Clinical Assessment

Stage Two, Part Two - Clinical Assessment

Applicants must demonstrate a level of physical fitness required of entry-level firefighters.  Physical fitness is an integral component of firefighting. A commitment to a life-long fitness regime is essential to safely performing firefighter duties. To prepare for the intense physical demands of recruit training and for a career as a firefighter, applicants should already be following and maintaining a total body program specific to the job that focuses on flexibility, cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength and power, muscular endurance and healthy body composition.

The Clinical Assessment comprises of the following:

• Pre-Appraisal Screening
• Trunk Flexibility
• 60 Second Sit-Up Test
• VO2 Max Test (Maximal Oxygen Consumption)

Avoid eating or drinking (other than a small amount of water) for at least 2-3 hours prior to this assessment. DO NOT drink coffee (no caffeine), energy drinks or alcoholic beverages 12 hours prior to your evaluation. These can elevate your blood pressure and/or heart rate which could lead to the inability to pass your pre-screening leaving you unable to proceed with the assessment. Avoid any exercise 4 hours prior to this evaluation or intense exercise for 24 hours prior to testing.  Ensure you use the restroom before participating in this assessment. 

Please Note:  Candidates who are pregnant should obtain medical clearance before registering and participating in the Clinical Assessment.  Please contact the OFAI Administration office for more information.

Pre-appraisal screening

All candidates will participate in the pre-appraisal screening before continuing with the Clinical Assessment.  A series of questions will be asked by the medical officer.  In addition, the Informed Consent for Clinical Evaluation form, the ParQPlus form, and if required, Physician Physical Activity Readiness Clearance form must be completed to identify those candidates for whom certain physical activities might be inappropriate.  Anyone answering YES to any questions on the ParQPlus Form MUST get their Physician to complete at Physician Physical Activity Readiness Clearance form before they can continue with testing.  If you are pregnant clearance from your health care practitioner, your physician, a qualified exercise professional, and/or complete the PARmed-X for Pregnancy before engaging in physical testing.

Informed Consent for Clinical Evaluations Form

ParQPlus Form

Physician Physical Activity Readiness Clearance Form

Candidates are given up to six readings for blood pressure and resting heart rate.  If after the first reading, your pulse and/or blood pressure exceeds the required level you will be asked to rest in the cafeteria and come back at a specific time.  If your readings are still high after the third attempt, you will be required to sign your consent form before continuing with additional readings. If after six readings, your vitals are still outside of the expected range, you will not be able to continue with your assessment that day.  Please contact the OFAI Administration office to re-schedule your assessment at 905-426-9865.  If you do not pass your pre-appraisal screening, this is not considered a fail, it is just not safe to proceed with physical testing and alternative arrangements can be made. Please note: we do not accept doctor’s notes with respect to your blood pressure and/or heart rate. Your readings must be within the expected range during the pre-appraisal screening in order to proceed with the assessment. This is both for your personal safety and the safety of our Clinicians.

Body Composition:  Candidates will be evaluated using the Omron® Fat Loss Monitor.  This is a hand-held device that measures body-fat percentage and body mass index (BMI) using bioelectrical impedance. The Fat Loss Monitor displays the estimated value of body fat percentage by the Bioelectrical Impedance (BI) method and indicates the Body Mass Index (BMI) range with the BMI classification bar.  Muscles, blood vessels and bones have a high water content that conduct electricity easily.Body fat does not hold water, therefore it has low electricalconductivity.The Fat Loss Monitor sends an extremely low-level electrical current of 50 kHz and 500 µA through your body to determine the amount of fat tissue. This weak current is safe and not felt while operating the Fat Loss Monitor.This monitor cannot be used with a cardiac pacemaker or other implanted medical devices. Pregnant women (or suspicion of pregnancy) should not use this device. 

Body Fat Ranges for Standard Adults

Gender

Women

Men

AGE

18 - 39 yrs old

40 – 59 yrs old

18 - 39 yrs old

40 – 59 yrs old

Target Range

0 - 38

0 - 39

0 - 24

0 - 27

The BMI reading is not a pass/fail. It is used as a pre-screening measure only. Candidates who fall outside the target range for their gender and age group can still participate in testing.

Once each component of the pre-appraisal screening is successfully completed, the candidate is cleared to participate in the clinical assessment.

60 Second Sit-Up Test

Candidates will perform sit-ups at a maximal rate for one minute (60 seconds).Candidates will lie in a supine (face upwards) position and rest their head on a mat. With their arms folded across their chest, candidates will bend their knees at a 90° angle while an evaluator’s assistant anchors their feet. The candidate will move up and down in a continuous manner while bending at their hips. Candidates will perform sit-ups at a maximal rate. This test will last 1 minute in duration.

Violations include failure to touch the knees with elbows and failure to return to the starting position (shoulder blades on the mat).

This assessment is based on the amount of sit-ups completed in 60 seconds based on your age/gender as per the chart below.

60 Second Sit–up Test (Men) (# of sit-ups)

AGE

18 – 25

26 – 35

36 – 45

46 – 55

56 – 65

Pass

> 35

> 31

> 27

> 22

> 17

60 Second Sit – up Test (Women) (# of sit-ups)

AGE

18 – 25

26 – 35

36 – 45

46 – 55

56 – 65

Pass

> 29

> 25

> 19

> 14

> 10

Trunk Flexibility

Trunk flexibility or, sit and reach test, is an important functional measure of hip region flexibility, including the lower back and hamstring muscles (the back of the legs). Generally, lack of flexibility in this region is associated with an increased risk of injury, and specifically is implicated in lumbar lordosis, forward pelvic tilt and lower back pain.  The candidate will place one hand on top of the other and extend their arms forward as far as possible along the measuring scale by pushing the measurement cursor.

Candidates will be required to stretch the major muscle groups and torso before performing this test. Candidates will remove their shoes and sit down with their legs fully extended and the soles of their feet placed flat against the trunk flex-o-meter. The candidate will place one hand on top of the other and extend their arms forward as far as possible along the measuring scale by pushing the measurement cursor. 

The candidate will perform three trials. On the third trial, the candidate will hold the position for at least one second to determine maximum trunk flexion. Trunk flexibility will be measured in inches and rated on a scale relative to the candidate's gender and age. The candidate is allowed one violation before the test is terminated, except for on the fourth trial.  Violations on this test include, bending at the knees, holding your knees down, sliding the measurement cursor.

Flexibility- Sit and Reach (Males) (inches)

AGE 18-20 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59
Pass >16.5 >16.5 >15.5 >14.3 >13.3

Flexibility- Sit and Reach (Females) (inches)

AGE  18-20 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59
Pass >20.5 >19.3 >18.3 >17.3 >16.8

Aerobic Fitness Evaluation

Firefighting is considered one of the most strenuous occupations, combining excessive psychological, physiological and biochemical strain while the individual is being exposed to inherent dangers and potentially hazardous environmental conditions. The wearing of protective equipment and heavy exercise burden combine to place a high demand on the cardiovascular system which can result in adverse physiological and psychological outcomes.  The IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative (WFI) acknowledges the importance of a high cardiorespiratory fitness to safely perform  necessary duties of the fire service.  In order to assess cardiorespiratory fitness, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) will be measured during a progressive, incremental treadmill protocol developed as part of the IAFF/IAFC WFI initiative to determine the candidates ability to withstand high rates of oxygen consumption due to strenuous exercise, heavy clothing, equipment (such as self-contained breathing apparatus), and high temperatures.  During the WFI treadmill protocol maximum oxygen uptake, defined as the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can utilize during intense exercise, will be determined using direct gas analysis and expressed in milliliters of oxygen per minute per kilogram of body mass (mL∙kg-1∙min-1). 

The accepted minimum standard for OFAI pre-service candidates using the WFI treadmill protocol is outlined in the table below

Maximal Oxygen Uptake for Men (ml/kg/min)

 

18-29 yrs old

30-39 yrs old

40-49 yrs old

50-59 yrs old

60+    yrs old

Pass

> 50

> 45

> 43

> 36

> 33

Fail

0 - 49

0 - 44

0 - 42

0 - 35

0 - 32

 
Maximal Oxygen Uptake for Women (ml/kg/min)

 

18-29 yrs old

30-39 yrs old

40-49 yrs old

50-59 yrs old

60+    yrs old

Pass

> 42

> 40

> 35

> 34

> 33

Fail

0 - 41

0 - 39

0 - 34

0 - 33

0 - 32

Standard was adopted from the CSEP-Physical Activity Training for Health (CSEP-PATH) Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology – Gold Standard in Exercise for Aerobic Fitness, 2013.  Pass is representative of the high range of the “good” zone stratified for age and gender.

This minimum standard is combined with the CPAT as the two pre-employment fitness assessments that measure the candidate’s minimal physical fitness level and ability to perform essential tasks as a first responder.    

The candidate will walk on a flat motorized treadmill at a speed of 3 mph, 0% grade for 3 minute steady state. After 3 minutes the speed will be increased to 4.5 mph for an additional minute before a series of one-minute intervals, alternating grade (2%) and speed (0.5 mph).  The alternating speed and grade increases will continue each minute until the candidate can no longer continue due to volitional fatigue.  Following testing, a 3 min cool down will be performed, as outlined below.

Modified IAFF WFI Treadmill Protocol

Treadmill protocol has been adapted from the IAFF WFI fitness assessment protocol.  International Association of Fire Fighters. The Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative.  Washington, D.C.: International Association of Fire Fighters; 1999 (revised 2008).

During the treadmill test, the candidate will be outfitted with a mask that allows testing with maximum patient comfort and at any exercise intensity. Made of silicone rubber (no latex or other allergic material) the mask guarantees maximum seal and no air leaks.  You will also be outfitted with a heat rate monitor that is wrapped easily around your chest using a chest strap which provides no discomfort and is specifically designed to stretch during rigorous body movement.

At the end of the test you will be asked to rate your experience and overall exertion you felt during the test, based on the BORG Scale. This rating is used for clinical purposes only and has no bearing on the results of your assessment

Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion

Important Notes Regarding the Clinical Assessment:

Please consume a healthy meal prior to arriving at FESTI on the day of your assessment.  Upon arriving you will be advised to avoid eating or drinking (other than a small amount of water) for approximately 2-3 hours prior to the clinical assessment procedures.  DO NOT drink coffee (no caffeine), energy drinks or alcoholic beverages 12 hours prior to your evaluation. These can elevate your blood pressure and/or heart rate which could lead to the inability to pass your pre-screening leaving you unable to proceed with the assessment.  Avoid all exercise 4 hours prior to this evaluation or intense exercise for 24 hours prior to testing.  Ensure you use the restroom before participating in this assessment. Candidates are encouraged to be clean shaven for this assessment. Facial hair can cause the mask to have an improper seal leading to air leakage which may result in a failure of this assessment. 

Important:  Candidates are required to consult with their physician if they answer “Yes” to any questions on the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q+ Form). Candidates will be required to have their physician complete the Physician Physical Activity Readiness Clearance Form prior to being allowed to participate in the Clinical Assessment.

Cost: $100.00 plus HST

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