Last modified on November 7, 2023 at 11:20 am

Physical Agility Test Preparation

Thank you for your interest in joining the Elkins Fire Department. The following information will help you study for the Physical Agility Test, which is required to be considered for the firefighter position with the city.

Testing Information

When hiring for a new firefighter, the following physical agility test shall be administered. Each station is outlined along with how it relates to the job of being a firefighter and pass/fail criteria is also stated. While much of these tasks are relatively simple by design, it is important that they are done as described so that each test is comparable to the other with no advantage given.

Each of these tasks is to be completed consecutively and it is a timed event. It is a Pass or Fail event, with an eight (8) minute time limit. Stopping or quitting in the middle of the test will result in automatic failure of the test. The location for this test will be the apparatus bay at the Elkins Fire Department. Any changes in venue may also require minor modifications elsewhere in the course layout. The City of Elkins Fire Department reserves the right to make any changes necessary.

During this test, each candidate shall wear long pants, appropriate closed toe footwear, and long sleeve shirt. Candidates will be provided with a safety helmet, gloves, and a 40 pound weighted vest. Each of these shall be worn throughout the test. Failure to dress as instructed above will prohibit a candidate from the opportunity to take the test and shall result in a disqualification.

The candidate will be guided through the course by an attendant. The attendant will provide the candidate with the name of the next station and guide him/her in the right direction. Assistance at the station will not be given. The attendant will tell the candidate when the task is complete. The attendant has final say on the completion of tasks. For example, if the candidate does not pull the hose completely across the line, the attendant will advise them that they must pull further before the station is complete.

Task 1 - Stair Climb with Hose Bundle

This station will be performed on a step-up box. The candidate will carry a high-rise bundle consisting of 100 feet of hose over one shoulder. One (1) complete step up will consist of both feet being planted on top of the step box, then returning both feet to the floor. An example is to step up with the left foot, step up with the right foot, step down with the left foot and step down with the right foot. This completes one (1) repetition. The candidate must complete sixty (60) step ups or repetitions in order to proceed to the next station. Upon completion, the high rise bundle shall be placed on the floor beside the step box.

Pass/Fail Criteria: During this task, the candidate must not drop the hose bundle or skip steps in the sequence of a repetition. The candidate may not, at any time, grasp anything for balance or steady themselves by placing a hand or hands on the wall. Failure to complete the station will result in failure.

Job Correlation: As a firefighter you are expected to maintain a good aerobic exercise capacity. Many tasks on an emergency scene can test your cardiovascular system. What this test ensures is that you can keep a steady pace for a period of time. Also stairs, hills and other grades are often encountered on different scenes. This ensures that the candidate will not be affected greatly be such an obstacle. The test is also a good test of balance as you are not allowed to grasp anything while doing the task. This is also difficult at times in the fire service with the weight and amount of equipment one may be asked to carry.

Task 2 – Hose Drag and Pull

During this portion of the test, each candidate will drag the hose and nozzle connected to the weighted sled a distance of 100 feet. The hose and sled must cross the designated line. Attached to the sled will be 100 feet of 1 ¾ inch hose. After crossing the line, the candidate will drop to one knee and pull 50 feet of 1 ¾ hose, hand over hand until the hose coupling crosses the designated line.

Pass/Fail Criteria: During this task, each candidate must pull the hose by walking, jogging or running forwards and holding on to it. At no time will a candidate be permitted to move the sled in any other fashion. The candidate must also be sure not to stray from the established path designed for this section of the course. The length from start to finish for dragging the hose will be 100 feet.

Dragging the hose any length shorter than this before starting the next task will result in failure of the test.

Job Correlation: As a firefighter, the candidate may be required to hoist, drag, or pull hose or other equipment on the fire scene, thus requiring core, lower and upper body strength.

Task 3 - The Sled

During this task, the candidate will be required to drive a block of steel with a sledgehammer while straddling the block of steel. The candidate will be required to drive the block 4 feet. This task is completed using a “sled” similar to the Keiser Force Sled.

Pass/Fail Criteria: This task should be accomplished with safety in mind. Reckless swinging or losing control of the sledgehammer will be grounds to immediately end the candidate’s test. Candidates must be completely on the sled with both feet straddling the block while swinging the sledgehammer. If at any time, the candidate steps off of the sled, he/she shall remount the sled prior to striking the steel block. Hooking and/or pulling the block is prohibited. The candidate shall receive one warning. A second infraction will constitute failure. The candidate must complete the task before starting the next task. Failure to comply with these criteria will result in failure of the test. If the candidate misses the steel block and strikes anything other than the block they will receive one warning. A second infraction will constitute failure.

Job Correlation: As a firefighter, a candidate will be expected to use heavy hand tools such as sledgehammers and axes to force entry into buildings or to create openings through different building materials. This will test the candidate’s ability to generate enough force with a weighted tool.

Task 4 – Equipment Carry

During this task, the candidate must pick up and move two (2) 35 pound dumbbells a distance of 100 feet. This will be accomplished in an upright and forward facing position.

Pass/Fail Criteria: The candidate must walk at all times during this task. No running or jogging permitted. The candidate must stay within the designated path for this task. The dumbbells must be picked up from the ground and not set down again until crossing the end line for the task. Failure to comply with these criteria will result in failure of the test.

Job Correlation: Firefighters are constantly moving heavy tools and objects over varying distances. This task tests the strength of the firefighter to both pick up and carry the object over a given distance.

Task 5 – Tunnel Crawl

The candidate will crawl through a blacked out tunnel with established obstructions.

Pass/Fail Criteria: Each candidate must safely enter, crawl through, and exit the tunnel. Failure to complete the station will result in automatic failure.

Job Correlation: Firefighters are asked to work in tight spaces and often spaces that impair vision because of smoke or darkness.

Task 6 – Dummy Drag

The dummy drag consists of moving a 165 pound rescue manikin for a total distance of 100 feet backwards. The dummy will be lying on its back with its arms at its side. The candidate must drag the dummy by placing their arms under the arms of the dummy.

Pass/Fail Criteria: The candidate must drag the dummy from start to finish backwards without going outside of the pathway designated for this task. Upon both feet leaving the pathway, the candidate will be disqualified.

Job Correlation: This task simulates a firefighter having to remove a victim from a hazardous situation.

Task 7 – Ceiling Breach and Pull

During this event, the candidate removes the pike pole from the bracket, stands within the boundary established by the equipment frame, and places the tip of the pole on the painted area of the hinged door in the ceiling. The candidate full y pushes up the 25 pound hinged door in the ceiling with the pike pole three times. The candidate then hooks the pike pole to the 50 pound ceiling device and pulls the pole down five times. Each set consists of three pushes and five pulls. The candidate repeats the set four times.

Pass/Fail Criteria: The candidate is permitted to stop and, if needed, adjust the grip. Releasing the grip or slipping from pike pole handle, without the pike pole falling to ground , does not result in a warning or constitute a failure . The candidate may re-establish the grip and resume the event. If the candidate does not successfully complete a repetition (i.e. complete the up and down motion), the proctor calls out “MISS” and the candidate must push or pull the apparatus again to complete the repetition. The event and the total test time ends when the applicant completes the final pull stroke repetition as indicated by the proctor who calls “TIME”. Stepping outside the boundary twice or dropping the pike pole twice will constitute failure.

Job Correlation: This event is designed to simulate the critical task of breaching and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire extension. This event challenges the candidate’s aerobic capacity, upper and lower body muscular strength and endurance, grip strength and endurance, and anaerobic endurance.


This test is designed to ensure that each candidate is able to physically complete firefighting duties. At all times during this test, safety is our upmost priority. The City of Elkins Fire Department reserves the right to make any necessary changes as they see fit. Any changes made will be pointed out and explained. All of these tasks are to be completed consecutively. Between each of these tasks, candidates shall not run or jog. Administrators will give directions to aid the candidate.

Examples of these directions may be to let the candidate know that they have completed the task or that they are starting towards the edge of the designated pathway. Verbal cues and reminders of proper form and technique will not be offered.

It is our intent to encourage and aid candidates to pass this test of their physical ability to perform the tasks of a firefighter. However, we will not bend the rules or allow rules to be broken in order to gain more candidates. Please understand this ahead of time.

For More Information

Steve Himes

Fire Chief

216 Fourth Street
Elkins, WV 26241
304.636.3433 (office)
304.637.1777 (fax)

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