The Grind: Firefighter Fitness

As firefighters, line officers, and command staff, when you think about physical fitness are the first pictures that come to mind fighting structure fires, high-level rescues, vehicle extrications, and other common high-demand, life-saving responses...


A high level of fitness and readiness is not just required for the high-demand responses of a shift, but for the shift itself. For a moment, imagine the same rescue company from above has just finished its three-hour vehicle extrication training in a high-heat environment and now is required for a high-demand, life-saving response.

A special thanks to B.J. Jungmann, Assistant Fire Chief/EMS, Maplewood, MN, Fire Department, Maplewood, for reviewing the article for correct fire service terminology.


1The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page

2National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, Working in Hot Environments

3International Association of Firefighters, Fitness on the Front Line: Staying Prepared

SCOTT TOMEK MA, EMT-P has been a paramedic for 25 years with 23 of those at Lakeview Hospital EMS in Stillwater, MN. He is a faculty member with the Century College Paramedic Program and wrote the curriculum for and served as the interim director of their public safety degree program. He is a frequent contributor to EMS Magazine, a frequent presenter at EMS conferences in the Midwest and an educational consultant to fire and EMS services. He can be reached at scott.tomek@century.eduNICOLE OLSON is an undergraduate student at Mankato State University where she is majoring in health science with a minor in psychology. Her areas of interest are childhood obesity, nutrition, and endurance sports. She is an accomplished sub-four hour marathoner. She can be reached at