There has been another fatality of a person attempting to take the Work Capacity Test. There are three versions of the test — the most strenuous, the Pack Test, is required for federal wildland firefighters in order to become qualified to serve in a position which involves direct action on a wildland fire.
Below is the text from a preliminary 24-hour briefing from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
“THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Location: Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Sasabe Arizona
Date of Occurrence: June 6, 2015
Time of Occurrence: Approximately 0800 hours
Activity: Work Capacity Test
Number and type of injuries/fatalities: One, Fatality
Property loss: None
At approximately 0800 hours on June 6, 2015, a 31 year old Student Conservation Association (SCA) employee, Veteran Fire Corps crewmember, collapsed 200 yards from the finish line while participating in the Wildland Firefighter Work Capacity Test. Medical care was immediately rendered by on-site, local EMS including the utilization of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The individual was loaded in the Ambulance, which had been staged on-site for the test, within 5 minutes of his collapse and transported to an Advanced Care Facility.
The cause of death has not yet been determined.
The name of the deceased has not yet been released pending family notifications.” (end of report)
(UPDATE, June 9, 2015: the name of the firefighter has been released.)
Here are examples of five other fatalities while taking the Pack test.
- One in Wyoming in 2014;
- One in Arizona in 2014;
- One in New Mexico in 2013;
- Two in 2007, unknown location.
In 2012 there was a near fatality during the test when a firefighter in Indiana suffered a full cardiac arrest. Thankfully, as a result of the precautions that were in place, including the presence of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), there was a positive outcome.