Health & Wellness: Are You Fit for Duty?

I utilized to educate experienced athletes, and just about every part of their exercise was measured and as opposed with their efficiency on the area. In the hearth support, we don’t have the luxury of replay, referees, timers and/or functionality evaluations for every call.

When you entered the hearth assistance, you probably were tasked with some form of entrance health exams that offered a baseline effectiveness evaluate which is required to accomplish the job. How do we evaluate health and fitness and efficiency concentrations just after we be part of the fireplace assistance?

NFPA 1500: Typical on Hearth Department Occupational Safety, Health and fitness, and Wellness Application

states that firefighters really should perform a annually clinical screening and exercise assessment. The evaluation really should be supervised by a properly trained well being expert and be composed of five elements: human body composition, overall flexibility (mobility), muscular toughness, muscular endurance and aerobic potential.

Even if your office does not spend or participate, you can acquire command of your possess health and fitness and see your particular health care provider to complete your professional medical. As considerably as health and fitness screening, there are some assessments that you can perform.

Physique composition

Physique composition describes your wholesome body weight a lot more correctly and delivers a better glimpse into your over-all health than regular procedures, these kinds of as overall body mass index (BMI) and pounds.

Why is physique composition so significant? Weight problems is affiliated with an elevated hazard of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetic issues, rest apnea and quite a few kinds of cancer. The accumulation of excess fat specific to the abdominal area also is really correlated with cardiac situations. Even more, increased concentrations of entire body fats can guide to a reduce in overall performance.

How to examination: The most popular way to determine human body composition employs skinfold calipers to pinch the body in unique spots. The measurement is put together with age and gender and is input into a specific formulation to offer a p.c entire body fats estimate.

There are economical bioelectrical impedance units to ascertain overall body composition, or you can reach out to a area health club to see whether it has far more precise solutions, this sort of as the InBody check.

The most precise type of human body composition tests is underwater weighing, which is executed at most universities and lab options.

It’s critical to check at the time or 2 times for every 12 months to identify traits.

Useful mobility

Regretably, a lot of firefighters sacrifice mobility and flexibility schooling to function on their “calendar” muscle tissue or bench push figures. Nevertheless, the more mobile that you are, the far better that you can go your joints by way of their whole variety of motion and the fewer very likely that you are to be hurt on and off the fireplace/rescue scene.

The wall squat reveals functional limits in the ankles, hips, and reduce and higher back, which are locations wherever firefighters are inclined to be tight and rigid.

How to test: Experience a wall with your ft shoulder-width aside and your toes 3 inches from the foundation and a little bit turned out. Squat as lower as you can, holding your toes flat, upper body up and again obviously arched. Really don’t permit any element of your body contact the wall.


●    Able to whole squat in command (thighs parallel or fewer to the floor) = athlete

●     Squat midway down = average

●     Significantly less than halfway or falling around = requirements operate


Firefighting jobs, these as forcible entry, involve the speedy transfer of power from the system to a software, as in swinging a sledgehammer. Electric power also will help firefighters to immediately drag heavy objects, this sort of as hoselines and victims.

The broad leap is a person of the purest gauges of raw power. It involves various muscle groups to hearth at as soon as. The more robust and additional explosive that you are, the extra power that you are going to deliver and the farther that you will leap.

How to take a look at: Stand guiding a marked line and leap forward as far as you can by swinging your arms and bending your knees to propel you ahead. 3 makes an attempt are permitted, and you have to land on both of those toes without slipping backward.

Final results:

●     Leap higher than 7½ toes = athlete

●     5 ½–7½ ft = typical

●     Much less than 5½ ft = needs work

Muscular power/endurance

An aggressive inside fireplace attack and scaling a ladder with significant tools to ventilate a roof, amid other tasks, involve a high degree of both toughness and the capacity to function at around-maximal intensity in sub-moment bursts (anaerobic stamina). The far more proficiently that you make use of oxygen, the additional helpful that you can be on the fireground.

A excellent way to exam this is to complete a whole-body, extremely taxing movement. I individually like the deadlift-curl-to-press check, since it is applicable to fireground actions.

How to exam: Use dumbbells that overall roughly 30 p.c of your fat. Keep them by your sides with your toes shoulder-width apart. Stand up straight, holding your back by natural means arched and your head up, then drive your hips back again and decreased your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground (deadlift). As you stand up, curl the dumbbells to shoulder top and then press them straight overhead. Return to the setting up placement and repeat as several instances as possible in a person minute.


●       18 repetitions or extra in a single moment = athlete

●       11–17 reps = ordinary

●       10 reps or fewer = requirements operate

Core energy

Most men and women contemplate a sturdy core as equating to a wonderful six-pack, but the truth is that the belly muscle groups are a quite modest part of the main. The core actually is composed of numerous muscle tissues that stabilize the spine and pelvis and run the full duration of the torso. When these muscles agreement correctly, they build a reliable base of help to produce useful actions.

The plank examination is a excellent way to evaluate the command and endurance of the main muscle mass.

How to check: Lie on the ground encounter down with your elbows straight under your shoulders. Elevate your hips and place your fat on your toes and forearms to kind a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Maintain this posture for as prolonged as you can. When your hips sag or your knees touch the flooring, cease the timer.


●       Additional than 2 minutes = athlete

●       1–2 minutes = ordinary

●       Less than 1 minute = needs work

Aerobic potential

Aerobic potential is the maximal total of oxygen that your body can consume in the course of large-depth training and commonly is thought of the greatest indicator of athletes’ (specifically, firefighters’) cardiovascular health and fitness and aerobic stamina.

1 of the least complicated techniques to keep track of aerobic potential is by means of the mile-and-a-half run.

How to test: Operate/walk as speedily as you can. You can check on a keep track of, measure out a training course in your community or run/stroll on a treadmill. (When managing on the treadmill, continue to keep the incline of the treadmill at zero.) Time how prolonged it usually takes to complete.


●       Below 11 minutes = athlete

●       11–14 minutes = average

●       Far more than 14 minutes = desires function

Not everyone is a “runner.” The burpee actually will get the heart performing and mimics the depth of the fire/rescue scene. About the yrs, I modified the test to make it safer and much easier on the shoulders.

How to examination: Start out in a standing place with your toes a little bit wider than hip-width and your arms at your sides. Bend about and squat down. Put your hands on the ground, a bit narrower than shoulder-width. Though keeping the upper overall body in location, kick the legs back again. Land with your body in a pushup position—although you never carry out a pushup. Trying to keep your upper physique in location, pull your legs forward exterior of your fingers (to guard your knees). Rise up to the original standing posture, increase your arms overhead and add a jump. Repeat as quite a few reps as feasible in 3 minutes.


·         40 reps or far more = athlete

·         20–39 reps = common

·         19 reps or much less = requirements operate

The mirror take a look at

“What does operating 1 and a half miles have to do with me getting able to do the task,” you may possibly check with? I also listen to, “The BMI test is inaccurate, because muscle mass weighs far more than unwanted fat.”

In some instances, I concur that these assessments could not correlate to the tasks that we do on the fireground, and there is a force to outline bare minimum performance concentrations that then correlate physical fitness details to real functionality. Right until then, you must execute the mirror check, which is the most essential exam.

How to check: Take a very good seem at your recent level of conditioning and examine exactly where you certainly are. Do you have some further lbs . that you would do nicely to shed? Do you get the job done out constantly? When is the very last time that you did physically demanding function exercising although on SCBA? Are you performing every thing that you can to lessen your overall health pitfalls and to stay healthy for obligation?

If you have any uncertainties, start out earning positive improvements.

I suggest performing these, or some variety of fitness evaluation, every single few of months, to keep you accountable, to inspire you to improve your level of conditioning, and to make guaranteed that you are minimizing your and your crew’s pitfalls by maximizing your health and fitness.