Individuals enrolled in EMT and paramedic course programs must go through rigorous physical training. The requirements for the physical portion of paramedic training can be similar to military boot camp training. Paramedics have to be strong enough to handle any emergency scenario they encounter. This requires passing a Physical Agility Test as part of your instruction.
A paramedic training candidate must pass this agility test consisting of different portions of testing. Depending upon the agency, the portions can be as few as three (usually less for reserves) or as many as ten. Each candidate must sign a waiver before testing. Scores are usually “Pass” or “Fail”.
Physical Testing Requirements
Here are examples of some of the physical testing requirements for employment as an emergency medical service provider. This is not a complete list and details vary among agencies, but this gives you an overall idea of some of the physical testing requirements.
1. Rapid Stair Climb Test: Must climb 14 flights of stairs in 5 minutes, carrying two 20-pound dumbbells. This emulates carrying the average 40 pounds of equipment.
2. Single Rescuer CPR: Must be able to perform continuous CPR on a mannequin for 10 minutes. This conforms to all current AHA standards for Adult CPR. This is the same standard as covered in your paramedic training.
3. Barbell Lift: Must be able to demonstrate the proper lifting techniques which include lifting a 100 pound barbell to the waist, then walk 45 feet, turn around and walk back.
4. Teamwork: Must be able to life a specified amount of weight (usually a mannequin) onto a stretcher, strap and secure the weight, and load into an ambulance. Then the steps are reversed, removing the “patient” from the ambulance. Often there is a portion that involves a “stretcher obstacle course” where the candidate must exhibit an ability to negotiate a stretcher over uneven territory, high and low points, etc. This simulates removing a patient from a difficult area or challenging terrain.
5. Rescue Lifting: Must be able to demonstrate the proper lifting technique, usually a specified amount of weight, in the form of a mannequin representing an injured patient. This skill is demonstrated repeatedly during the course of the paramedic education instruction.
6. Endurance: Must be able to complete a cardio work out walk in a specified length, usually at least one mile, carrying a specified amount of weight in the form of a weight vest.
7. Equipment: Must be able to move all necessary emergency equipment from one area to another, safely, and in a specified amount of time. This simulates moving equipment safely and to the patient’s side quickly and efficiently.
8. Ambulance Mobility: Must be able to demonstrate the proper way to enter the front and rear of an ambulance, as well as exiting safely.
These tests are conducted wearing helmets, turnouts and or other required clothing.
The physical exam also requires testing for hepatitis B or tuberculosis, drug testing and an eye exam. Before certification, and often before entrance into an EMT or paramedic training program, you need to have your immunization records updated or current.