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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Sergeant Bluff, IA
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    4

    Default Mandatory Annual Physical Fitness Test

    Are there any departments out there currently using an annual mandatory fitness test. My department currently has an entrance physical agility test, but after that nothing mandatory. We have yearly fitness evaluations but nothing comes from it, and a mandatory hour of excercise per shift that a small minority of us observe. I would like to see a mandatory yearly agility test. The United States Armed Forces have to maintain a certain level of fitness or suffer conciquences, even in the Guard and Reserve ranks. Why not the fire service. We all know that heart and lung problems kill us much more frequently then burning buildings falling on us. I just want to help save some lives of my brothers and know that the guy next to me can get me out of a burning basement. Anyone out there that feels the same? Again I'm looking for any department that currently had a annual test and how the program works for you. Thanks.

    Phil Marchand
    Sioux City Fire Rescue
    IAFF L7


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8

    Thumbs up couldn't agree more!!

    I'm not a FF (yet), but just wanted to chime in on this one. I was active-duty Air Force, and later Guard, and you're right that fitness is a big deal in the military (even in the country club branch of the service, aka the Air Force ). I participate in a very physical martial art and have gotten to know a few cops pretty well, and they've told me some pretty sad stories about how stubborn many cops are about not doing any kind of exercise. From what I've read in a lot of these forums, many FF seem to be the same way. This baffles me, but then again, I'm baffled that it's apparently necessary to put warnings on cigarette packs, too. I guess I could see such stubbornness coming from accountants or car salesmen, but for people whose own lives--and those of their fellow FFs and those of the people they rescue--could be impacted by not staying fit, I wouldn't expect it at all.

    Good for you, man--keep up the good work and set the example!

    Bob
    Volly FF / paramedic wannabe
    and hopeless patriot

  3. #3
    Captain Mike
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Long Island, NY
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    31

    Default FDNY Annual Medical - post by Captain Mike Stefano

    The FDNY requires firefighters to pass an annual medical exam that includes a 5 minute step test. You're right, there should be some basic standard that we all have to pass.

    Unfortunately, you'll get major arguments on both side (labor and management). The bottom line is always money, but firefighters need support if expected to live up to standards, not just a discount at the local gym.

    If any department / municipalities or individual firefighters expect to make a difference, there's needs to be a guided approach, along with gradual standards applied. Forget bodybuilding and long distance running techniques (but this is mostly what happens if firefighters are left to train on their own) and concentrate on real training, more of what's done at most academies (boot camp style), but in a gym setting.

    Longer, harder, full body "sets" done with low resistance --never isolating muscles or muscle groups, always integrating the whole body. Kettlebell training and my STS training, combined with the right type of cardio and some task-specific work, can really make a difference in how you, the average firefighter, will react under extreme stress (as experienced at most structural fires).

    Think about how we operate, really hard for about 5 to 15 minutes. Sometimes it's longer and more drawn out, but initially, an extreme and quick effort is usually required. All this occurs while under load.

    Doing a set of bench presses in gym shorts for 30 seconds lying on your back is not enough. I invite you all to learn a new way to train...
    Michael Stefano
    Author of The Firefighter's Workout Book
    www.firefightersworkout.com

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Sergeant Bluff, IA
    Posts
    4

    Default Physical Standards

    Thanks for replying. I'm glad to know that other people out there feel the same way. It's going to be an up-hill battle, but one I hope can be won. In regards to FDNY Capt. Mike--I bought your book The Firefighters Workout Book 5 or 6 years ago. It is very informational and I have used it in my training and lifestyle routines. I'm hoping to incorporate some of your teachings into a system that needs a little tuning. Front page of Firehouse today has a department in Michigan going for mandatory standards. Good for them. Maybe it'll be a snowball effect. Thanks again for sharing your feelings.

    P. Marchand
    Sioux City Fire Rescue
    IAFF L7

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Apr 2007
    Location
    DFW Metroplex, TEXAS
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    21

    Default When you signed up for this job

    When one signs up to do this job, I hope that he/she understood that their commitment was not a one-time decision, but one that goes beyond agreeing to show up to work every shift and into the relm of constantly challenging oneself...to show up READY for ones shift.

    There are three types of people in our line of work...Those who are passionate, those who can be inspired and those who are just here.
    I challenge myself every day to continue to be passionate in all the areas that the job demands: training, mental and physical fitness just to name a few; AND THEN inspire those who aren't.

    With that said, I have similar concerns about my brothers not being able to go the distance. The immediate benefit of being physically fit allows us to do our job more safely and efficiently...the long term benefit allows us to stay on the job longer and live healthier after we leave.

    For many of us, when it comes to physical fitness, change hardly ever occurs until the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of remaining the same. I have seen guys never get serious about what they eat and how they work out UNTIL after they wound up in the hospital recovering from a heart attack or had to medically retire because they had the doctor refuse to release them back to work.

    I believe that the bottom line is what I wrote on the top line. Firefighters MUST buy into the belief that this job takes an ONGOING committment to ensure that you are operating at his/her best. It isn't enough to be in shape to pass the entrance exam...after you pass it is ONLY when your job starts...
    FIREFIGHERS SHOULD STAY in shape to STAY in this job. Fire departments should find a way to hire those individuals who have adopted this philosophy.

    Departments that don't require a test of ones physical abilities are only decreasing their effectiveness and safety and probably increasing their insurance premiums. It's cliche, but a team is only as strong/fast as it's weakest/slowest member.

    Firefighters who don't buy into the continued committment on their part are hurting themselves and their crew/department.

    The answer to your situation is FIRE DEPARTMENTS WHO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ONGOING CHALLENGE AND FIREFIGHTERS WHO ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT IT. If you find yourself in a situation where this isn't the case, then all you can do is what YOU can do: Let your example be an inspiration...and hope that you never get stuck in the basement with the other firefighter who didn't accept that challenge.

    Stay STRONG, stay safe.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Glad to see your guys are being proactive with this whole situation. I was just put on to our departments fitness and health committee. I am looking for any standards that other departments have so I can see an example of what we are going to need.

  7. #7
    Forum Member firecoast's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Location
    Norton Shores, MI
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    16

    Default

    A neighboring department recently entered into an agreement between the city and the union to have mandatory annual physicals and physical ability tests. A copy of the article is here.

    Our department has had time set aside during every shift for our members for several years, and started out being mandatory, with no annual physical offered. Now, only a few of us work out regularly, since it became hard for the officers to enforce rules which they weren't following themselves. Many of our personnel believe that a program such as Norton Shores' would hurt our department. Coming from a military background, I can see the benefits. A few of the people I served with in the military were discharged when they failed what was regarded as the "fat boy program."

    Personally, I like the kettlebell program I've been using for the last four months. I was introduced to these by Lt. Anthony Grokaitis of the Worcester Fire Department in this article.

    I've seen vast improvement in my overall fitness, with better endurance during an incident and less air used with my SCBA. I started working out in January, and can only see benefits for everyone with a mandatory workout period.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Mandatory physical agility testing

    Be careful what you wish for, as a 30 yr veteran I have been on both sides, our department has a bi-annual madatory agility test that has to be passed or the warning and write ups begin, if you are planning a long stay in this business, as you get older it gets harder. I do my job every third day from ems to any type of fire but when you do the test all together with no stopping it will get you. The test consist of being in turn out gear except for mask and hood, pick up a rolled 3" hose take it 4 stories up and then down, next station 20' extension ladder raise it hand over hand till it hits then bring it down the same, 3rd station take a dry 1.75 hose by nozzle drag it 25' go around a barral anothe 15' fall to one knee and pull, 4th station pick up a 3" hose rolled and walk a 20' ladder that is flat on the ground walking the rails down and back with out falling off, 5th stationwalk up to the 3rd floor drill tower pull a 40 lb bag hand over hand to you and then back down, 6th station picl up a 185 lb dummy and drag it 50 yards no stopping, 7th station take a 10 lb sledge hammer and move a sled from one end the the other allowed 22 strikes, 8th station pick up an exhaust fan and take 25 yards test done and we do this every April and October so again becareful what you wish for

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    1

    Default Who's responsible

    Is the organization you work for who is starting a mandatory physical ability test responsible for providing the means to work out at no cost to the employee or not?

  10. #10
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 1999
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    2,514

    Default

    Mandatory physical fitness-OK.
    Now you have to provide the equipment and time for the individuals to work out. On shift, do you take them out of service? Off shift do you provide a gym membership?
    Equipment; who pays for and maintains the required equipment? Where is is located, a central location, at each house?
    Training; who provides the certified trainer to develop a relevant program to aid in passing said physical fitness test? If a member fails, who pays for and provides the medical screening, testing, and remedial program to ensure the member has the best chance of passing?
    The standards; who sets them-the department? an outside agency? How about gender issues? Will the standards be different for male and female though the job requirements are the same?
    Before you mandate anything, you may want to research far and wide.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
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