In an attempt to be politically correct, the FDNY has hired a female candidate that failed the Functional Skills Training test. Rebecca Wax, 33, passed the written tests with flying colors, but was unable to complete the test that showed she could successfully navigate an obstacle course that mimics real-life firefighting challenges, the NY Post reported in May. The test entails being able to breathe through a mask attached to an air tank while carrying roughly 50 pounds of gear. Probies must complete the course in 17 minutes, 50 seconds or less. Wax completed the test just once, but it took her more than the allotted time and in previous attempts she had to stop when her air ran out. I don't think any of us would want this person searching for our loved ones in the event of a fire.
Last year, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley led the push for more relaxed rules to allow more women to enter the FDNY, which resulted in this poor hiring decision. Crowley, who is Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee and co-Chair of the NYC Council Women's Caucus, said in a December 2014 press release. The City not only needs to increase and rethink its recruitment efforts, it needs to answer serious questions regarding testing methods in the Fire Academy that may be keeping female probationary firefighters from graduating.