New arduous medical standards process this year

In 2024 USFS employees with arduous quals will do the arduous exam. Firefighters with moderate or light duty will have the OF 178 exam if they mark one box in Part A or three in Part B. If you have questions you can email the help desk at

Arduous Medical Exam (AME) or Self-Certification or (HSQ)

What is the difference between the AMP and the HSQ?

      • The Arduous Medical Process is for those taking the arduous WCT.
      • The HSQ is for those employees taking the moderate and light WCTs.

What about the AMP Exam (AME) and Self Certification?

      • eMedical AMP runs on a 3-year cycle for employees.
      • Year one is the AME: a thorough health screening questionnaire followed by a physical exam with a medical provider. The exam results are reviewed by a USFS Medical Officer (RMO) before the employee can get medical clearance to take the WCT.
      • Years 2 and 3 are the self-certification process, which requires a shorter screening questionnaire plus a blood pressure check by an EMT or other qualified individual. The results are reviewed by HSQC’s and, based on the answers, may be routed to the RMO or cleared to the WCT.

NOTE that this is a gradual rollout over the next few years, not just in 2024 and not all regions are shifting the AMP at the same time. Here is the rollout schedule (subject to change):


      • Those with arduous qualifications who have not completed the arduous process yet will continue using the current system with the HSQ, alongside all moderate and light quals.
      • In those areas that are implementing the AMP, Acuity International will  assist with scheduling and payment for exams, at the employee’s request. This is a completely optional service.

The NWCG Risk Management Committee provides interagency national leadership in firefighter risk management, health, and safety. The Federal Interagency Wildland Firefighter Medical Standards establish minimum medical fitness for arduous duty. Light or moderate duty firefighters may be required to do a medical screening process.

The USFS uses Federal Interagency Medical Standards for employees who engage in firefighting duties.

Firefighters with arduous duty quals must complete a physical exam every three years, and it is required before that year’s work capacity test.

You must fill out a medical history form in eMedical and then you can schedule your exam with your doctor; your supervisor can initiate this for you. If you are approaching three years since your last exam, you should get started at least 45 days before your work capacity test. You can log into eMedical and request a packet.

USDA Forest Service

Annual Self-Certification

A questionnaire and blood pressure check are required each year between your in-person exams. The self-certification form FS-5100-42 is not the same as the HSQ/OF-178. It can also be completed in the eMedical system.

Details on additional exam requirements are posted [HERE].

  • eMedical Public Site for Temporary, AD, and new employees (available through ConnectHR) — this requires a username and password.

Medical Provider Documents (ALL PDF)

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6 thoughts on “New arduous medical standards process this year”

  1. A few years ago I checked too many boxes in questionnaire and had to get Doctor’s exam to get Red Card.

    Receptionist/Staff had problems with eMedical website and I had to get a paper form for them to fill out and FAX in. The Doc (General Practitioner) mentioned an occupational health physician who specializes in work-related health conditions would have been better to go to.

    Suggest starting early as Doc’s schedule was filled, then delays with paperwork. Also exam was on my own time and dime.

  2. I wonder to what length and how in depth this new process will be. I can pass a DMV physical, an HSQ and the arduous test with no issues. However, an approved occupational illness (cancer, treatment, stem cell transplant) has caused a few personal health issues that could flag some boxes. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

  3. Sure spent plenty of time upping these standards when there’s oh soo much to get done.

    Bring back the STEP test…cheaper.

    But if ya wanna be like the FAA and Commercial pilots with 2nd Class Medicals..

    Everyone gets an EKG/ECG…we have to get it on our dime

    US Forest Service now become the defacto medical service? If so, then pony up the cash and pay for everyone in Fire for this including Cooperators

      1. Baseline only … added 75 to 100 to the base 150 when I was 40.

        Haven’t had any issues to require a new one.

        But I know plenty of pilots who have had later in life EKGs and Aviation Medical Examiners have to report them; pilots have to go through a 2-3 year wait to get medically cleared if they are flying for hire.

        Yes unless I work the next only provider … not all will cover it.

        But with all this new USFS stuff, one wonders other than self-certification where it’s all leading. Some of us folks can already imagine.


What do you think?