View Poll Results: Does your dept require annual physicals

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  • Yes, for a career Department

    15 33.33%
  • Yes, for a volunteer department

    17 37.78%
  • No, for a Career department

    3 6.67%
  • No, for a volunteer department

    10 22.22%
  1. #1
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    HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Default does your department require annual physicals?

    The subject pretty much says it self. As we all know, there are some firefighters that are a little out of shape. they might have started their careers (both volunteer and paid) in perfect physical condition, but as time went on, those 6 pack abs they had became a keg.

    i know my department in upstate NY required annual physicals (which the dept paid for), as did most of them in the county. my dept in NJ only requires a physical when you first join, but nothing after that. which is more common?

    post here if you have any details, or vote in the poll above
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  2. #2
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    No physical required for the vollies or the Part-time Paid Firefighters. A physical IS required AFTER being hired to Full-time paid FF positions because it it required when enrolling in the State Firefighters Retirement Plan. The Ff enrolling in the retirement plan pays for the physical himself. It cost me $219. It's just a basic physical which I took at the Occupational Health Clinic. I'm a fat *** with medically controlled Hypertension and I passed it so it shouldn't be too difficult for anyone else to pass. After that there are no ANNUAL physical requirements for either paid or vollies.

  3. #3
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    Not annually, but every other year. We all get a DMV medical clearance when we join for our ambulance drivers certs and Class B licenses. DMV requires a physical every other year.

    We can either go to the city's occupational clinic for free or our own doctor and pay for it ourselves or through insurance.

    We're also exploring the idea of requiring a periodic full physical similar to the one we go through before joining, which includes a stress test, spirometry, chest X-rays, a lifting test, etc.

    And yes, we're volunteers.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

  4. #4
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    Here is the system we are implimenting:

    14-29: Every three years
    30-39: Every two years
    40+: Every year
    JLS
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    51 Pride - R.I.P. Sandy
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  5. #5
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    Our Department requires, and pays for, an annual physical for all Firefighters and Dive Team members.

  6. #6
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    Talking Annual Physicals

    We are a Career Department and we have annual Physicals and every 6 months we must also pass a agility to keep our jobs. Doesnt matter if your a first year guy or been here 27 years we all must pass or were out on the Street.

    There were quite a few guys upset at first including me but in the long hall it is in our and our crews best interest to keep in shape to do the job.

    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

  7. #7
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    We currently have no annual physical, but we desperately need them. We have a high average age for a FD in our area and, quite frankly, some of our guys are living on borrowed time as it is.

    Our problem is, what do you do with someone who needs to be removed from fire suppression for medical reasons? Our department (all career) is too small to have a dedicated prevention bureau and we have no real disability plan available.
    ullrichk
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  8. #8
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    Originally posted by ullrichk
    Our problem is, what do you do with someone who needs to be removed from fire suppression for medical reasons? Our department (all career) is too small to have a dedicated prevention bureau and we have no real disability plan available.
    you want my honest opinion? if they need to be removed for medical reasons, take their gear. if they are not allowed to go interior, take their mask. take it and lock it up somewhere. if someone refused to get a physical, do the same. we all see the reports of LODD from heart attacks. Doing this might prevent a LODD.

    i hate to sound cruel, but there will always be people willing to take the job of a career firefighter. if they need to be retired, then leadership (ie, the Chief) needs to have the balls to say the department isn't willing to risk a firefighter's life, even if the firefighter is. if they retire, i'm sure you can hire a replacement.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  9. #9
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    My full time depts medical program has been a real odd mixture. I had a very cursory physical when I was hired in 92. Once about 5 yrs ago they sent everyone to do a PFT (pulmonary function test-exhale in tube). The Hazmat team gets full physicals, I don't know the interval.

    Until recently, we went every 2 yrs to a local hospital for a physical fitness evaluation. This evaluation was confidential, they did blood work for cholesterol, measured for body fat, and did a bike test to see how many METs you were burning, to give you a guage on your physical fitness. This program recently went out of business, so I don't know if the Chiefs are looking to replace it.

    The best one was recently, before attending the Paramedic Academy, we had to get physicals. I was sent to the Occupational Health Clinic, where they took my vitals, made me touch my toes, and looked at me in my underwear. The best was the hearing test-the doc stood 5 feet behind me and imitated the Verizon guy, whispering "can you hear me know?" from each side. No blood work, no vaccine record check-thankfully my Marine Corps Reserve status keeps me up to date for Hepatitis, TB, etc.

    BTW, no physical fitness test after you're hired. Our dept is relatively healthy, but 2/3 of the guys now have between 10-18 yrs on.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by DrParasite


    you want my honest opinion? if they need to be removed for medical reasons, take their gear.
    In theory this works just fine. Throw in any combination of a balky state retirement system, CBA provision, or politics, and it just doesn't work out that way. Personally, I'd rather see reassignment to prevention since it always seems to be underfunded, understaffed, and underappreciated. In many departments, though, there simply is no separate prevention division.

    Sure, from a bean-counter's viewpoint, you would just cut 'em loose, but from a leader's standpoint, these firefighters should be shown some respect. Young or old, a disabled FF still needs to pay the bills. Keep 'em on the payroll, and you wind up with only one or two guys on a crew that can do anything at all.

    Who has some ideas for the "middle ground"?
    ullrichk
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  11. #11
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    Originally posted by ullrichk
    Sure, from a bean-counter's viewpoint, you would just cut 'em loose, but from a leader's standpoint, these firefighters should be shown some respect. Young or old, a disabled FF still needs to pay the bills.
    absolutely, those veterans do deserve respect, and I am sorry if I implied otherwise. but that is why they have pensions. it's not firing them, but having them retire. can they still do the job? or more importantly, can they still do the job without suffering a massive MI on scene? I'm not trying to kick them to the curb, but rather say that there comes a time when we need to say those that are not longer medically able to do the job that they need to hang up their helmet.

    and I'm sure many will fight, but do you want them to become the next LODD?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by FiftyOnePride
    Here is the system we are implimenting:

    14-29: Every three years
    30-39: Every two years
    40+: Every year
    We have the same exact system.
    IACOJ Member

  13. #13
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    Yes, Same as
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    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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  14. #14
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    Career every 18 months, Paid On Call every 3 years. Don't know what happens if someone doesn't pass; hasn't happened yet. This question has been brought up but not answered. It's not addressed in the contract.

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    Yes, not a big deal not anyone would ever be put on medical leaave because of it. We have a guy who's in his late 60s had heart bipass surgery and still passed the physical. Not that he responds to a lot of calls, but he will still put gear on.(Mostly if there's not enough younger guys there.)

  16. #16
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    annual physicals are required for all paid firefighters, but not for volunteers at my departments.

  17. #17
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    About 5 years ago we started a pogram for scheduled physicals. It's supposed to follow the same guidelines that 51Pride posted and the physical is very similar, if not the same, as the one listed in NFPA XYZ......... Physical agility is required for all new recruits and for any promotions (for those that were grandfathered). Nothing yet to do it anymore than that......

  18. #18
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    We get an paid annual physical and every fifth year ( under 40 )
    we do a EKG bike test to check on the heart and the blood-pressure.
    On top of that our department require a 250W treadmill test twice a year for interial firefighting with breathing apparatus.
    Fredrik

    Firefighter

    Lulea firedep. Sweden

  19. #19
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    We use the same age guidelines as 51 posted.
    We also have 5 classifications, so that older members can still participate, but in a limited capacity. (this helps with the LOSAP eligibility for older members)

    INTERIOR:- can do anything
    EXTERIOR A: can do anything EXCEPT anything requiring use of an SCBA
    EXTERIOR B: can ride apparatus, but must stay at truck, cannot drive apparatus. No physical exertion.
    ADMINISTRATIVE 1: Meetings only, cannot ride apparatus, but can sign call sheets and participate in LOSAP program
    ADMINISTRATIVE 2: Used for people who do not take physical. Cannot ride apparatus or participate in LOSAP program.

    Our physical includes EKG, spirometery, cholesterol check, diabetes screening, eye test, hearing test, chest x-ray if history of smoking and basic medical check.

    This is a volunteer department.
    9/11/01 Never forget Never forgive

    Dusty, working on Crusty IACOJ

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