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Springfield Fire Department News Releases

Posted on: July 17, 2017

Springfield Fire Department takes steps to reduce job-related injuries

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Springfield Fire Department takes steps to reduce job-related injuries


Each year, Springfield Firefighters must perform a physical agility test (PAT) to ensure they can still meet the physical requirements of the job. This year, instead of solely focusing on whether they can meet the requirements of the job description by doing basic tasks, they will be evaluated on how well and safely they move during those firefighting activities.


Battalion Chief Alex Clark explains. "A fitness test can focus on how many push-ups someone can do," he said. "But simply doing a lot of push-ups isn't sufficient if the person isn't doing it safely. For example, if they have no core control, their back is rounded, or they rotate their shoulder, this increases the risk for a shoulder injury. Our new testing process will not only look at how many repetitions or the duration, but will focus on how a firefighter does the tasks with strength and control. Having their shoulders back and down in a safe secure position to perform."


Tasks will still need to be completed within a certain amount of time, but peer fitness trainers (PFTs) are now looking for how the tasks are performed in a normal practice movement, followed by the same task performed under stress and load in the timed event. "This gives PFTs insight into if they move well normally, but don't have the strength to maintain that," said Clark. "Bottom line, we want personnel to move well and properly to reduce the chance for injuries."


PFT


The new physical agility test will offer feedback to the individual as well as data to identify movement trends, both good and bad. The goals are:

  • Injury reduction and avoidance, resulting in longer careers, less time off for injuries and minimize impact on personal life;
  • Safer operations in the field and in life;
  • Reduce workers’ compensation costs;
  • More efficient use of abilities.

Springfield Firefighters have access to numerous documents, illustrations, and personal training opportunities to ensure they are properly prepared before the physical agility test. The Department utilizes peer fitness trainers (PFTs) to promote health and safety for all personnel.


The annual physical agility training is underway, with the next set of tests conducted throughout the day on July 17th.


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For media only: For more information, contact the Fire Department Media Line at 874-2301. Media are welcome to attend a PAT session. Call the media line for more information.


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