VERNON PARISH, La. (KALB) – Firefighters with U.S. Forrest Services met in Vernon Parish on Wednesday to take their work capacity test (WCT), which will allow them to fight wildfires all across the nation.
Firefighters wore out after completing their physical test | Credit: KALB
“Today, we are doing our physical fitness test,” Tony Rivers, the assistant fire manager with the Kisatchie National Forest, explained. “ We have to do this test for prescribed burning and wildfire operations.”
When the firefighters pass the test, they received a certification that will allow them to fight wildfires all over the country, including the ongoing blaze in California.
“In the past, we’ve been to California, Oregon, Montana, and all the places in between, in support of those wildfire incidents.”
Rivers explained the test as difficult and physically demanding.
“This test is pretty strenuous on the body,” Rivers further explained. “We have three different levels of the test.”
The hardest test requires the firefighters to walk a total distance of three miles with a 45lb vest, in less than 45 minutes. The moderate level test requires the firefighters to walk two miles with a 25lb vest, in less than 30 minutes.
“You have to be physically fit when you show up to take the test,” Rivers said.
“It’s all about how you carry the weight,” Bridget Schwenne, a senior firefighter with the Kisatchie National Forest, explained. “If you carry too much weight in the wrong place, you can get an injury.”
However, everyone made it through the test with a passing time and without an injury. Now, the firefighters are ready to combat wildfires all over the nation.
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