Candidates for fire department jobs test their mettle - WNEM TV 5

Candidates for fire department jobs test their mettle

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Recruits fight to handle a 165 lbs dummy up two flights of stairs. Recruits fight to handle a 165 lbs dummy up two flights of stairs.

The Midland Fire Department is looking for a few good men and women to add to their crew.

But anyone who makes the cut has to pass a series of grueling tests. It's not your typical job interview because it's not your typical job.

Candidates hoping to join the Midland Fire Department are being put to the test on Tuesday - literally. "We invited the top 20 candidates from our written exam, they'll compete in the agility testing," said Greg Weisbarth, Training and Safety officer for Midland's Fire Department.

Participants are put through nine different obstacles which challenge their balance, physical and mental agility, and strength.

Each exercise the firefighter hopefuls go through is a task they may have to perform in the line of duty, like climbing a 95-foot ladder, so passing is a must.

"It's a strictly pass or fail test," explained Weisbarth. "The candidates will get two attempts at each event. As long as they are successful on one of the attempts they keep moving on. If a candidate should fail two attempts then they are done for the day."

The hardest test is carrying a 165-pound dummy up and down two flights of stairs in less than three minutes.

Instructors admit it's tough, but say it lets them know who has what it takes to do the job.

"[You've got] to be able to show the ability to rescue the victim if needed," said Weisbarth. "[And] If your partner should go down, [you've got to get your] partner out of [the] burning structure."

 The first two candidates didn't make it, but the next few prove it can be done. And that's what the Midland Fire Department is looking for.

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