Friday, September 7, 2007

Should firemen be able to divide?

Ok, so recently the city of St. Louis dropped a basic reading/writing/arithmetic test as a pre-employment test. (which you would need to pass in order to become a fireman) Evidently 7 out of 10 people failed the test. The only question that was released to the public was “Assume a length of hose is 30 feet long. A fire is 90 feet away. How many lengths of hose are needed to reach the fire?”.
While yes, that question is a skill I learned in elementary school- simple division, is it necessary to be a firefighter? Well, if you asked me “do firefighters need to know how to divide in order to fight a fire?” I probably would’ve said no…but put like it is above, I mean, do I really want someone taking their time and messing up getting a hose to my house? Not really. I’d rather have them be able to determine how much hose to get and fast, thank you. On the other hand, are they really told a fire is 90 feet away? Isn’t it more of a space judgment test? Maybe all I care about is that they know that the fire is about 3 hose lengths away because that’s what they need to know, not that 3 hose lengths make 90 feet.
I guess when I think of qualities I want my fireman to have: strong, quick, able to comprehend basic instruction and speak English. Lets get a test like that.

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