FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 19, 2006
FORESTRY COMMISSION FIREFIGHTERS MEET NATIONAL FITNESS CHALLENGE
( Columbia, SC) --Twenty-seven Forestry Commission employees have qualified at the Arduous level on the national wildfire physical fitness test. Certification at the Arduous standard means they are physically qualified for almost any wildland firefighting assignment nationwide.
To qualify at the Arduous level, firefighters must walk three miles in 45 minutes while carrying a 45-pound backpack. Among wildland firefighters, only smokejumpers are required to meet a higher physical fitness standard.
According to Forestry Commission Fitness Coordinator Leslie Woodham, the test evaluates a person’s capacity for sustained exertion. The test was adopted as the national standard for wildland firefighter fitness in 1999.
In the most demanding wildland firefighting scenarios, firefighters are expected to perform hard manual labor for up to 12 hours at a time. Rough terrain, smoke, dust, and weather extremes often combine to make the work even more difficult.
Properly trained state and local firefighters who meet the fitness requirements may volunteer for federal wildland firefighting assignments nationwide.
For more information, contact: Ken Cabe, 803-896-8820.