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Jefferson City firefighters required to take yearly fitness test

This week, Jefferson City firefighters are undergoing new yearly fitness testing.

The Physical Agility Test, that was previously only required of new hire candidates, includes tasks firefighters would do at an active fire scene. About 75 firefighters will take the test.

About a year ago, Fire Chief Matt Schofield implemented a new program to educate firefighters on nutrition and fitness. He said he has seen a big improvement in the appearance and performance of the department.

“We felt like it was an important step in terms of our performance and the service we provide to the community,” Schofield said. “We also rely on each other to be physically fit, so we knew that it was important for all of our folks to be able to rely on other firefighters they work with every day.”

Joel Swader, one of the heath and fitness coordinators on the department, said the firefighters’ completion times will all be recorded this year so they can compare it to next year’s results.

“Well we know that in this career field, being physically fit is obviously very important,” Swader said. “We’ve got great tools, we’ve got great equipment, we’ve got great trucks. But the people that use those tools, drive those trucks, have to be physically and mentally sound.”

The fire department will open the course to the public on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for anyone who wants to take the test.

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