Different Ambulance Services or Paramedical Services (such as Mines Rescue) require varrying level of physical fitness and as such have different fitness test requirements for employment. Interestingly enough, although almost every Ambulance Service within Australia has a Fitness Test to Become a Paramedic, not one Ambulance Service in Australia (that I’m aware of) has a Yearly or Routine Fitness Test to Continue as a Paramedic.
What is likely to be in a Fitness Test to Become a Paramedic?
Most paramedic fitness tests involve three areas of fitness: Cardio Fitness (how well your heart responds to exertion); Physical Strength and Flixibility (mainly designed to rule out previous back injuries that may impact your ability to work as a paramedic).
Paramedic Cardio Fitness is tested by a small time on a cycling machine (10 minutes or less); walking on a step (ussually less than 15 minutes) and or a running “beep” test which involves running backwards and forwards up a set of lines to the cadence of a recorded “beep.”
Paramedic Physical Strength is tested by 10 push-ups, 20 situps and sometimes an ability to carry items approximately 12.5kgs in each arm up 3-4 flights of stairs (the same weight as a paramedic oxy-viva and drug kit or defibrilator). Some Ambulance Services will make you carry a heavily weighted “dummy” down a flight of stairs or drag an unconscious “dummy” somewhere. These are often called Paramedic Work Related Testing.
Paramedic Flexibility is tested by getting you to sit with you back straight and your legs straight and see how far past your feet you can stretch your arms. If you have ever had a serious lower back injury, it will likely show up here, and if not, then it probably isn’t serious enough to cause you any difficulties in doing your job.
As well as these three main areas of paramedic fitness testing, some paramedic entrance fitness tests also include miscellaneous fitness issues such as: Body Mass Index (BMI); Review of Previous Injuries; Referals for specialist testing and performing CPR on a manniquin for a period of time (usually 10-20 minutes, but I have heard of some services making its applicants do up to 30 minutes of CPR).