The Fire Services Department (FSD) was able to fill up only 166 of the 310 vacancies for firemen during the 2014-2015 period as many candidates failed in physical fitness tests.
In one physical fitness test, some candidates could not even complete one count of pronated chin-up, when the requirement was three counts in 60 seconds, Apple Daily reported, citing sources within the department.
A senior FSD officer said he was shocked at how unprepared some of the candidates were for the physical fitness tests.
“They should have geared up for the test, instead of doing it impromptu,” he said.
Many candidates also struggled with the language competency tests, the officer said.
They were tongue-tied when asked to give a five-minute self-introduction in English during the interview portion.
The same difficulty was observed among candidates who obtained college degrees overseas.
Others who passed the physical fitness tests and interviews, found it hard to cope with ordinary chores such as ironing their clothes and tying shoelaces properly.
“I have seen a cadet drying his undershirt without washing it,” the officer said. “There were also many instances where cadet arrived at the training facility under the escort of his entire family and a domestic helper.”
In a written reply to queries by Apple Daily, the FSD said candidates must pass physical fitness tests if they are applying for positions such as station officer, fireman, ambulance officer or ambulance man.
The number of vacancies being reported at the beginning of the year is only a forecast. Actual hiring depends on the number of positions and quarters available at fire stations, the department said.
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