Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Can You Handle the Heat? Oregon’s Firefighters Can

Those brave enough to take on the responsibility of going into the danger rather than running away from it have earned a specific title all their own – Firefighter. With more than 12,000 firefighters in Oregon, both volunteer and career, these men and women who serve their communities do so without question.

In order to become a firefighter candidate, one must undergo extensive physical and mental conditioning to train for the job’s stringent requirements. Candidates must pass exams that test spatial awareness, reading comprehension, mechanical reasoning, logic, observation, and memory. Applicants must also pass a physical fitness test – the Candidate Physical Ability Test. The events include a weighted-vest stair climb, 50 foot hose drag, weighted equipment carry, and a wall-breaching hammer swing to name a few – all to ensure a candidate is minimally fit to complete basic firefighter duties. According to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training’s Fire Division, firefighters along the coast will receive more extensive training in maritime firefighting; those east of the Cascades typically have more of an emphasis on wildland firefighting; and those in larger urban areas will train more comprehensively in urban navigation and structural firefighting.

Just how often are firefighters responding to calls that require their attention? This varies greatly by county, and at first glance seems to coincide with county population. Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue in Washington County, the second most populated county in Oregon, reported the greatest number of “runs” in the state in 2016 – a term used for any time the fire engine’s tires hit the pavement. Worth noting, runs made specifically for a fire, or a fire-related incident, only comprise 5 percent of all runs on a statewide basis. The other 95 percent are contributed to a multitude of reasons, with the largest contributor of those runs being medical-related services.
Learn more about Oregon's firefighters in the article written by Workforce Analyst Kale Donnelly

No comments: