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Compare the fitness requirements of three public services.

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Introduction

Occupational Health Task 1: In this task I have been asked to analyse and compare the fitness requirements of three public services. The public services I have chosen are the fire service, the police service and the prison service. This will be a challenging task, as first I need to define fitness. Fitness is largely determined by point of view and these are varied, for example Wesson et al (2000) says that fitness defined is "...the ability to undertake everyday activities without undue fatigue..." their definiton is an all encompassing view which includes people from all walks of life. In contrast Dick (1989) states that fitness is "...the successful adaptation to the stressors of one's lifestyle..." this implies that to define fitness we must first investigate any strain on the individual from their lifestyle and measure the ability to cope with these strains. I believe Dicks definition is flawed practically, as someone who does very little exercise and does not work is defined as fit as a marathon runner such as Paula Radcliffe because their body is adapted to the stressors in their life as is Paula Radcliffe's, though the stressors in her life are much more potent. ...read more.

Middle

Another element of training to be part of the fire service is the ladder climb test. This involves climbing a ladder to a great height, whilst wearing a safety harness, you must then perform a 'leg lock' which means holding onto the ladder with only your legs, the instructor below will then ask to read a number or identify a colour on the ground below. This test was designed with mental fitness being tested as it proves whether you can stay calm while at a great height, and is done in full uniform. Again this test is a practical one as it tests the fears of the individual and proves they have the ability to balance themselves when under pressure. To examine an individuals strength of grip and strength of arms plus their stamina, potential fire fighters are asked to complete a ladder extend test. To pass, they must extend a 13.5m ladder and carry a 45kg weight up to a height of 4m. The ladder extend test is another test used with sound reasoning it incorporates tasks that fire fighters must be prepared to deal with in the event of an emergency, the weight 45kg is used because that is the average weight of every human being in Great Britain, i.e. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final part of the fire service training system I will looking at is the hand grip test, this is similar to the back/thigh test in all aspects except it tests how strong your grip is, to successfully pass the test your dominant hand must be able to grip with a force of 35kg and your non dominant hand with a force of 33kg. To conclude my analysis of the fire services physical fitness test has featured all the main tests used by the fire service and tried to explain why they have been chosen. The number of job related tests are considerable when compared to other public services I have investigated. With this in mind I feel that, although the tasks in the training period are well thought and structured, there should be some sort of physical tests done by all fire fighters to constantly evaluate their fitness levels. My recommendation would be to have these tests once a year and fire fighters who fail to meet the standard would complete the probationary training period again to prove their motivation and commitment to the important role they play in the public service industry. ...read more.

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