Dummy run for new firefighter recruits
Endurance and mental stamina are put to the test for the chance to join a respected profession and embark on an exciting career.
The Fire Service open day gave potential candidates the chance to assess their fitness.
The trial run provides aspiring firemen and women with the opportunity to learn areas they need to improve on for the actual test in March which decides if they can proceed through the rest of the recruitment process.
More than 70 potential recruits turned up and were talked through aspects of the job.
Fire incidents equate to 5 percent of the job with the remaining portion working in the community through schools and businesses.
This requires a good teamwork orientated personality and effective communication skills.
Standards are kept high by peer pressure because colleagues rely on each other in life and death situations.
The ominous-looking training tower at the Mt Wellington training centre had been heated to 70 degrees celsius for the course.
Just walking in was a shock to the system, and I wasn’t wearing all the gear candidates would be in to perform tasks in blackout conditions with synthetic smoke.
I’m told that one in four can’t handle it.
Panic and claustrophobia sees some rip their mask off and damage their chances of getting through.
After the stair climb with an 18kg weight on my shoulders I had an elevated heart rate.
The job-related tasks give a taste of what the physical part of the job would be like.
I got to run a hose out 40 metres and attempt to hoist a ladder by rope.
Candidates were put through push-ups and shoulder presses in time to a metronome and their strength was tested by a device that could measure hand grip and the force behind a dead lift.
Then there was the 90kg dummy I had been eyeing up, not liking my chances of even moving it.
To my surprise with the right technique it was manageable.
But because it is the last task it is tougher for an already fatigued body.
“It weighs less than me and I would expect my colleagues to get me out if I were in trouble,” says a firefighter.
Avondale firefighter Hayden Robinson says the intense 11-week training course is all worth it because “it is the best job in the world”.
He says it is a big responsibility to uphold the values of the organisation.
Hopeful candidates talked about their decision to try out for the Fire Service.
It’s a career change for many of them who want to make a difference in the community.
Candidates received feedback on what they needed to work on to pass the test in March, each identifying different challenges.
Ready for action: Frank Feau of Papatoetoe gets to grips with the challenge.
Power run: Yajun Zhang steps out with the hose.
Words of encouragement: Firefighter Chonell Ford, left, gives some instruction to Tania Cassidy.
Spectator turned participant: hands on with news reporting.
Nicola Williams gets
Timed trial: Jason Fleming drags the hose.