Firefighter Health First-Aid
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Feb 2019


“Fitness can neither be bought nor bestowed, like honor it must be earned”

The FireFit program was created with the intent of providing the interagency wildland fire community with a comprehensive, easy-to-follow, fitness program with the ultimate goal of improving firefighter safety and health and reducing injuries. This program provides a basic format for a well-balanced fitness program that can be augmented as local units see fit. Program success will rely on management support at every level as well as individual's motivation and participation.

Fitness is defined as, “the body’s ability to perform physical activity without distress or injury.” Although most people rarely engage in arduous physical activity as part of their daily jobs, wildland firefighters know that physical fitness plays an important role in our personal wellness and job performance. It’s a proven fact that by incorporating a balanced fitness program into our daily work life, we enhance our health and safety, while mitigating our risk of injury and illness and increasing our ability to do work.  

The following checklist will help to guide you in preparation for all levels of fitness activities:

  • Consult with your physician

  • Establish goals

  • Make the commitment to yourself and your crew

  • Get educated – the more you know, the healthier and safer you will be

  • Have the appropriate footwear and clothing for exercise

  • Adhere to your agency procedures for fitness and medical clearance


In order to implement a balanced fitness program, it’s important to include all of the essential components of fitness. When developing a fitness program, its good practice to incorporate the F.I.T. Prescription = Frequency, Intensity, and Time. Utilizing the F.I.T. Prescription allows you to exercise safely while achieving steady improvements.

In his book, “Fitness and Work Capacity, 2nd Edition,Dr. Brian Sharkey has developed an Aerobics Fitness Index (page 9) that provides a good calculation for determining your level of aerobic fitness which is based on your level of physical activity.

Click on Fire Season Exercises to complement and enhance your current fitness program and go to the FireFit homepage for many more ideas.


Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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