Physicals ordered for Virginia volunteer firefighters
The News & Messenger
March 27, 2009

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors has passed an
ordinance ordering mandatory physicals for volunteer

The decision comes after the November death of Dale City
Volunteer EMT,
44-year-old Cecilia Turnbough.

She collapsed and died during a training exercise.

The death was attributed to a previously undiagnosed heart
according to a February report issued by the Prince William
Department of Fire and Rescue.

Kevin J. McGee, chief of the department, is a strong
supporter of requiring
the mandatory health checks for volunteer firefighters, said
Liz Barhns,
Prince William County spokeswoman.

Until recently only career firefighters, who operate as
county employees,
were subject to physicals.

Fire departments across the county have been asked to submit
plans as to how
they will facilitate the medical screenings.

The emergency ordinance will be active for 60 days, after
which time members
of the Prince William Fire and Rescue Association has an
opportunity to vote
the requirement to be permanent.

McGee also serves as the chairman of that association.

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I think it's a good idea. We are required to have a physical once a year. If we get hurt on a scene and can't show proof of a physical there will be problems with workers comp covering us.
I think that it's a good idea. Every firefighter should have to take a physical every year.
Great idea, our dept. has physicals.
Everyone out there should be getting some type of F.D. medical screening and physical yearly, it finds small problems before they become big ones. Again I'm sure money is going to play a big decision in how in depth the yearly physical gets, but it should include a stress test, EKG, pulmonary function, and complete blood work.
Yes I get my physical every year on my Birthday I kinda look at it as a present to me. Oh, and by the way I'm required to get the extra tests I mentioned and guess what, they didn't hurt at all.
Physical exams and fitness tests can identify potential health problems and the ability to do the, sometimes, very demanding job of a firefighting.

I believe it isn't required by some FDs, mostly VFDs, for a variety of reasons none of which can justify the risk of not making it a requirement.

To be as humble as possible, based on my observation of my fellow VFD FFs on the fire ground, I think I am the most fit. That doesn't mean that I fight fires with a bunch of big gut good 'ol boys but I have my doubts that most can keep up with me when the going gets tough. Of course it's all about working on the fire and not letting the fire work on you.

My case might not be that unusual for a 56 year old Army soldier with over 36 years of federal service where a physical fitness test was administered semi annually. Passed them all. TCSS

PS How was my spelling and grammar?
This is a very interesting topic and I'm going to play devils advocate. PWC is a densly populated suburb of Wash. DC, They generally dont have MAJOR funding issues nor a shortage of volunteers. As a career fireman I support mandatory health screenings (1582) for all firefighters. With that said lets be honest, with their demographics, if you turn down any minority for any reason you have to be ready to justify that in court almost immeaditly. So one half of me says bring on the standards and lets recruit and retain qualified individuals, people that can actually do the job. On the other hand for the last 5+ years I have had the opprotunity to deal with rural VFD's that probably make up 60% - 70% of fire departments in this COUNTRY. These guys dont have a voice in NFPA, IAFC or the IAFF. They are tasked with providing the same emergency services as urban and suburban departments across this COUNTRY, but expected to do it with 15 members and an annual budget of 20K or less. In my opinion trying to hold a rural VFD in Idaho or New Mexico to the same standards as FDNY or LAFD is not reasonable or realistic. In a community of less than 15000 where only 20 people want volunteer you have to compromise or that community will not have fire protection at all. It's been my experience that alot of smaller departments have " interior" members that do meet 1001 and "support" members that do not, meaning that the person who drives you to the scene and gets you water has no intention of ever going inside. As insane as this might sound it's what the majorty of this country does and it works for them due to very limited resources and funding. Blanket policies for ALL firefighters across the Country will not work unless the States or US Gov. coff up alot of money for the " required" training, good luck with that. In the mean time time what do you do with the little guy... let the community burn???
PS How was my spelling and grammar?

Mine sucked

Your post was easy to read and made sense to me. My VFD is probably like most. Everyone knows everyone well enough to establish the roles of the support guys as opposed to the hose handlers. In a perfect world all FDs would have standardization for safety's sake. TCSS

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