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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Paul, someone with a blood glucose of 300 isn't likely to "do the flop" while fighting a fire. A blood glucose of 30 - sure, but those are much more common with people who are insulin-dependent.

The blood glucose limits for non-insulin-dependent firefighters are designed to reduce the risks of heart attack. However, very few diabetic firefighters have LODD heart attacks, even compared to non-diabetic firefighters.
Paul,

Chief King did not say that. What he said, in essence, is that you can't judge a firefighter's fitness or ability by appearance alone.

That's why valid physical ability tests and valid medical screening programs are advocated by the NFPA, the IAFC, and the IAFF.

Judging firefighters or candidates by appearance will get the department - and the chief - in court as defendants very, very quickly. Those cases are Born Losers.

In essence, you invoked the straw man logical fallacy, because you responded to something that Chief King did not say.
we have to have big guys (not fat guys) to lift heavy stuff. and small guys to go into attics. it's a balance.
we also need to remembr we aren't out to kil ourselves either...I know I am fat and am working pretty hard to drop the extra weight and improve cardiovascular wise...hey if I can pass the physical I will still be there doing what is asked...when the MD says nope...then I will step back....seems rather dumb to argue the fact...you are either fit for duty or you aren't....who decides that....? A medical Officer or a Medical Board....not some Bubba that can pick up a cadilac..".DUH....See...Me do da jub...."
Ben....I have seen both happen....not necessarily fighting fire but in everyday life...true the usual diabetic has adapted to high blood glucose levels but once in awhile you get one.....and diabetes is one of the cardiac risk factors...along with hypertension, heredity,smokers,age, sex,and yes even race plays into it.....
That is very true LT. I am one that has gone down from working my butt off in a house fire. I said it before 150 and I have good stamina but I don’t always know when to stop. Like LT Baughman said. Us skinny guys have to work on things to.
There is a down side to both being skinny and being fat, we both have areas that we need to improve on.
Matthew (AKA Jane)
PCFR
We also kill how many returning from a scene every year???

My point is, I know a little over a year ago, I was in no condition to be a line firefighter.

Yes I know how to pace myself.

Yes I know how to do things with techniques a boot rookie who is far fitter does not, but... and its a BIG BUT, 18 months ago if the stuff had hit the fan, and it was fight or flight time, I may not have made it. And for sure if it came down to saving someone else besides myself, the odds are I would not have made that save.

Fitness is vitaly important in our job. I have 5 kids I want to see grow up, graduate college, get married and have kids. To give myself the best chance to see all 5 do those things I have to make sure I am in better shape then 99% of the population.

Sure, I could die in a car wreck, have a stroke, get cancer, or any number of things, but there are things I can control. And the arguement that 20 something athletes are dying during PT does not relate to the issue of obesity in the fire service. A 28 year old olympic hopeful died trying to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Marathon. Cyclists have died over the years from heart failure, of course at that time EPO was the drug of choice and it tended to turn a healthy athletes blood into syrup. So yeah we can die any day...

We are getting fatter as a nation and as firefighters. Think about it Ben, when you started how many guys in the fire department had size 40 waist pants? How many XXL or XXXL bunkers did we have to order??? Twenty-Five years ago not many. Today, how many wear under size 36 waist pants... not many.

We can be as PC as we want and it is not going to help the ones who need help. I have been to too many firefighters funerals already, and I will not be a party to any more by saying, "No Dave, you aren't fat, your just stocky".

We may have lower stats than the average joe, and less firefighters die per year from cardio problems than them, but for the love of Pete! Maybe physical fitness isnt the heart attack preventer we think it is??? Really?

That arguement holds about as much water as the "if I wear my seatbelt and the car catches fire I may not be able to get out" one does.
The other issue that hasn't been discussed is that while that 350 pounder with 100 pounds of fat on him may be able to do the job well, if he goes down, one of us normal sized people is going to have to try to drag him out.

If a 350 pounder doesn't have much, if any, fat on him, great. Can't ask more of him.

But the guy with the beer belly is still putting everyone else at risk. I don't really care that he can pass the physical test (if there is one). But, he owes it to the other firefighters to lose the flab.
i agree with you completly. ive only been in the fire service for two years, but i have noticed that everyone in the fire service has there job everyone matters in a job that is slowly declining in membership.
there are people who can not handle the extrication of patents but they will maintain traffic as we have the road closed which frees up other people who can help the patent. there are people who are afraid of entering a structure fire, they help with rehab shuttle water when needed and help clean up after wards, and there are people who are also a help on the financial side of it all. no mater how big, small, tall, short, scared, or brave. we all have a job to do.
So, apparently we shouldn't have allow anyone to be a firefighter if he/she weighs over 90 pounds? After all, the lighter the firefighter, the easier it will be to rescue him/her if he/she gets in trouble at a fire?
Allen,

When you say "That arguement holds about as much water as the "if I wear my seatbelt and the car catches fire I may not be able to get out" one does.", you are engaging in the straw man logical fallacy.

Secondly, if I'm wrong, please show me some statistical evidence that I'm wrong.

Nowhere have I said that extra weight is a good thing, but when firefighters cite the LODD stats as a reason for the CPAT/Combat Challenge test (or some of the other things that have been proposed in this thread) that argument is specious, because the statistics show the exact opposite of what is being argued.

"And the arguement that 20 something athletes are dying during PT does not relate to the issue of obesity in the fire service." It does when the 20 something athletes are firefighters doing PT when the athletes I'm talking about are 20 something firefighters who suffer LODDs while working out or doing cardio PT. Read the NIOSH reports - there are examples of that.
The fire service recruits a lot of young athletes...the ones that do well on the CPAT, for example.
Paul, if someone with a BGL of 300 does the flop, the BGL isn't likely to be the cause as it would be with the same situation and a BGL of 30.

Sure, diabetes is a cardiac risk factor, but there has been no link shown to diabetes being a higher risk factor in firefighter LODDs. Most of the firefighter heart attack LODDs are not diabetics. In fact, there are just as many relatively young, fit heart attack LODDs as there are diabetic LODDs.

In this case, the LODD statistics don't show correlation, let alone causation.

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