A probationary firefighter is set to graduate from the New York Fire Academy without having passed a controversial physical fitness test, leading to complaints in the department.
The New York Post reports that Rebecca Wax, 33, will become the first firefighter in several years to enter the New York Fire Department having failed the Functional Skills Training test.
'They’re going to allow the first person to graduate without passing because this administration has lowered the standard,' an unnamed source told the paper.
'We’re being asked to go into a fire with someone who isn't 100 percent qualified. Our job is a team effort. If there’s a weak link in the chain, either civilians or our members can die.'
The FST is an obstacle course consisting of drills that include moving a large tire several feet and placing a heavy ladder on a wall while in 50 pounds of gear and an oxygen tank.
The test was dropped as a requirement for graduation late last year by Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
According to Sarinya Srisakul, president of United Women Firefighters, the test had been used for years as a training exercise, and became a requirement only in 2008.
The Forest Hills Ledger reports that Srisakul, herself a firefighter in Jackson Heights, Queens, also noted the department constantly amended the required pass times.