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Wildland Firefighter Health and Safety
Recommendations of the April 1999 Conference

The Working Environment

All incident personnel shall be informed of the hazards related to their working environment and shall be appropriately trained and provided with the equipment to safely deal with those hazards.

Photo of a fire crew.





Energy, Nutrition, and Health

Definition of the Issues

  1. Compromised nutrition was found in the majority of tested subjects (in terms of total macronutrient intake patterns).
  2. The working environment contains all of the factors known to challenge or compromise immune function.
  3. Further education of the caterer organizations and firefighters is needed.
  4. Special training and/or information needs to reach wildland firefighters in camp on the types of food they need to eat and how much food they require.
  5. The concept of eating and drinking to meet the physiological demands (rather than eating and drinking according to personal preference) needs to be taught.
  6. It is unclear what factors in the fire diet and work environment predispose wildland firefighters to weight loss, but they may include: a conscious choice to lose weight, unavailability of the right foods, and eating fatigue that develops from the caloric demand.

Recommendations—Research and Development:

Topics for recommended research and development include:

Photo of a fire crew eating.

Individual Factors

Fire and the environment are not biased; individuals should be eligible to be a wildland firefighter if they meet the requirements of the job and perform as required.


Fitness and wellness should be practiced all year long, not just during the fire season.

Implement the Work Capacity Tests in all Agencies—Immediately—The Pack Test is appropriate if test candidates are adequately prepared and the test is administered according to the instructions.

Communication is Essential to Ensure Proper Dissemination of Information—

Improve Outreach and Recruitment of Wildland Fire Personnel

Firefighters are our most valuable asset, we have to treat them right and take care of them. Safety has to be the way we do business. All decisions must be made with safety in mind–at all levels of the organization.

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