Medical Exam Process

Photo showing medical examiners on the Pioneer Fire.


All wildland firefighters are required to take a medical exam at the start of employment and again every three years after. A medical exam must be completed prior to participating in the annual Work Capacity Test (AKA the "Pack Test"). Below are the three exam types and when they will need to be completed.

  • The initial comprehensive baseline exam is for new hires and those employees interested in becoming wildland firefighters. This requires an in-person medical exam that will be ordered for you by your Human Resource (HR) office or your unit Fire Management Officer (FMO).
  • The periodic exam is required every 36 months (three years) from the date of your last exam. Your FMO or Human Resources (HR) Office will request this exam for you. You may need to contact them to if you are approaching 36 months since your last in-person exam.  
  • The last type of exam is the annual self-certification. Between periodic exams you will need to log in to your examinee account and complete an annual self-certification.

Graphic showing wildland firefighter medical exam types that is also explained on the accompanying page.
Types of wildland firefighter medical exams.


Step One:  Your FMO or HR Office will contact you as part of the hiring process or collateral duty firefighting. They will request an exam and the contracted exam provider will notify you of your appointment time in your local area.

Step Two: Show up to your appointment with any supporting documentation! The appointment will include all the basic components of a physical exam -- things like blood, hearing, and vision tests, as well as heart and lung evaluation, and basic mobility and dexterity.

  • Bring a valid ID showing your legal name.
  • Bring supporting medical records or documentation for any medical issues you have or medications you are taking.
  • Bring information from your provider regarding procedures/surgery that indicates you’re fully recovered and can perform the essential functions of an arduous duty wildland firefighter.

It is important to note that the government pays for all baseline and periodic exams, and you don’t need to provide any personal insurance information. The medical determination may involve recommendations for additional information and/or testing. If there is additional testing or medical follow-up after your initial appointment it will be your responsibility unless prior, specific authorization is obtained from your agency.

Step Three: A reviewing medical officer with occupational health expertise will look over your results and send you a determination letter. This should be received approximately two weeks after your appointment date. This letter may contain one of the following qualification determinations:

  • Qualified – No further action is needed at this time. Contact the individual who ordered your exam for any further guidance.
  • Deferral – Additional information is needed to complete your determination. This should be identified in the letter.  This information can be submitted directly to the contractor, Acuity-CHS within 10 business days or through the WLFF CSR at any time.
  • Not Qualified (Static & Stable) – May require additional information or the examinee can request to participate in the Risk Mitigation/Waiver process. 
  • Not Qualified (Not Static & Stable) – Additional medical documentation can be submitted at any time for review to determine if medical condition meets standards or static and stable requirements.

If you are determined to be Not Qualified additional information about next steps is available on the Medical Review and Waiver page. 

Graphic showing the steps contained in the medical exam process. Identical information is also contained on the adjoining website.
Steps in the wildland firefighting medical exam process.


We understand the complexity of medical exams and the medical standards program, but each of these processes help to enhance the safety of our firefighting workforce. These frequently asked questions are here to help you through the process! 

For one-on-one technical assistance or questions please contact us at:


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