Firefighters and Fitness Testing

Firefighters and Fitness Testing

Today’s firefighters are expected to be extreme occupational athletes!

Firefighters perform many of their duties in an environment that induces extreme physiological and psychological stress. Our work space can be in a dark, hot - 400–500-degree environment while wearing, or carrying 50-75 pound of Personal Protective Ensemble (PPE) and the tools they need to extinguish and then overhaul a fire scene. 

Each year, your SBFD firefighters participate in a fitness test to ensure their readiness to perform their firefighting duties at a moment’s notice. Their fitness levels are measured against a nationally recognized metric (Coopers Standard) that accesses our personnel in: aerobic capacity, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.

There is a significant payoff for our firefighters. The latest data from the US Fire Administration shows that firefighter injury rates are the third lowest injury rate in 38 years. Firefighter fatalities (62) are at the lowest level since USFA began tracking this information in 1973.  Unfortunately, heart attacks still account for 51% of firefighter fatalities.

A growing concern within the fire service is rising cancer rates among firefighters. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently undertook two large studies focused on firefighter cancer and concluded that firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S. 

To help mitigate the concern of carcinogens from products of combustion saturating our firefighters Personal Protective Ensemble (PPE or turnout gear), our firefighters are issued two sets of PPE (cost $5700/set) so that a clean set is available to wear, while the dirty PPE is washed immediately after a fire.

The City now offers its employees access to a cooperative health center- Marathon Health Clinic located on Kennedy Drive. The Clinic which offers health screening, nutritional counseling, testing and other health related services.