Wildland firefighters, of course, have to be physically fit. One of the largest causes of fatalities on wildland fires is heart attacks. In fact, between 1990 and 2006, 22.5% of the wildland fire fatalities were caused by heart attacks, according to an August, 2007 report by Dick Mangan for the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. It can be argued that many of these fatalities could be prevented by regular medical exams, fitness tests, and a physical fitness program. Within the wildland fire community there is no organized system or interagency program for fitness of firefighters.
Do we need an interagency program to:
- Encourage fitness;
- Provide guidelines about how to achieve and maintain physical fitness year round?