Sunday, May 3, 2015

Woman to become NY firefighter despite failing crucial fitness test

The FDNY for the first time in its history will allow someone who failed its crucial physical-fitness test to join the Bravest, The Post has learned.
Rebecca Wax, 33, is set to graduate Tuesday from the Fire Academy without passing the Functional Skills Training test, a grueling obstacle course of job-related tasks performed in full gear with a limited air supply, an insider has revealed.
“They’re going to allow the first person to graduate without passing because this administration has lowered the standard,” said the insider, who is familiar with the training.
Upon graduation, Wax would be assigned to a firehouse and tasked with the full duties of a firefighter.
Some FDNY members are angry.
“We’re being asked to go into a fire with someone who isn’t 100 percent qualified,” the source said. “Our job is a team effort. If there’s a weak link in the chain, either civilians or our members can die.”
Wax’s graduation comes as the city celebrates the FDNY’s 150th anniversary and as the department is under pressure by the de Blasio administration to hire more women.
Only 44 of the FDNY’s 10,500 firefighters are female.
While Wax fell short, two other female probies in the graduating class passed the FST with flying colors.
“They’re kicking butt. They’re doing better than 50 percent of the class,” the insider said. “When they get assigned to a firehouse, they’ll be welcomed with open arms because they’ve done what everyone else has gone through.”
But those women aren’t pleased about Wax’s treatment, either.
“A lot of the girls in the field are pissed because they feel like they’re getting lumped into the same category of a female getting special treatment and not meeting the same standards as the males,” the insider added. “It devalues what the women in the field have accomplished.”
In the FST exam, probies must breathe through a mask attached to an air tank while carrying up to 50 pounds of gear.
They must climb six flights of stairs, stretch hose lines, raise ladders, perform tasks that simulate breaking doors and pulling down ceilings, and drag dummies through tunnels with no visibility.
They must complete the course in 17 minutes, 50 seconds or less.
Despite many attempts over the Fire Academy’s 18-week training course, Wax completed the test just once — but it took her more than 22 minutes, the source said.
In numerous tries, Wax struggled and was too slow. While fit probies finish with air left in their tanks, she had to stop when hers ran out, the source added.
“She’s in the best shape of her life, and it’s still not good enough,” he said.
Under the FDNY’s new hiring policy, probies must earn at least 75 percent on the combined requirements of academics, hands-on skills and physical fitness.
Wax had a high grade-point average on her academics, which officials determined offset her FST deficiency, the insider said.
Last December, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told a City Council hearing on the FDNY’s efforts to recruit women that he had changed FST requirements to lower obstacles.
“We still grade the people. You can still fail it if you go beyond the time, but you’re not automatically failed from the program,” he said.
He also indicated he wanted to act before a possible sex-discrimination lawsuit after the city paid $98 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the FDNY of discriminating against minorities.
“We must no longer wait for a judge’s ruling to tell us what fairness means,” Nigro said.
United Women Firefighters, an organization of FDNY women, objects to the FST test, contending it unfairly bars females.
The FST requires a much higher level of fitness than the Candidate Physical Ability Test, which applicants must pass to enter the academy.
Experts say the FST mirrors the demands of the job, training would-be firefighters to work in stressful environments while conserving their air supply.
Wax had previously received another break to join the FDNY after pleading in June 2011 for a City Council bill that raised the age limit from 29 to 35 for applicants like her who first took the entrance exam in 2007. A hiring freeze imposed by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in the discrimination suit put them in limbo.
“I want nothing more than to be a New York City firefighter,” Wax, then 29, had testified at a hearing.
Wax has worked as a civilian FDNY employee since 2009, lately as a community coordinator, making $52,338 last year.
Reached outside her Upper East Side apartment Friday, she would not speak to a reporter.
Nigro, questioned by The Post during an FDNY anniversary celebration at a Midtown firehouse Saturday, refused to comment on Wax’s fitness failure.
“Every one of our 305 probies have passed and will be graduating Tuesday,” he said. “She has met the requirements.”
The probationary class started with 320 recruits, meaning 15 dropped out or must retake the course.


  1. George_CostanzaMay 3, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    Stop drinking fluoridated water. Filter out the chlorine from the water too. Don't eat baked goods that use potassium bromate [dough conditioner]. Supplement iodine.
    Get real bio-available vitamins. That should help her lose some fat.
    Start doing some P90x, or Orang Theory Fitness.
    It is easier to fix fat, than stupid.

  2. Equality at work.

  3. Nobody should be ok with them passing a failure!

  4. I had the same thought. I imagine she will immediately be disabled. She is probably related to a Worker's Comp judge.

  5. Its called social promotion. It has been going on for decades. Nothing new here. Wax just has the misfortune of having hers publicized.

  6. Bad enough when unqualified people get hired at the post office but when judges and cops and firemen get hired on the basis of race or sex, that's dangerous for all of us.

  7. bankrupted taxpayerMay 3, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    telestaff racketeering . . . . g00gle it

  8. Chris MugglestoneMay 4, 2015 at 3:54 AM

    Women are able to do the job, if they can pass the same test as the men. This is fair and right. This is unfair on the women who have been able to pass the test, on the men who have been rejected yet are as good or equal to her. More importantly though its dangerous. It's a danger to her, since in a real fire if she can't work fast enough and runs out of air, she's dead. It's a danger to her collegues, who would either not recieve the same level of backup from her as from someone who had passed to the higher standards, or who might have to risk themselves to pick up her slack or even to rescue her. It's also a danger to those people being helped, if she can't be as effective in a rescue situation where every second counts. Another issue is the effect on moral, since the others (including women who have passed the test) are going to have doubts working with her and may be unhappy. Even worse if is concerns are dismissed as "sexist".

  9. But she's really wanted to be a firefighter since, like, forever. So what if she's too unfit; so what if it puts everyone else's lives in danger; so what if she had since 2007 to prepare and still couldn't bring herself up to scratch; so what if the FDNY would have failed a man in exactly the same position.

    Don't you know having a vagina is much more important than skill and ability? Don't you know that a woman's feelings are more important than people's lives?

    Shame on you, MTW, for implying that this dangerously underqualified probationary shouldn't be allowed dress up and play firefighter! You'd rob her of the opportunity to put on a nice uniform and pretend she's just as good as all the other men and women of New York's Fire Department.

    That's sexist!

  10. Have those people who can't pass the physical do a lesser job for lesser pay, as it is in the real world.

  11. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    Firefighter one of nation’s safest jobs , equal to being a cashier.
    Yet their unions constantly promote an outsized sense of danger for disturbingly
    political reasons, just as their unions exploited the 9/11 tragedies for
    cheap political gain. it would be nice if public-safety unions stopped overplaying the hero card in order to hit up the public for more cash.

    It’s time to stick to the facts.

  12. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 6:03 AM

  13. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 6:04 AM

  14. Now every woman that was a proper firefighter and able to pass the demanding tests that everyone has to pass, will have their hardwork questioned. "Was she also accepted just because she has a vagina? Who knows?"

    I really hope noone ends up dying for these feminist policies. But that is pretty much inevitable at this point, since this is likely to continue.

  15. Feminism has killed no one!

    Except for New York citizens trapped in an inferno. Burning is a horrific way to die- THAT is unfair. Not stopping incompetant people from entering a serious field.

  16. Once someone dies and the FDNY gets sued for allowing an incompetent to work, this ridiculous free pass will end.

  17. Andrejovich DietrichMay 4, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    I am soooo glad my life will never rest in the hands of NY fire department. Just awaiting the lawsuits when lives are lost.

  18. Just what I was going to say. And that it's an ego thing for Wax. She was doing a valuable job at FDNY, and if she cared about the safety of the citizens of NY more than she cared about her own ego at being a "real" firefighter, she would decline and continue being a community coordinator.

  19. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 10:27 AM


  20. Yes... because they're so well trained. So they stay safe. The point is that at some point in their careers, firefighters go into infernos where they need everyone qualified. Maybe this woman won't get anyone killed. But maybe she will too. And even if she doesn't, its unfair on the people who passed.

  21. I love how they say 'the test unfairly discriminates against women.' So not true. The test prevents a lot of women from joining, yes. But it doesn't unfairly prevent the women from joining. If women are on average weaker than men, thats biology. Complain to god. A certain standard is required and that's just the way it is.

  22. I'm halfway blind, can I be a fighter pilot?

  23. I don't see any problem with lowering the standards, or, raising them for that matter. What is important is that they are the same for everyone. There have probably been many men who were denied a job because the did not pass the standards; that is sexism! That is a violation of those applicant's civil rights, --TITLE IX is not some chapter in a romance novel!

  24. Or, given her proficiency for trivia, a fire inspector.

  25. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 2:18 PM

    training does not make it safe.

    it would be nice if public-safety unions stopped overplaying the hero card

    in order to hit up the public for more cash.
    It’s time to stick to the facts.

    Firefighter = one of nation’s safest jobs , equal to being a cashier.
    Yet their unions constantly promote an outsized sense of danger for disturbingly
    political reasons, just as their unions exploited the 9/11 tragedies for
    cheap political gain.

  26. Good point. I wonder if there's any "through the ranks" requirement there.

  27. For me that' not the case.
    Every one gets their skills questioned for any reason, this will be just another excuse for it, and there's nothing wrong with it.
    But the problem is the lives of people she will put on the line when she's too tired to drag a civilian out of a building in flames.

  28. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 2:47 PM

    The hero syndrome is a phenomenon affecting people who constantly seek
    heroism or recognition, an view themselves as the only solution usually by fabricating or concocting desperate situation , which
    they believe only they can resolve.

    The phenomenon is recognized most often in firefighters,

  29. bankrupted taxpayerMay 4, 2015 at 3:07 PM

    US Court Says it's Okay for Police Departments to Refuse to Hire Applicants With High IQ's...

    Although it’s not widely known, federal courts have ruled
    since 2000 that police departments can legally opt to not hire someone simply because he or she scores too high on tests. The
    ruling followed a lawsuit filed in 1999 by Robert Jordan, who was told by the Police Department that they only interview candidates who score 20% to 27% on a test.

    Jordan, scored 94% when he took the Test in 1996,

    Jordan was qualified to become a lawyer, but he was too smart to be considered for a position with the Police Department.

    Jordan filed a lawsuit and took the police department to court, arguing that he was discriminated against.

    ”I was eliminated on the basis of my intellectual makeup,” he said.
    ”It’s the same as discrimination on the basis of gender or religion or
    race,” in that an individual doesn’t necessarily have control of how
    smart he or she is.

    However, the courts sided with the lower police department union . In other words, no one who was smart enough for the job was hired.

    Jordan argued but was denied ,, again, the courts ruled against Jordan, saying that those who scored above a certain level would likely grow tired of police work and leave shortly after receiving “costly”
    training. it found that the city had to try and reduce the rate of turnover in the police department.

    Given that law enforcement unions across the nation are trying to repair their poor relationship with the public by ending controversial policies, law enforcement is realizing that the money needed to fund their union can’t really be obtained without the help of the taxpayer

  30. Feminism, proving that a women's victimhood is her most important asset, after her uterus.