Fitness standard and assessment procedure
29 May 2014
For the first time firefighters across the country will have their fitness assessments conducted in the same way.
A new interim Firefighter Fitness Standards and Assessments procedure has been introduced by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).
The move ensures that for the first time firefighters across the country will have their fitness assessments conducted in the same way, harmonising the various standards that had previously been used in different parts of Scotland.
Chief Officer Alasdair Hay said: “Keeping the public and our firefighters safe will always be our highest priority and the new procedure is designed for exactly that purpose.
“By harmonising the diverse procedures previously in use across Scotland we can ensure every firefighter is assessed against the same standard and help them maintain safe levels of fitness throughout their careers.
“Firefighters face physically arduous work and we are absolutely determined to support all our staff so they can stay in the condition needed to meet whatever challenges they face in the course of their duties.
SFRS and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) worked in close partnership throughout the process to ensure the new procedure met the needs of both the service and its employees.
Diane Vincent, the SFRS director of people and organisational development, said: “Implementing a single procedure for assessing firefighter fitness is an important moment for SFRS and I would like to express my thanks to everyone involved in developing it.
“A partnership approach was taken throughout the process and working closely with the FBU has been highly beneficial – ensuring the new procedure meets the needs of both the service and our personnel.
“Our shared goal was to develop a culture that identifies any issues early, promotes our fitness and wellbeing services and supports any members of staff who do experience difficulty.”
The new procedure means every operational firefighter in Scotland, regardless of rank or location, will be assessed against a single standard once every three years.
Dedicated fitness teams are in place in each of the three service delivery areas to provide support and every SFRS employee can self-refer to if they feel they could benefit from that help, which includes fitness programmes.
A spokesperson for the FBU said: "We believe the FBU negotiations with SFRS on the Interim Firefighter Fitness Standards and Assessments Procedure have achieved a positive and constructive outcome.
“The negotiations have been based on implementing a procedure that can be fairly and consistently applied which supports firefighter safety and is balanced to include appropriate support measures to maintain fitness standards.
"The FBU will now be representing members on the Firefighter Fitness Working Group, where we will be providing further evidence based information to seek to agree the introduction of a more detailed and robust fitness policy that is fair, has realistic and achievable standards and maintains appropriate support for members."