call out a symbol that they will hold up. The candidate will then descend in the correct manner demonstrated.

Ladder extension

The test assesses physical ability and upper body strength. It does this by using an apparatus which simulates a standard aluminium 10.5/13.5m Fire Service Ladder.

You must use the extending line to fully extend the ladder. It will automatically pawl (lock in position).

Ladder extension to lower

After performing a ladder extension, you will release the pawl and house (lower) the ladder in a controlled manner.  

Extending and lowering the ladder in this manner equates to controlling the weight of approximately 42kg. 

Casualty evacuation

This is a test of lower and upper body strength. Candidates wearing full PPE are required to move a 55 kg casualty.   

The candidates will move the casualty a set distance, around a cone and back to the start point. This test will be timed.

Working in confined spaces

The test looks at evaluating confidence, agility and possible claustrophobia whilst working in an enclosed space.  

Candidates wearing full PPE and a breathing apparatus facemask will negotiate a measured crawl-way within a set time. The crawl-way is a series of tunnels.  

Candidates will feel with their hands to the left, right, above and below to find the route. There are also obstacles to negotiate along the way. Candidates will be evaluated on their communication and teamwork skills while working as part of a team.

Equipment assembly

A test of manual dexterity, candidates will assemble and disassemble a ram unit while wearing full PPE. The pieces will be laid out in the correct order and the photos will be displayed next to the assembly point.  

The unit will be assembled completely and correctly before moving on. The Assessor will then give you the signal to start disassembling the unit in reverse order. Each item should be placed back on the board in the correct position.

Equipment carry

A test of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and stamina. Candidates wearing full PPE will be required to: 

  • Pick up the hose reel from an appliance and run with it for one length (25 metres) to the cone. They will then jog back (25 metres) to the start.  
  • Pick up two coiled 70mm red hose by the handles and carry them up and down the course for four lengths (100 metres), then place one back at the start. The weight of each hose is 13.5kg  
  • With the remaining coiled 70mm red hose, pick it up by the centre lugs and carry at chest height down to the cone 25 metres away. Place it down and then jog three lengths (75 metres) to return to the start.  The weight of hose is 13.5kg  
  • Pick up and carry the 2.4 metre suction hose (hard hose) and basket strainer for four lengths (100 metres). Then place them back down and jog four lengths (100 metres) of the course. The weight of hose is 11kg and the weight of basket strainer is 3kg  
  • Finally, candidates will pick up and carry the powerbag up and down the course for four lengths (100 metres). The weight of the powerbag is 27.5kg 

Hose running exercise (Not required for on call firefighters)

A test of the candidate’s upper body strength and muscular endurance. Candidates will roll out and carry four standard lengths of fire service hose over a distance of 100 metres.

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