This has been bugging me for most of the day. My fire department was featured on a regional newscast and of course everyone showed up. Well my son who is 350lbs was in the background and someone made  a comment about his size on Delawarefirefighter.com. It didn't bother me that the comment was made because of the person who made. What bothered me was the fact that as a large person he was automatically discounted as a fire fighter. I've always been a lagre guy and I've always been able to do the job. When I wasn't I stopped.

 

But what about the skinny guy. Is he in shape or just skinny. Just because you don't have a big gut doesn't mean your in firefighting shape. It just means you have genetics that make you a certain size. My best friend always look like he was in shape until we raced once. He couldn't go telephone pole to telephone pole.

 

There was talk about giving physicals to FF's. My issue is what are they checking for, high blood pressure, good heart, eyesight, hearing? How about endurance, stamina and agility. You would be surprised how many people can't carry a role of hose 1000 feet.

 

Years ago on talk shop that I can't recall the name had a large FF and a model looking FF. And they asked people which one they would  want to save them. Of couse almost all picked the model looking FF. Well the fat FF had 20 years experience and was an officer of his department and the model was a proby. He even said he would pick the fat guy because of experiece.

 

Basically what I just spent 4 paragraghs writing is never judge a book by its cover.

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Well not to knock your thoughts. But, what about the scrawny guy that they look at and say he cant do it. I know of alot of ffs that are over 200 and I as a measely 185 can compete with them but they do have the strength on me.
I agree with it atleast you have a test most dont
Well, you are correct that one should not judge a book by its cover, and there are many FF's who can do the job well who don't fit the fitness ideal. Although, that doesn't mean that is OK to just let oneself go because they can do the job, fitness should be a priority in this job. Now yes, being overweight doesn't necessarily mean you can't do the job, but being overweight adds undue stress on the body, especially when coupled with the adreneline rush, going from sitting to full speed, doing heavy work etc, it all adds up.

Now, I do agree that just because one may "fit" the body type doesn't mean they can do the job. This is why a physical agility should focus more on job aspects than one focused on pushups, situps, mile and half run, etc. It doesn't stop there though, departments should have a health and fitness program in place, encourage healthy eating/nutrition programs and even weight loss. Being overweight doesn't mean you can't do the job, but ability to do the job doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for a more ideal weight.
Craig, your so right Bro. So so right. The heart of the Lion really makes much differance too. Unfortunatly peoples perception can be so far from the truth.
You said everything I had on my mind John, thanks!
Physicals are not an option...they are (or at least should be) MANDITORY....and yearly along with Fit testing for SCBA...Take a look at the number of people dying each year and the cause of death...vast majority are classified as "Exertion". It is way past time that we address the fact that we are killing ourselves. So we need to be good boys and girls and go have the doc check us out and see if we are safe or at risk of a Heart attack or stroke. If he says nope...then sorry but your interior days are over until he says it is ok again....I would rather have a pissed off Firefighter than to have a dead one and have to go to their home and tell a loved one that their Firefighter won't be coming home....Sorry if I hit a nerve but you posted it and I responded.....Stay safe....Keep the Faith.........Paul
Craig..Ive been fighting this as well. Granted im still young and haven't had to face problems as a Vollie FF as much as a Career firefighter may..but ive dealt with it my whole life. I played football for 11 years straight. And after football was over, I needed something that could "Kick my ass" And test me. And Firefighting does that. But I do fear my chances of being a Career firefighter where as I am 6'3 285. Im just shy of 300...God im big..and I love it.
You said it all NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!
You said it Chief....Pass the physical and go to work.....Period..........
Chief are you advocating NOT passing a physical each and every year....? If this is the case then maybe someone goofed making you Chief....Sorry, but that outlook sure doesn't look like you are looking out for your people....I am never a "yes" man(ask my Chief) but I usually respect the decisions of my chain of command....I may not like the decisions but I support them....in this case I cannot do so Sir....I only hope that you never have to make that trip to a Firefighters home and speak to the family/friends at zero dark thirty in the morning....."Mrs. Jones, I am terribly sorry to have to tell you this BUT, Firefighter Jones died this morning fighting a fire"
Lindsay....exactly....I am NOT saying based on "looks" but rather on passing a physical each and every year. We have a young guy...strong as a bull...maybe 21 years old...looks to be in pretty good shape. Had his physical just yesterday and his blood pressure was 164/104...guess what....? Until it comes down he will not be cleared for interior operations....He spoke to me about it because the Doc told him the same thing...I pulled him aside and had a chat about what the risks were and what it meant. Then I told him to see his family Doctor and get treated... He didn't like the fact that I wouldn't try to help him...but I told him I helped him more than he realized....again rather have a pissed off Firefighter than a dead one.......Paul
Well I can’t say much I am only 152 pounds and I can take a one hour pack and make it last longer than some our veteran FF. The point is that I run and do a lot of cardio, but I am just now trying to get my strength up there. I still have a hard time keeping up with one of my Chiefs, and he is almost two of me. To me it doesn’t matter what size you are, it is whether or not you can do the job and pas the physical test. Paul I agree we all should take a physical every year, but not just with the Doc. Our physical fitness should be tested too. If you can pass all the tests you should be allowed to do the job, whether you are 150 or 300 pounds.

Matthew

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