Wildland Firefighting and other forms of field work demand a high level of fitness to Work Capacity Tests Arduous work involves above average safely perform arduous, day-long work in Some jobs, like firefighting, require passing endurance (aerobic fitness), lifting more Work difficult environmental conditions, including a job-related Work Capacity Test to meet than 50 pounds (muscular fitness), and steep terrain, extreme temperatures, minimum qualifications. Such tests help occasional demands for extraordinarily altitude, and smoke, and to meet unfore- ensure that prospective workers have the strenuous activities. All wildland firefighters Capacity seen emergencies. When prolonged hard capacity to perform work without undue perform arduous duty. work is involved, fitness is the most impor- fatigue and without becoming a hazard to tant factor in work capacity. themselves or coworkers. Moderate work involves lifting 25 - 50 pounds, and occasional demand for moder- Test Work capacity is a composite of fitness, Most wildland firefighters must meet mini- ately strenuous activity. Safety officers and acclimatization, nutrition, skill, experience, mum levels of fitness requirements for the fire behavior officers perform moderate motivation, and intelligence. Fitness is the type of duties they are assigned: duty. most important factor. Fitness has two components, aerobic and muscular strength.

Aerobic fitness is a measure of your ability to supply working muscles with the oxygen Fitness they need to perform vigorous day-long Requirement Test Description work. When you can deliver and use oxygen efficiently, you can do work with- Arduous Pack Test 3- hike out undue fatigue. with 45- pack in 45 min Muscular fitness includes strength, Moderate Field Test 2-mile hike muscular endurance, with 25-pound and flexibility. Strong pack in 30 min workers can lift and Light work involves mainly office-type work carry heavy loads with less fatigue or risk of Light Walk Test 1-mile hike with occasional field activity. injury. Muscular endurance enables in 16 min you to continue working at no pack otherwise fatiguing tasks. And flexibility means a better range of motion that lowers Work Capacity the risk of injury. Testing for Wildland Firefighters Promoting Wildland Firefighter Safety The Pack Test The First Step Training for the Work Work Hardening Capacity Test The Pack Test is a 4.83-km (3-mile) hike Before you begin training or take the Work Work hardening is a gradual progression of work-specific activities designed to bring over level terrain carrying a 20.5kg (45 Capacity Test, all persons must fill out a Once you are cleared to begin training, you to the job ready to deliver a good day’s pound) pack. To qualify for arduous Health Screening Questionnaire (HSQ). here’s what you’ll need: fireline work, you must complete the pack This must be done prior to conditioning for, work. While fitness training provides the foundation for work capacity, it is no test in 45 minutes or less. Tests taken at or taking, any level of the Work Capacity • Adequate footwear that will protect substitute for job-specific work hardening. altitude should be adjusted (see table). Tests (WCT). The HSQ will be reviewed by feet and ankles while testing. a Servicing Human Resource Office prior to Jogging during the test is not permitted. Prior to reporting for work applicants are engaging in any of these activities. The • Comfortable clothing A score of 45 minutes correlates with a Safety and Health Resource Office will strongly encouraged to train for the appro- step test score of 45 or a 1.5 mile-run priate level work capacity test they need to determine whether a person is cleared to • A comfortable, well-fitted pack time of 11 minutes 40 seconds, the start conditioning, take a WCT, or will need take. previous standard for wildland firefighters. further medical evaluation is needed. The Pack Test is not a competition, it is • A safe place to train For more information: pass/fail only. People taking any of the Work Capacity Test Start training a minimum of 4 weeks before (i.e., light duty, field test or the pack test) you are scheduled to take the test. For work Personal health, physical fitness, and work The energy cost of the Pack Test is shall only take the test necessary for their hardening, you may want to train in the capacity all work towards making conditions similar to fireline work. Pack Test perfor- red-carded position as described in the boots you will wear on the job. Ankle-height safer for firefighters and the people they mance relates directly to muscular Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualification hiking or sport shoes should be worn during protect. Ask your local fire management fitness. Because of the test distance, the System Guide (NWCG Publication PMS the test for ankle protection. office for more information. Pack Test is an excellent indicator of the 310-1) and must be made available for fire capacity to perform prolonged arduous assignment. work under adverse conditions with a For the Pack Test, begin by hiking a 3-mile See: Sharkey, Brian, Fitness and Work Capacity (NFES 1596), 1997. reserve to meet unforeseen emergencies. flat course without a pack. When you can cover the course in less than 45 minutes, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Altitude Corrections: add a pack with about 25 pounds. Increase prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of the until you can hike 3 in 45 race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, and marital or familial status. (Not all Altitude Pack Field Walk minutes while carrying 45 pounds. Test Test prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with (Feet) Test disabilities who require alternative means for communica- (Seconds) (Seconds) (Seconds) Also, hike hills with a pack to build leg tion of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, strength and endurance. Jog the flat course etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). without a pack to build aerobic fitness. Do 4,000 to 5,000 30 20 10 overdistance training for stamina, and cross- To file a complaint, write the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. train with mountain biking and to Department of Agriculture, Washington D.C. 20250, or 5,000 to 6,000 30 15 45 build endurance and strength. call (800) 245-6340 (voice) or (202) 720-1127 (TDD). USDA is an equal employment opportunity employer. 6,000 to 7,000 60 40 20

7,000 to 8,000 75 50 25

8,000 to 9,000 90 60 30 March 2002