Smokejumpers: Physical Condition Requirements

Smokejumpers need to be in exceptional physical condition. These mean and women are the Green Berets of the fire fighting profession. Or, perhaps, the lunatics. These men and women parachute from low altitudes onto the edge of a fire, often in remote, rugged, and high altitude areas. The work is grueling and dangerous, requiring exceptional physical conditioning.

Smokejumpers parachute near fires wearing padded Kevlar jumpsuits and helmets. The combined weight of suit and gear is about 85 pounds. A “firebox” containing tools such as shovels, power saws, and McClouds, and food and water for two for 48 hours is dropped separately. All this must be packed out. It can weigh up to 110 pounds and may be carried for 10 miles or more over steep, rugged, terrain, at high altitude.

Smokejumpers must pass the standard fire fighter’s work capacity fitness test to even get into smokejumper’s training camp. They must be able to do 7 chin ups, 45 sit ups, 25 push ups, and cover 1.5 miles in less than 11 minutes. They must be at least 18 years old, be from 5 feet to 6 and one half feet tall, weigh from 120 to 200 pounds, and have 20/20 vision when corrected. The weight requirements are due to parachuting safety. A person weighing less than 120 pounds will tend to drift; while someone who weighs more than 200 pounds might land too hard.

These requirements are just the minimum. Constant physical conditioning goes on during training and all candidates must do two pack outs, the most difficult being able to back pack 110 pounds for three miles in 11 minutes or less. Forty percent of trainees wash out before training camp is finished and these are all people who have had previous fire fighting experience.
Smokejumpers need to be in exceptional physical condition. These mean and women are the Green Berets of the fire fighting profession. Or, perhaps, the lunatics. These men and women parachute from low altitudes onto the edge of a fire, often in remote, rugged, and high altitude areas. The work is grueling and dangerous, requiring exceptional physical conditioning.

Smokejumpers parachute near fires wearing padded Kevlar jumpsuits and helmets. The combined weight of suit and gear is about 85 pounds. A “firebox” containing tools such as shovels, power saws, and McClouds, and food and water for two for 48 hours is dropped separately. All this must be packed out. It can weigh up to 110 pounds and may be carried for 10 miles or more over steep, rugged, terrain, at high altitude.

Smokejumpers must pass the standard fire fighter’s work capacity fitness test to even get into smokejumper’s training camp. They must be able to do 7 chin ups, 45 sit ups, 25 push ups, and cover 1.5 miles in less than 11 minutes. They must be at least 18 years old, be from 5 feet to 6 and one half feet tall, weigh from 120 to 200 pounds, and have 20/20 vision when corrected. The weight requirements are due to parachuting safety. A person weighing less than 120 pounds will tend to drift; while someone who weighs more than 200 pounds might land too hard.

These requirements are just the minimum. Constant physical conditioning goes on during training and all candidates must do two pack outs, the most difficult being able to back pack 110 pounds for three miles in 11 minutes or less. Forty percent of trainees wash out before training camp is finished and these are all people who have had previous fire fighting experience.
Smokejumpers need to be in exceptional physical condition. These mean and women are the Green Berets of the fire fighting profession. Or, perhaps, the lunatics. These men and women parachute from low altitudes onto the edge of a fire, often in remote, rugged, and high altitude areas. The work is grueling and dangerous, requiring exceptional physical conditioning.

Smokejumpers parachute near fires wearing padded Kevlar jumpsuits and helmets. The combined weight of suit and gear is about 85 pounds. A “firebox” containing tools such as shovels, power saws, and McClouds, and food and water for two for 48 hours is dropped separately. All this must be packed out. It can weigh up to 110 pounds and may be carried for 10 miles or more over steep, rugged, terrain, at high altitude.

Smokejumpers must pass the standard fire fighter’s work capacity fitness test to even get into smokejumper’s training camp. They must be able to do 7 chin ups, 45 sit ups, 25 push ups, and cover 1.5 miles in less than 11 minutes. They must be at least 18 years old, be from 5 feet to 6 and one half feet tall, weigh from 120 to 200 pounds, and have 20/20 vision when corrected. The weight requirements are due to parachuting safety. A person weighing less than 120 pounds will tend to drift; while someone who weighs more than 200 pounds might land too hard.

These requirements are just the minimum. Constant physical conditioning goes on during training and all candidates must do two pack outs, the most difficult being able to back pack 110 pounds for three miles in 11 minutes or less. Forty percent of trainees wash out before training camp is finished and these are all people who have had previous fire fighting experience.

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