South Korea’s Fire Agency Adopts Unified Fitness Standards
The National Fire Agency (NFA) has committed to implementing uniform evaluation criteria for the physical fitness test of potential firefighters by 2027, regardless of gender. On Jan. 23, the NFA unveiled an updated firefighter selection and training plan to spot individuals demonstrating superior performance in on-site situations.
Under the new plan, the NFA is scrapping the conventional physical fitness test, which includes assessments like grip strength, back strength, sit and reach, standing long jump, sit-ups, and shuttle runs. Instead, the evaluation will shift to five dynamic events reflecting the challenges of firefighting duties, such as round-trip long-running.
These five events will include navigating stairs, dragging and pulling fire hoses, carrying heavy equipment, rescuing individuals, and supporting equipment. The NFA made this adjustment based on the typical scenarios and actions frequently encountered by firefighters during missions, such as putting out fires and transporting emergency patients.
However, there are concerns that this new system might introduce inequality, potentially making employment less favorable for women. In response to these concerns, Fire Chief Bae Deok-gon emphasized that applying the same standards to both men and women will not put female applicants at a disadvantage. He clarified that the recruiting process remains segregated by gender. Additionally, he underscored that the new evaluation aims to ensure all firefighters possess the physical fitness to carry out on-site activities safely and efficiently.
1. What has NFA committed to? What was unveiled on Jan. 23?
2. What will happen under the new plan, according to paragraph 2?
3. What are the five dynamic events, according to paragraph 3? How did the NFA make these events?
4. What are the concerns of this new system? What did Fire Chief Bae say in response?
1. What do you think about NFA's updated firefigher selection and training plan?
2. What should you do in the case of a fire?
3. What can you do to prevent fires? What should you do in the case of a fire?
4. Do you think gender equality is important? Which fields have better gender equality than others? Explain.