Objective: The physiological demands of 15 essential, physically demanding fire-fighting tasks were investigated to identify criterion tasks for bona fide recruit selection.
Methods: A total of 51 operational firefighters participated in discrete, field-based occupational simulations, with physiological responses measured throughout.
Results: The most stressful tasks were identified and classified according to dominant fitness attributes and movement patterns. Three movement classes (single-sided load carriage [5 tasks], dragging loads [4 tasks], and overhead pushing and holding objects [2 tasks]) and one mandatory strength task emerged. Seven criterion tasks were identified. Load holding and carriage dominated these movement patterns, yet no task accentuated whole-body endurance.
Conclusion: Material handling movements from each classification must appear within a physical aptitude (selection) test for it to adequately represent the breadth of tasks performed by Australian urban firefighters.