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Testing & Employment Process
Clarksville Fire Rescue tests for firefighters once a year. All segments of the testing process are pass/fail.
WHAT IS THE FIREFIGHTER ENTRY LEVEL EXAM?
The exam consists of three phases.
PHASE 1 – WRITTEN EXAM
The test is multiple choice and normally takes about two hours to complete.
As soon as possible after the written exam, applicants who passed will be notified of the date they will be taking the physical ability test. If you pass both the written and the physical ability test you will go before the Interview Board. The Interview Board will then provide the Fire Chief with a list of the top candidates based on the successful completion of the Physical ability test, and the aggregate scores of the oral interview, and the written test. The Fire Chief will interview a certain number of the candidates (which number is based on the needs of the Fire Department). A list will be compiled of a yet to be named number of candidates who will be on the hiring list for at least a year.
PHASE II – PHYSICAL ABILITY TEST
The physical ability test is designed to test a person’s endurance and ability to perform basic strenuous tasks that professional firefighters must perform. The test is a series of seven tasks that are simulations of actual tasks performed on the job. The first six (6) tasks must be performed in eight (8) minutes or less to proceed to task seven (7). Task seven (7) must be performed in five (5) minutes. The physical ability test is scored on a pass/fail basis. This phase of the testing is performed after the written exam. Only those who pass the written test will be allowed to take the physical ability test.
It must be emphasized that regardless of a person’s level of fitness, they should be in good health before beginning any training program. A physical training program that emphasizes cardio respiratory fitness, strength, and muscular endurance can accomplish preparation for the physical ability test. It is especially important that small framed individuals and individuals whose current jobs do not require physical exertion prepare more conscientiously for the test. Most people can improve their level of physical fitness through an intensive training program that includes running for cardio respiratory fitness and weight lifting for muscular strength.
Applicants tend to underestimate the difficulty of the physical ability test and the effects it can have on them physically. To help minimize effects, please follow these guidelines:
Drink plenty of water 1 to 2 hours prior to the ability test
Completely avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages for at least 48 hours prior to the test
Avoid the use of any over the counter medication for 48 hours. In particular, you should avoid aspirin containing products as well as the non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory agents (Advil, Nuprin, Motrin, Medipren, Midol, etc). In addition, you should avoid products containing acetaminophen (Tylenol) and any decongestants, cold pill, and dietetics.
Avoid strenuous exercise for 48 hours prior to the test.
Note: All applicants must sign a release of liability form before performing the physical ability test.
The following is a description of the Seven (7) tasks that must be completed. The first six tasks must be completed in eight (8) minutes or less and task seven (7) must be completed in five (5) minutes or less in order to pass the physical ability test. Keep in mind that these tasks are performed while wearing a 40 - 50 pound weighted vest, helmet and gloves.
NOTE: Applicants shall wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants that cover the entire knee for safety reasons. If the candidate does not meet this requirement by their physical ability test time, you will be disqualified.
1 – HYDRANT OPERATION
Task Description: Perform eight (8) full revolutions of a fire hydrant valve stem using a hydrant wrench.
Method of Task: While standing at a fire hydrant, the applicant must perform eight (8) complete revolutions of the hydrant valve stem with a hydrant wrench. The applicant may stand in place or push the wrench around the hydrant.
Job Function: Firefighters are required to operate fire hydrants during emergency firefighting and during hydrant testing and maintenance programs as well as during certain work details. While the average fire hydrant begins to flow water after approximately four (4) turns of the stem, it usually requires thirteen to fifteen (13-15) full turns to completely open the hydrant. Fire hydrants require the most force on the first four to six (4-6) turns of the valve stem, and then it becomes easier to turn.
NOTE: applicant will be disqualified if unable to open fire hydrant
2 – HOSE DRAG
Task Description: Extend 150 feet of 2-1/2 inch fire hose and nozzle
Method of Task: The applicant will approach 150 feet of dry 2-1/2 inch fire hose and nozzle, which is arranged in an accordion fold. The applicant then moves forward until the entire 150 feet of the hose is stretched out.
Job Function: 2-1/2 inch fire hose is carried on all pumpers. A firefighter operating the nozzle at a fire scene is responsible for extending the line up to the entry and occasionally for hand laying the hose to a fire hydrant.
NOTE: applicant will be disqualified if the entire length of line cannot be advanced without stopping.
3 – FORCIBLE ENTRY SIMULATOR
Task Description: Move a 158 pound beam 5 feet with a ten (10) pound sledgehammer.
Method of Task: While standing on a simulator, the applicant must strike a beam, with enough force to move it 5 feet). A penalty of 10 seconds will be added to an applicant’s total time if the applicant strikes the beam with the handle.
Job Function: In order to force entry into a structure a firefighter may be required to strike the door a minimum of fifty (50) times. This normally is accomplished using a ten (10) pound sledge hammer.
NOTE: applicant will be disqualified if they hook or drag the beam with the hammer.
4 – ATTIC CRAWL
Task Description: The applicant will crawl on hands and knees on rafters that are 24 inches apart, through a ground level attic prop.
Method of Task: The applicant will enter the attic prop where instructed, crawl completely through, step out, re-enter the opposite side and crawl completely through again as quickly as possible. Ten (10) seconds will be added to the applicant’s total time each time a part of the body drops between and below the rafters and touches the ground.
Job Function: Crawling through attics and confined spaces in full gear is a routine part of a firefighter’s duties. In order to reach smoldering fires, or to check for fire extension, the firefighter must enter the attic or other confined spaces and most times crawl to the necessary location. If a part of the body drops below the rafters and through the ceiling, unnecessary damage is done to the ceiling. This can also result in injury to the firefighter or persons standing below.
NOTE: applicant will be disqualified if unable to complete this task.
5 – HOSE RAISE
Task Description: go to the top of the tower and fully raise 1 section of 1 ¾ fire hose (35 lbs.) to the top floor by using the attached rope.
Method of Task: The applicant will move to the top floor of the training tower and fully raise a rolled section of hose. Allowing the rope to slip through the hands is an unsafe practice and is unacceptable. A penalty of 10 seconds will be added to an applicant’s total time if the rope slips significant distance as determined by the test proctors.
Job Function: Raising a section of hose or other equipment is a common routine task done on a fire scene by a Firefighter. At times, in order to quickly and safely move a section of fire hose, equipment, and other appliances up to various floors is done to rapidly accomplish a task. It is often done when the conventional means may not be safe, the amount of equipment it may take, or the manpower needed to accomplish the same task as using a rope to pull up an item.
NOTE: applicant will be disqualified if the hose falls all the way to the ground or is unable to get the hose over the top rail and into the box.
6 – MANNEQUIN DRAG
Task Description: Drag a 165 pound mannequin 100 feet.
Method of Task: Applicant must drag a 165 pound mannequin 100 feet to the finish line as quickly as possible.
Job Function: When performing a rescue in an emergency situation, most adults are not carried from a building, but rather, a firefighter drags them to a safe location. It is not unusual to travel a distance of 100 feet or more.
NOTE: Applicant will be disqualified if he or she cannot complete the first (6) task before the max time expires (8:00).
Applicant may rest up to ten (10) minutes maximum following the mannequin drag.
7 – AERIAL CLIMB
Task Description: Climb the Aerial ladder all the way to the platform, and return to the bottom.
Method of Task: Applicant must climb a fully extended aerial ladder while wearing helmet and fire department gloves; NO Weighted Vest. The rest period between the mannequin drag and the aerial climb shall not exceed ten (10) minutes.
Job Function: Firefighters are required to climb aerial ladders to perform rescue manuevers from high angle situations, as well as Fire Control from elevated Fire Streams.
Time Requirement for aerial climb: Five (5:00) minutes
NOTE: Applicant will be disqualified if unable to climb the Aerial Ladder, or if they are unable to climb all the way to the platform, and return to the bottom (Turntable) in the required time of five minutes.
PHASE III – INTERVIEWS
The top candidates (totaling 3 times the number of vacancies) from phase 1 and 2 will be interviewed by the interview board. These candidates will be ranked and forwarded to the chief for interview and selection.
IF YOU ARE LATE FOR ANY OF THE PHASES OF THE TESTING PROCESS, YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED!!!
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Minimum high school diploma or general educational development (GED)
- No felony conviction
- Possess valid Tennessee driver’s license
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Completely fill out application for employment and authorization to release information
- Pass extensive background check
- Pass drug screen as well as random testing
- Beginning salary - $36.531
- State retirement plan
- Paid vacation leave
- Medical and dental insurance
- Longevity pay
- Earned sick leave
- Uniforms and equipment provided
- Military, reserve, and national guard leave