Firefighter trainee fitness, reasons for academy release, and predictive capabilities of fitness tests

Robert G. Lockie, Fernando Montes, Rob Marc Orr, J. Jay Dawes

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractResearchpeer-review


Firefighter trainees need a level of fitness to be admitted to and complete a training academy. Fitness could indicate a trainee’s likelihood of graduation. PURPOSE: Determine fitness differences between trainees who graduated (GRAD) or were released due to a) injury (RELI), b) skills test performance failures (RELP), or c) resignation (RELR); and whether fitness predicted graduation or academy release. METHODS: Data from an occupational physical ability test (OPAT) for 686 trainees were analyzed, including: Illinois agility test; push-ups; pull-ups; leg tucks; estimated maximal aerobic capacity (V̇O2max) from the multistage fitness test; backwards overhead 4.54-kg medicine ball throw (BOMBT); 10-repetition maximum deadlift; and a 91.44-m farmer’s carry with 18-kg kettlebells. Data were recorded in raw and scaled scores (based on internal department scoring). Trainees were split into GRAD (n=576), RELI (n=33), RELP (n=66), and RELR (n=11) groups. A one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc calculated between-group differences. Stepwise linear regression determined whether raw and/or scaled fitness scores predicted group inclusion. Receiver operating curves (and area under the curve; AUC) derived test accuracy for predicting academy release. RESULTS: The GRAD group were superior (p≤0.04) to the: RELI group in all tests except push-ups, pull-ups, and the raw farmer’s carry score; RELP group in all tests except the farmer’s carry; RELR group in V̇O2max, scaled deadlift, and total OPAT score. The strongest predictive regression (r2=0.15) for the GRAD group included scaled scores for total OPAT, deadlift, BOMBT, and V̇O2max. For the RELI group, it was scaled V̇O2max., BOMBT, pull-up, and leg tuck scores (r2=0.06), and scaled total OPAT and BOMBT scores for the RELP group (r2=0.06). Scaled deadlift score was the strongest predictor for the RELR group (r2=0.05). Raw V̇O2max (AUC=0.71) and total OPAT (AUC=0.74) score had acceptable accuracy for predicting trainee release. Trainees who graduated were predicted to have a V̇O2max of ≥43.05 ml/kg/min and a total OPAT ≥394.5 points (out of 800). CONCLUSION: Fitness influenced academy graduation and reasons for release. Scaled scores could predict group inclusion in this department, with V̇O2max and total OPAT score providing the most accurate predictors for release.
Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalInternational Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2022
EventSouthwest American College of Sports Medicine 2022 Annual Conference - Costa Mesa, United States
Duration: 28 Oct 202229 Oct 2022


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