Fitness Challenge

The BLM fire operations fitness challenge provides a common system by which BLM firefighters can measure current fitness, establish fitness goals, and track fitness improvement, and receive recognition for their efforts. The fitness challenge encourages and recognizes achievement in physical fitness by BLM firefighters. The fitness challenge is voluntary, but BLM firefighters are encouraged to participate.

The fitness challenge tests participants in four basic exercises - push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and a timed run of either 1.5 or 3.0 miles. Test results are compiled into a final overall score. Unit and state offices are encouraged to support and recognize achievement in firefighter fitness. The BLM FA Division of Fire Operations will recognize high achievers annually.

Background

Excellent physical fitness is a essential to firefighter performance. Many times the limiting factor on work production in wildland firefighting is individual fitness. Fatigue has been found to be a contributing factor in many accidents, and numerous studies have proven that physical fitness is a good way to mitigate fatigue. The 2006 study, Contributing Factors for Line of Duty Deaths in the United States (Moore-Merrell, McDonald, Zhou, Fisher, and Moore), concluded that 53.9% of firefighter deaths are due to health, fitness, or wellness. Physical fitness has been addressed as a critical job element in wildland firefighting and is tested with the Work Capacity Test (WCT). However, the WCT is extremely limited in scope, testing only cardiovascular fitness.

Pre-test Requirement

The Medical Standards exam must be completed prior to taking the fitness challenge.

Pre-test Preparation

All entrants should prepare thoroughly for the fitness challenge. Information on proper preparation can be found at www.nifc.gov/FireFit/index.htm.

Test Administration

A medical plan must be in place prior to the test in case first-aid assistance is needed.

The number of assistants should be based upon the number of participants.

Test administrators shall read a description of each exercise (see below) and demonstrate proper form prior to the test.

The individual test exercises are performed as follows: Pull-ups: Starting position is hanging from a bar, hands approximately shoulder width apart, arms fully extended with elbows locked. Hands can be palms away or palms facing the individual. Individual lifts the body until the chin is above the bar and returns to the starting position. This is one repetition. On each repetition the arms must be fully extended and the chin must clear the bar. No kipping or kicking is allowed. Count the number of pull-ups completed in three minutes or when the individual cannot maintain the starting position (lets go of the bar).

Push-ups: Starting position is back straight and parallel with the ground, arms straight with hands approximately shoulder width apart and elbows locked. Individual lowers the body until the arms form a ninety degree angle and returns to the starting position with the arms fully locked. This is one repetition. The back must remain straight throughout the exercise. All resting must occur in the starting position. The buttocks are not allowed in the air in the starting position. The arms must be fully extended (elbows locked). Count the number of repetitions successfully completed in three minutes or when the starting position can no longer be maintained (arms collapsing, buttocks in the air).

Sit-ups: Starting position is hands behind the ears, back on the ground, legs bent at a forty-five degree angle. Feet can be held by a person or a fixed object. The individual raises his back until the elbows touch the legs, then returns to the starting position (shoulder blades touch the ground). This is one repetition. Exercise mats may be used for padding. Count the number of repetitions completed in three minutes.

1 ½ mile or 3 mile run: Conducted on flat, smooth surface.

The test exercises are performed under the following conditions:

  • Exercises may be completed in any order.
  • Each callisthenic event must be completed within three minutes.
  • Maximum break between callisthenic events is seven minutes.
  • A ten minute warm-up is allowed for the run.
  • An individual may test multiple times, but scoring will always be based on the results of a single testing event, not on amalgamated individual exercise scores from separate testing events.

Certification

All tests will be administered at the unit level and certified by unit fire management. Unit fire managers seeking national recognition for high performing employees should send pertinent results to their state representative to the national fire operations group (FOG). FOG members should forward those results to Casey O’Connell, FA Division of Fire Operations, not later than June 30.

National Level Recognition and Awards

Four levels of achievement in the BLM Fire Operations Physical Fitness challenge will be recognized nationally by the Mens Sana in Corpore Sanoaward, which consists of a personalized certificate and patch, as follows:

  • Bronze 100 points with a minimum of 25 points in each event
  • Silver 200 points with a minimum of 50 points scored in each event
  • Gold 300 points total
  • Platinum 400 points total

The patch will note the year and the BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge motto, Mens Sana in Corpore Sano (Sound Mind in a Sound Body) and the level of achievement. Platinum award winners will be awarded a personalized plaque.

State or Unit Level Recognition

State or unit level recognition for achievement in the BLM Fire Operations Fitness Challenge may be developed and implemented at the unit or state level at the discretion of the respective manager.

Appendix A - Points Chart Word or PDF

Appendix B - Scoresheet Word or PDF