So ladies (and gents) I'm hoping you can help me out. I am currently a paramedic and am going to the fire academy in August. I am in fair shape, I was a gymnast until about 2 years ago. I have been going to the gym and starting to get my fitness back up but I am still really worried about the academy. Any tips or advice? I work hard but anything to help me through would be so much appreciated.

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That's great for you! I do have a few of advices for you!

1. Make sure you are comfortable being claustrophobic.

You have no idea how many cadets are AUTOMATICALLY FLUNKED OUT of school for freaking out in Search and Rescue drills!

I practice this drill before fire academy.

Here's what you'll need:

- Workout clothes (with knee pads and yard gloves)

- 2 backpacks full of sand or rocks

- 25-50 feet of cheap rope

- Ski goggles that you have blacked out with duct-tape

- a big local playground available at 5-6am in the morning

- cheap digital watch with countdown timer

Warm-ups

STRETCH and then do 15 minutes of cardio running around
the playground.
Put one backpack full of sand on your back and the other on
your chest, and then do another 5-15 minutes of jogging.

(Keep increasing the times each time you do this drill).

Drill:

Get to a corner of the playground and get on all fours. Start
the watch countdown to beep after 10 minutes.  Put on the
BLACKED OUT goggles.  Tie one end of the rope to your
backpack and tie the other end of the rope to whatever piece
of jungle-gym equipment is closet.  If you have trouble tying
knots without seeing then YOU BETTER START
PRACTICING!
Now, staying AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, climb your way
through the ENTIRE playground.  REMEMBER: Keep one
hand out in front of you AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.  This
way you will be able to feel out your surroundings BEFORE
you bump your head into them.  Wind yourself around and
through every obstacle you can.  If you find a tunnel or
something small you can't fit through, take OFF the
backpack(s) and push them in front of you (simulating SCBA
removal).  When your rope runs out, give it a tug to make
sure it isn't just caught on something (Remember: Drill
Instructors like to see you TRY solutions to easily correctable
problems).  If the rope's out, untie it from your backpack
and tie it to a piece of the gym wherever you end up.  Then
turn around and FOLLOW the rope back to your start
location.  If you don't make it back to the start within 10
minutes, keep practicing until you do.
It might sound ridiculous but I did it and it's helpful!
You also can continue exercises that you have been doing but you can add some of weights on your back, such as backpacks with sand or rocks in it (about same weight as SCBA).
Keep thinking positive! If I can then you can do it! It was challenges for me because I'm only 5 foot tall and 110 pounds but I succeed.
If you have any more questions, please don't be hesitate to ask!

Thank you so much! That helps a lot. Some of my worry is being able to do it since I'm about 5'2" but hearing encouragement from other women helps a lot. I'm a bit hard-headed so I'm pretty sure I can do this with the right preparation so thanks for the advice. I will try it.

No problem! Let me know how it going!

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