Fatter FDNY Recruits Failing

Brad Hamilton, New York Post, March 3, 2013

They’re New York’s Fattest.

The Fire Department’s new class of recruits—all current city EMTs or paramedics who want to become firefighters—are flaming out fast, failing the Fire Academy in record numbers, according to FDNY sources.

As many as 30 of the 318 probationary trainees—who are older, weaker and fatter than those in previous years—have already quit, and more are expected to drop out before their 18-week course on Randalls Island concludes in May, the sources said.

During the first week of the academy, 166 of the probies flunked the physical-fitness test—which requires four pull-ups, 30 push-ups in one minute, 30 sit-ups in one minute and a 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes.

Recruits are required to pass the physical-fitness test in order to graduate.

“There are a lot of people saying this is the worst FDNY class in the department’s history,” said a source.

The oversized and under-performing candidates will be given remedial physical training. They’ll also catch a break on the running requirements, according to one high-ranking FDNY insider.

“They’re allowing them to do it in 13 or 14 minutes,” he said.

The Academy class, the first in the FDNY since 2008, was formed after a federal judge forced the department to become more racially diverse, finding that its recruitment practices discriminated against minorities.

So FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano excluded applicants from the general population for this Academy class, limiting the pool to medics, whose ranks include a higher percentage of minorities than is found in firehouses.

This year’s class is the most diverse ever—42 percent are black, Hispanic or Asian, and six are women.

But they were rated only on a written exam. In years past, applicants had to score high on both a written and a physical test.

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So instead of plucking the cream of the EMT crop, the department “had to keep going farther down the list,” a source said.

“On the open exam for the general public, only candidates who score a 97 are likely to be called,” said the source. “But because so many of this class flunked their StairMaster, [scores] went as low as 72.”

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