The Work Capacity Test (WCT) is a test to ensure a person is physically capable of meeting the minimum fitness requirement associated with assigned wildfire or prescribed fire duties as described in the NWCG Standards for Wildland Fire Position Qualifications, PMS 310-1. Below are the three defined duty levels with examples of associated essential functions:
- Arduous duty field work requires above-average endurance and superior conditioning. Duties may include an occasional demand for extraordinarily strenuous activity in emergency situations under adverse environmental conditions over extended periods. The pace of work typically is set by the emergency condition. Essential functions include, but are not limited to: running, walking or hiking, climbing, jumping, twisting, bending, lifting more than 50 pounds, and carrying 45 pounds or more for extended periods over difficult terrain.
- Moderate duty field work requires the average endurance and conditioning of an individual who possesses complete control of all their physical faculties. Occasional demands may be required for moderately strenuous activities in emergencies over long periods. The pace of work is usually set by the current environmental conditions. Essential functions include, but are not limited to: considerable walking over irregular ground, standing for long periods, lifting 25 to 50 pounds, climbing, bending, stooping, squatting, twisting, and reaching.
- Light duty mainly involves office-type work with occasional field activity characterized by light physical exertion requiring basic good health. Individuals almost always can govern the extent and pace of their physical activity. Essential functions include, but are not limited to: climbing stairs, standing, operating a vehicle, and long hours of work, as well as some bending, stooping, or light lifting.
The WCT consists of three separate levels of tests which correspond with the three duty types. The tests are defined as follows:
- Pack Test - This is a job-related test to determine an individual’s ability to perform the minimum standards of arduous duty. It consists of completing a 3-mile walk over level terrain in 45 minutes or less while carrying a 45-pound pack.
- Field Test – This is a job-related test to determine an individual’s ability to perform the minimum standards of moderate duty. It consists of completing a 2-mile walk over level terrain in 30 minutes or less while carrying a 25-pound pack.
- Walk Test – This is a job-related test to determine an individual’s ability to perform the minimum standards of light duty. The test consists of completing a 1-mile walk over level terrain in 16 minutes or less with no load.
- For more information about the Work Capacity Test consult the Work Capacity Test Administrator’s Guide, PMS 307.