The Fire Services Department is scaling back its fitness requirements for new recruits, opening its doors to people who have lower stamina or wear glasses.
The department said that with a three percent vacancy rate, it has decided to make it easier for people to become firefighters and ambulance workers.
At a press briefing, the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy Commandant Yiu Men-yeung said there's a particular need for new station officers, with 90 vacancies at the moment.
"After reviewing our recruitment policies, we believe there is room to adjust the entry requirements for stamina and eyesight standards to adopt a more proactive strategy to attract more people with different abilities and backgrounds, including those who wear glasses, to join the work of the Fire Services Department," he said.
People who struggle to do pull-ups won't automatically be barred from applying, for example, and they'll have 26 weeks of intense training to get into shape, with the physical fitness test moved to the final phase of the recruitment process.
"Only after reaching the required physical fitness level can they be considered to have completed their basic training, so adjusting the physical fitness test requirements will not affect their future rescue work," Yiu said.
He added that people can still don a breathing apparatus if they wear glasses, but those with serious eyesight problems should probably not apply.
Yiu said he hopes the adjustments will allow 80 to 90 percent of applicants to pass vision and fitness tests, up from 60 percent at present.