Sounding siren for ambulance officers
With Hong Kong's population ageing and awareness of health-care issues increasing, demand for public medical services has never been higher. One such area is ambulance services, and the Fire Services Department is currently looking to recruit dedicated individuals with strong leadership abilities to become ambulance officers.
An officer's main duty is to manage an ambulance depot and to supervise ambulance staff. There are also administrative duties, such as staff management and planning duties.
The department welcomes university graduates who are fluent in Cantonese and English, though applicants need to pass a series of challenging physical and intellectual tests to receive an offer.
The first stage of the application involves a physical fitness test and a job-related performance test, which evaluate the candidates' physical strength and athletic ability. The physical fitness test includes eight sections: a yo-yo endurance test, vertical leaps, chin-ups, push-ups, sit and reaches, parallel bar dips, sit-ups and "burpees". Candidates have to complete a certain amount of repetitions in each section to pass the test and move on to the next stage.
Up next is the job-related performance test, which examines a candidate's agility and strength. They are tasked with running up and down stairs carrying equipment, and with retrieving a designated object from an ambulance within a given time limit.
Candidates who fail at any item do not get to progress onto other areas and will be deemed as having failed the entire assessment.
Those who pass both tests will be invited for a written aptitude test and a preliminary interview. The written aptitude test involves a series of multiple-choice questions related to physics, mathematics and other topics related to the job. Candidates are encouraged to look up samples of the questions on various online forums.
The preliminary interview is a panel interview where the candidate must answer questions regarding their past experience and why they want to apply for the job. Candidates will also be given a case - which could be on a staff-management issue or other work-related situation - and need to provide a solution.
There will also be questions related to medical knowledge and government policies. Later, candidates will be asked to read an English essay to demonstrate their English abilities.
Short-listed candidates will be called back for a final interview, where they need to do a writing test, participate in a group discussion and impromptu talk, and take part in practical and leadership exercises.
The written test could see candidates writing memos, proposals or other forms of practical writing in both English and Chinese. The group discussion is likely to be in English, with topics related to social issues. Candidates who keep up with the news will be at a distinct advantage.
For the impromptu talk - also likely to be in English - the candidate will draw a piece of paper from a box with an English word written on it. He or she will then be asked to give a short speech on the topic.
The practical and leadership exercises will involve simulations of work situations, where the candidate has to lead a team to complete a task. The final stage is another panel interview.
Successful candidates will have to undergo a medical examination before being admitted into the Fire Services Ambulance Command Training School for 26 weeks of training.