Most wildland fire personnel engage in arduous activities. This requires not only a medical exam but also physical fitness testing to ensure you can perform the job safely.
Some wildland fire positions require lower levels of exertion and have different medical and physical fitness testing requirements.
Positions in wildland fire require testing to ensure you can perform the necessary physical activities safely. The positions are divided into three categories based on the level of exertion required. The testing requirements are different for each category.
Wildland firefighting (which includes positions such as firefighter, faller, or crew boss) involves arduous work. You must be able to perform the essential functions required by your position at any time. This work may include, but is not limited to, lifting and carrying more than 50 pounds, walking, climbing, running, jumping, flying in helicopters and fixed wing airplanes, working in remote locations and at high altitudes, working long hours, disrupted sleep, and irregular meals. View the Essential Functions and Work Conditions of a Wildland Firefighter factsheet to learn more.
Moderate duty positions (such as operations section chief or safety officer) require average endurance and conditioning, as well as complete control of all your physical faculties. Activities required by moderate duty positions include, but are not limited to, considerable walking over irregular ground, standing for long periods, lifting 25 to 50 pounds, climbing, bending, stooping, squatting, twisting, and reaching.
Light duty positions (such as incident communications technician or camp manager) require light physical exertion in field or office settings and basic good health. Activities include, but are not limited to, climbing stairs, standing, operating a vehicle, and long hours of work. Activities also include some bending, stooping, or light lifting. You can almost always govern the extent and pace of your physical activity.
Work capacity tests are job-related tests to determine your ability to perform the minimum physical standards for your position. There are three levels of tests, which correspond with the three duty types.
Arduous duty firefighting positions require a medical exam and a physical fitness test. You must complete your medical exam and receive a qualification certificate before you can participate in the pack test. Learn about this process on our medical exam webpage.
To participate in the field test for moderate duty positions or the walk test for light duty positions, you must first complete a health screening questionnaire. Complete the questionnaire by following these steps:
For more information, review our frequently asked questions for the Interior's Wildland Fire Medical Standards Program.
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