Training and Fitness
The Training Division of the Westminster Fire Department is responsible for training of recruit firefighters and training of all line personnel. Areas of training include live fire burns, self contained breathing apparatus, firefighter safety and survival, aerial and ground ladders, rescue techniques, salvage and overhaul, forcible entry, and other specialized training such as hazardous materials, advanced rescue techniques, dive rescue, and urban search and rescue.
Training is in compliance with the standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association. The standards are set by a consensus of professionals in fields that are related to the fire service and adopted by the State of Colorado. The standards require all personnel to complete a minimum of 20 training hours per month. Recruits complete a 520-hour 13-week academy to hone the basic firefighting skills required to start shift work.
Each month the training division conducts “in-service” training for all personnel; this training frequently covers major topics that require extensive time. The training is conducted on three consecutive days to allow all shift personnel to participate.
Classroom facilities are located at Fire Station No. 2 at 9150 Lowell Blvd., Fire Station No. 4 at 4580 112th Ave., and the Public Safety Center at 9110 Yates St. Training ground facilities are located at the training tower near 92nd & Lowell; there are plans to construct a live burn facility at this location in the near future.
Deputy Chief of Administration Bill Work created the Westminster Firefighter Fitness Program in 1982. "This is one of the most hazardous occupations and 50 percent of fatalities that occur in the line of duty are attributed to heart attacks," said Work. "We need to be proactive and keep in shape so we can perform our job." Fire department effectiveness and safety is dependent on the health and fitness of those responding to emergencies. Two tests are conducted annually to ensure firefighters are maintaining their health.
JSPA. Firefighters are expected to complete the JSPA (Job Specific Performance Assessment) test annually. The assessment includes job-related tasks such as pulling hose, dragging a 175 lb. manikin, climbing stairs and hauling ladders.
Cooper. A fitness test based on the Cooper Clinic standards is administered every year. It includes sit-ups, a 1.5-mile run, push-ups, flexibility, body fat, blood pressure and resting pulse rate.
A fitness committee comprised of seven firefighters monitors and administers the test results. The scores are used as a benchmark to track progress in the future. The Westminster Fire Department provides the firefighters with the means to stay fit and the resources to know their current health status. All six fire stations are equipped with fitness equipment; exercise is encouraged; and each firefighter completes a comprehensive medical exam annually.
"We continue to fitness test because we want to see improvement," said Work. "When a call is placed to 911, it is a necessity that we are ready for the job and that we are physically fit to be ready to serve our citizens."