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Woman Becomes NY Firefighter After Failing Fitness Test

Woman Becomes NY Firefighter After Failing Fitness Test

Qualified female firefighters “pissed” about special treatment

In 2011, the DOJ ordered the Dayton Police Department and the Fire Department of New York to lower the required test scores of minorities after too many failed to pass the existing exams, and in 2013, the Marines changed their fitness requirement for women after the majority of female recruits were unable to perform the required three pull-ups.

This week we learn that the FDNY is allowing a woman to become a fire fighter despite failing a crucial fitness exam.  According to The New York Post:

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.

As you might imagine, not everyone is thrilled with this development.  An FDNY member tells The Post, “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.”

This is particularly problematic because Wax is the only female firefighter who has failed the fitness exam and still made the cut.  The female firefighters who passed the fitness and other exams are livid; the Post reports:

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.”

Other female firefighters 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.”

This devaluing of genuine accomplishment by women and minorities is a real problem in this trend to lower standards to accommodate those who would otherwise not pass muster in military ground forces or on police and firefighting forces. Lowering standards does not create equality; it creates substandard military and first-responder teams, and these are the very last groups we want functioning poorly.

Lowering the physical fitness and ability standards for one female firefighter not only emphasizes her inequality but it endangers her, her fellow firefighters, and the public she hopes to serve.  If she can’t perform a fireman’s carry of a full-grown, unconscious man and move him quickly out of a smoke-filled building, she can’t do her job as a firefighter:

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.

Watch The Five discuss the matter:

If the left can’t see that having two effectively separate but equal standards endangers not only the men and women working alongside the unqualified recruits but also the general public they serve, you’d think they could see how they are undermining the very real accomplishments of women and minorities in closing race and gender gaps.

As it turns out, some on the left do see this.  Brian Van Reet, writing for The Daily Beast about the military, argues for a “nuanced” fitness and readiness series of tests that is job-specific:

This kind of job-specific system is already in place to match recruits with a suitable MOS, according to their mental abilities. The most mentally demanding jobs are only open to those recruits who score well on a standardized intelligence test. Similarly, fitness tests should be written to specific outcomes as opposed to specific genders. In the end, a job-specific fitness regime would simply codify what everyone in the military already knows: the average infantry troop is way more physically fit than the average satellite repair technician. So why not write a separate physical fitness standard for each?

Inevitably, this approach would lead to fewer women in the most physically demanding roles, but it would ensure that the women who did serve there had unquestionably earned the right, meeting the same requirements as their male peers. If the object of the current push for gender integration from Congress and the Pentagon is to ensure equal opportunity, that no woman is denied the right to serve just because of her gender, there should be no problem in accepting the fact that fewer women than men will be able to qualify for certain intensive assignments. It bears saying that the vast majority of men are not cut out to be commandos, either.

This isn’t a bad idea, and I’m sure that the FDNY can find a place for Wax that will not endanger her, her fellow firefighters, or the citizens of New York.

Political correctness and misguided “feminism” should not trump common sense and public safety, nor should it devalue and undermine the accomplishments and ability of the women who are qualified FDNY firefighters.



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What about paraplegic or blind applicants? Why don’t they get a chance?

In the “old” days, the reaction should be to welcome her in. The first fire where she puts others in jeopardy… leave her to fend (and fry) for herself. Honor her as a fallen comrade and get on with life and saving people. Got to be a spare bullet out there for the “Marine” who can’t save her fellow Marines when the time comes. The real world isn’t politically correct nor patient. Lives come before lies.

    FrankNatoli in reply to alaskabob. | May 10, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Even in the “old days”, there were guys [and gals] whose first, middle and last priorities were…numero uno, themselves. So when the bullets started flying [or burning building roofs started collapsing], and men started dying, those guys would strangely be found absent, because protection of numero uno came first. Any doubt what constitutes numero uno for Rebecca Wax?

Ragspierre | May 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

New York City is in a seeming race to destroy all standards…all values that for the last couple of decades have made it a fit place to live again.

“Feminism” is a term without meaning now. It used to be descriptive of a move to open opportunity up for women. To assure equal treatment under the law.

Now it means to a lot of its leaders a default to lesbianism, hatred of all things male, and profound craziness.

Miss Wax won’t do well in her job, and she won’t be happy in it. That’s a shame, because there are so many things she could do that she could be happy doing, and that she’s suited to do.

So, this is a lose-lose-lose all over.

Decades ago mediocracy was shunned. Now it has become the American way of life.

“Our strength is our diversity” said the Prog.

Job specific fitness doesn’t work in the Marines. Every Marine gets trained as a basic rifleman then sent off to their specialized MOS schools. Yes being infantry you then go to an advanced infantry school to learn your 03 specialty based upon your intelligence scores. It may be hard to believe by civilians but there are many extremely intelligent grunts.

    Good point, scaulen, but I think what is suggested is that this isn’t the way it needs to be. A Marine who sorts mail or cooks breakfast needn’t necessarily be a peak fitness. Or maybe s/he should?

      scaulen in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 9, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      The Marine who sorts the mail can at any time be put on the front lines, it would be in their best interest to try to be in peak fitness. The command of POG units do run PT on a regular schedule. Their fitness program is not as high as the 03 but it’s better then most other branches. My brother was an air wing Marine, I took some leave after mountain warfare training to spend with him and his family in Cali. When I PT’d with him and his unit they did all the same exercises and ran the same distances it just took them longer. Prime example of every Marine being a rifleman is the Korean war, specifically the Chosin reservoir. If you want to wear the Eagle Globe and Anchor you’ve got to grind.

        MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to scaulen. | May 10, 2015 at 1:58 am

        While I agree with the sentiment, I think this is badly phrased:
        The Marine who sorts the mail can at any time be put on the front lines,

        A better way would be:The front line can, at any time, come to any Marine including the Marine who sorts the mail.

          Yep, didn’t think of that. So definitely not applicable to Marines, but maybe to other branches? Police maybe? Firefighters? Probably not.

          What seems clear is that we can’t keep lowering standards in these vital areas. Our military, police, and first responders need to be the best.

      Bigurn in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | May 10, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      Hey Fuzz

      More to your comment and to scaulen, there is an effort currently under way to put more women and minorities into difficult jobs. Things such as Special Forces and intellectually stringent career fields are being changed to provide more opportunity for others. What it does to the readiness of these forces is yet to be seen.

      Further, the police, fire and military already have a tiered fitness system. A basic fitness just to get in, then additional fitness requirements to get special jobs (and intelligence tests too!). Also, a tiered system exists for special intellectual jobs – again, a basic requirement to get in and a higher requirement for more taxing work.

      What we are debating is not the higher requirement, but the basic requirement. Should we lower the very basic skills needed to gain employment??? Maybe we should tell people that they are better suited for other work, and help them get it.

    Old0311 in reply to scaulen. | May 10, 2015 at 1:45 am

    That’s not what the Gunny said.

Karma: a leftist stuck in a burning building finds their rescuer to be Wax. And, of course, Wax will melt under the heat.

I don’t hold it against women because they can’t pass the Marine Corps IOC. Or the Army Ranger course. I don’t think I could.

I have flat feet. Just thinking about all that hiking with a heavy pack makes my feet hurt.

What I could do is get through Aviation Officer Candidate School. Which, by the way, when I went through was run by Marines.

Because I can swim. I can swim a mile in a flight suit. I can jump off a tower and get out from under what the instructors say is the burning oil without surfacing. Or at least by making a breathing hole for myself. I can tread water in flight boots. I can drown proof for pretty damned close to forever.

It never occurred to me that I should demand the world to change to suit me.

By “jump off a tower” I mean the exercise when I dropped off of the tower after closing my thumb and forefinger over my nostrils, locking my last two fingers under my jaw lest like with my nostrils I ingest water upon impact.

And lock the right arm that’s holding my nostrils and jaws shut by firmly holding it with my left across my body. Just as when I step off the tower, or carrier deck, I step off with my right foot. And then lock my left foot behind it to close my legs. Because I don’t want to drop 60 feet and straddle a piece of debris. Bad for the wedding tackle.

I mention this because anybody can say anything on the internet. Judge for yourself.

I’m fairly certain FDNY’s fitness standards have already been watered down to accommodate women. If they had N slots and only accepted the N highest scorers on the test zero women would be hired.

Nothing like demeaning the success of those who met the standards. Corrosive, morale lowering, and deadly dangerous. A terrible idea with NO redeeming benefit at all.

Devaluing of genuine accomplishment is what leftist and democrats do best.

inspectorudy | May 10, 2015 at 11:02 am

This reminds me of the group of parents, mostly moms, that wanted all of their children’s T ball games to be non winner so that all of the children could be winners. They didn’t want to keep score and to just let the little darlings have fun. It didn’t last long. Even the kids hated it and it tells us that we all want to be measured and to know how we fit in to the society around us. With no standards then there is no excellence. Imagine if all pilots or doctors were allowed to become such just because they tried hard.

FrankNatoli | May 10, 2015 at 1:36 pm

“Qualified female firefighters pissed about special treatment”. That’s a joke. People have such short memories. At least 40 years ago, somebody sued FDNY because their dead-weight carry test, obviously intended to simulate carrying an average weight unconscious person from a burning building, was disproportionately disqualifying women. So a [Democrat] judge said “prove to me the dead-weight number is necessary”. Surprise! FDNY was unable to prove such to the [Democrat] judge. So the dead-weight number was lowered and now nobody and everybody properly qualifies. But that’s the fundamental objective of Democrats, right?

    platypus in reply to FrankNatoli. | May 10, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    You must have missed the memo – we’re re-writing history and what you recited is scheduled to be deleted from the final draft. Forward!

Char Char Binks | May 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Everything should be fine, as long as there’s no fire.