The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Physical Testing for Fire

Reference Number: MTAS-1215
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 10, 2016
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The fire management consultant with the UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS), has noted that one of the biggest problems in fire service today is that in too many instances firefighters are allowed to remain on the job even when they are medically and physically unable to perform the essential functions of the job. The same can be said for police officers who may be physically unable to perform the essential functions of their jobs.

Municipalities and fire departments have NFPA 1583: Standard on Health-Related Fitness Programs for Fire Department Members to use as a guide for establishing a physical fitness program NFPA 1583 establishes the minimum requirements for the development, implementation, and management of a health-related fitness program (HRFP) for members of the fire department involved in emergency operations.

It should be a matter of public policy that every police and fire department takes appropriate measures to significantly reduce deaths that may be related to stressful occupations. It also should be obvious to every local government decision maker that a physically able firefighter or officer is the best way to protect the health and safety of the public and the life of the firefighter or officer sworn to carry out his public safety responsibilities. Let us take a look at the reluctance of many cities to deal with physical ability for police and firefighters.

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