Medical Screening

Stage Two, Part One - Medical Screening

Ontario Fire Administration Inc. provides pre-employment vision and hearing screening for the position of career firefighter in the province of Ontario. 

The candidate must have the ability to communicate, observe and carry out the skills of a firefighter providing fire protection services including the ability to operate fire apparatus or other vehicles, operation of equipment wearing PPE including a full face piece which may obscure vision (climbing ladders, operating from heights, operating in proximity to electrical lines etc.), operating thermal imaging equipment, heavy equipment and communications equipment in adverse weather conditions, under stressful circumstances, in confined spaces, with limited visibility during emergency and non-emergency incidents. 

The candidate must have adequate hearing in order to hear a victim cry for help, to hear a PASS (personal alert safety system) alarm, to hear noises associated with imminent collapse, or to hear noise associated with changes in the fire pattern. Hearing and the ability to localize sounds is crucial in a fire fighting environment where smoke often minimizes visual cues and there is a high degree of background noise and stress-related distractions. 

The inability to hear sounds of low intensity or to distinguish voice from background noise can lead to failure to respond to imminently hazardous situations and thus lead to life-threatening sudden incapacitation to the member or others depending on the member. 

The Medical Screening consists of vision and hearing tests. The results of this assessment is valid for 12 months.  If you do not pass this assessment, you can re-take it after fifteen days.  You should contact your physician for questions regarding your vision and/or hearing.  You may be required to complete an additional form for re-testing purposes.

  1. Visual Acuity Test. Uncorrected Vision.  Candidates will be asked about their current vision.  You will be instructed to stand behind a line and cover one eye and read lines indicated on a Snellen Chart and then switch eyes and read again.  To pass this assessment, candidates must be able to identify the letters in the 20/30 row in each eye. Absolutely no corrective devices to assist vision are permitt​ed.
  2. Color Vision Examination Ishihara Test.  In this assessment the candidate will view colour plates and be instructed to state the numerals which are seen. This series of plates is designed to provide a test which gives a quick and accurate assessment of color vision deficiency of congenital origin. Each answer should be given without more than three seconds delay. As assessment of the readings of plates 1 to 14 determines the normality or defectiveness of color vision. Candidates must identify 10 or more plates to pass this assessment.
    Note:  If this assessment results in a failure, candidates will be required to take the Farnsworth D-15 Vision Test. 
  3. Farnsworth D-15 Vision Test (Alternative):  Because candidate’s eyes and brains work differently an alternative test is completed if the applicant is unsuccessful with the Ishihara test. The alternative test is the Farnsworth D-15 test which presents colors in a different format still ensuring that the standard for color deficiencies is obtained. This test involves arranging a series of colors in order as they blend from one shade to another to determine the type and severity of the subjects color blindness. You will be instructed to select the color disc, which most closely matches the reference cap and place in the bottom of the box and slide next to the reference cap. You will continue to select the next closest color disc and places each in sequence in the bottom of the box. The testing time should be about 2 minutes. The evaluator will read the chips.  A score of mild or normal will constitute as a pass.  A Medium or strong score will result in a fail.
  4. Depth Perception Test:  Stereo Test - Circles:  This is grade series, which tests fine depth discrimination.  Within each square are four circles.  Only one of the circles has a degree of crossed disparity.  It should appear “forward” of the plane of reference for those having normal fusion.  The design of a circle window establishes a constant distance from test object to reference plane.  Variation in this distance will influence the ability to judge relative depth.  Candidate will put on polarized viewer (glasses), and a picture will be held straight before you.  You will then be instructed to “look at each of the four circles within each square and advise which one seems to come out closer to you – top, bottom, right or left. In this sequence, the upper, lower, left or right circle is disparately imaged at random with thresholds ranging from 800 to 40 seconds of arc. The test continues until candidate indicates they are done trying or you make two successive mistakes.
  5. Hearing Assessment: Candidates are tested inside a soundproof booth and must indicate a variety of sounds at different decibels and Hz. Both ears are tested at 500 Hz/db, 1000 Hz/db, 2000 Hz/db and 3000 Hz/db when the audiometric device is calibrated to ANSI Z24.5. Devices to assist hearing are not permitted.

On audiometric testing, permitted hearing loss is no greater than 40 decibels, unaided, in either ear at 500 Hz/db, 1000      Hz/db, 2000 Hz/db and 3000 Hz/db. Hearing loss greater than 40 decibels at each tone, in either ear is considered a fail.

Please note: If you recently underwent laser eye surgery, we recommend you are fully recovered before attempting the Medical Screening. If your vision and/or hearing assessment results are inconclusive you will be required to contact the OFAI Administration office to request a referral form to be completed by an applicable professional.  If the professional indicates you meet our testing standards you will pass your Medical Screening. However, if you do not meet standards, you will fail your Medical Screening and will be unable to proceed with further testing. 

Please Note: Completed referral forms must be returned to the OFAI Administration office no later than 15 business days following your original assessment, otherwise,  you will be required to repeat the Medical Screening at your own expense.

In order for you to take this assessment, you must pass Stage One - National Fire Select Test.  

Cost: $85.00 plus HST

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