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  1. #1
    Forum Member Crwb4104's Avatar
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    Question Doctors physical in place of pack test.

    I have decided to post this after considerable debate with friends with other departments. The question is should a yearly physical completed by your Physician should be accepted to deem you "physically fit" enough to fight wildland fire -in place of- the standard pack test that so many of us enjoy? (45lb pack, walking 3 miles, in 45 minutes, for any that are not familiar with it)

    I have heard pro's and con's from both sides, but I would like to see what the other pro's in the field think.
    -Tradition-
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  2. #2
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    this is something that is being discussed by our Union, as we have to pass the yearly pack test (moderate) or take the Arduous if we want to be on western detail crews. It was proposed that perhaps a full yearly physical and/or a stress test be administered instead of the current pulmonary function test (which will degrade after time on the job), resting blood pressure and then the pack test

  3. #3
    Forum Member Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    I hope that we do not start that. Before the standard pack test was it not based off of body vitals after a workout? I was of the understanding that we got away from doing that because physically fit people where barred( various reasons high BP's the main cause)
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crwb4104 View Post
    I have decided to post this after considerable debate with friends with other departments. The question is should a yearly physical completed by your Physician should be accepted to deem you "physically fit" enough to fight wildland fire -in place of- the standard pack test that so many of us enjoy? (45lb pack, walking 3 miles, in 45 minutes, for any that are not familiar with it)

    I have heard pro's and con's from both sides, but I would like to see what the other pro's in the field think.
    I would only warn that many Doctors will sign just about anything for thier patients as long as they have no huge life threatening issues, and they won't have a clue about the true demands of wildland firefighting. You would lose any real measurable proof of physical fitness with a Doctor's physical alone.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  5. #5
    Forum Member RxFire's Avatar
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    IMO, I do believe the pack test is flawed, but by the same token, one could be "fit" in the exam room and still not be able to perform up to the necessary level.

    The pack test is the wildland version of the CPAT I suppose... in the real world, the physical skills tested my not be used like there are in the test, but you have to start somewhere.

    To me the pack test is not just a physical test, it's mental also... if you can't slog it out for 12 laps wearing running shorts and shoes, because you think it's too hard, or whatever mental block you develop, I don't want you on my engine where we may have to hike in for 3 miles to the fire with everything we may need for the day in our line gear. I have seen many women do the pack test where the 45 lbs is just about 1/2 their body weight, and do it better than many "stronger" men. That proves that there is something more than just a physical ability to the pack test. Something that can't be "measured" until faced with it.
    IACOJ
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  6. #6
    Forum Member FortechFEO's Avatar
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    An interesting prop. I have seen some good Dr. offices and some bad. My issue is that most of them do not understand what wildland fire requires. They can get the basic concept, but not the full extent of the true requirements. The pack test is definately flawed as a testing system, but so was the step test. I would look at the liability and how to control the testing process to maintain a high level of quality. Pick the Doctor's and make sure quality is maintained across the department.
    "The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action."

  7. #7
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    Cool Physical vs. Work Capacity Test

    IMHO, while the Pack Test does have its faults, I don't believe a Doctors Physical (which is generally just a physical exam) would in any way evaluate the cardiopulmonary systems like the Pack test does. While it is technically called the Work Capacity Test, it is a more physically (and mentally as stated earlier) demanding evaluation of the the bodies systems, not just cardiopulmonary but also muscular and skeletal systems. I would rather find out about a possible "weakness" of one of my fellow firefighters here rather than 2 miles into the forest where I have to pack them and their equipment back out because they had a "bad" ankle or "bum" hip. Just my humble opinion though.
    When in doubt, burn it out!!!

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