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FAQs

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1. What are medical standards?

The medical standards apply only for arduous duty wildland firefighting positions as described in PMS 310-1. Specific medical standards are required because of the arduous and hazardous nature of the job, in addition to providing a means of tracking occupational health relative to acute and chronic exposure to the wildland firefighter environment. The information gathered will assist the agencies in improving their fire safety programs and their commitment to maintain a high degree of responsibility toward public and firefighter safety.

2. Who do the medical standards apply to?

The medical standards only apply to arduous federal wildland firefighters, primary and collateral duty.

3. Besides a medical clearance for arduous duty, why are the medical standards important to me?

The medical examinations performed under the medical standards program provide the applicant/incumbent information on their occupational health, relative to acute and chronic exposures in the wildland firefighting environment. There are many unknowns relative to long term occupational exposures in wildland/prescribed firefighting. The medical information gathered, when viewed as a firefighting community, will assist agencies in improving their fire safety program.

4. Are the medical standards the same as the fitness test for arduous duty known as the work capacity or pack test?

No. You must have a clearance determination (back page of exam) stating that you meet the medical standards for arduous duty before you can participate in the arduous duty work capacity test (pack test).

5. What do retirees who return to work in a position that requires an arduous level firefighter rating complete?

A federal retiree who accepts re-employment in a position that requires a red card at the arduous level will be subject to the medical examination for that employment category (Permanent/Career Seasonal/Term, Temporary Seasonal Hire, or AD/EFF). Medical exams and clearances must be completed prior to taking the Work Capacity Test (WCT) and reporting for employment. In addition, when a federal retiree moves from one employment category to another (AD/EFF to Temporary Seasonal Hire), they will be subject to the medical examination for their new employment category. AD/EFF's need to read their Agency specific memo for guidance regardless of age.

6. Where do I go for my medical examination?

Your local FMO or SHRO should be able to assist you.

7. How do I get my exam paperwork?

Exams are available on our website under the "Exam Process" tab.

8. I can not make my medical appointment due to something that has come up?

No problem. Please call the facility where you were scheduled and reschedule your exam.

9. Who can make a clearance determination?

Your local medical provider can now make a clearance determination. DOI MSP Medical Review Officers (MROs) can ammend clearance determinations.

10. You now can see your personal physician.

DOI MSP now accepts clearance determinations from local health care providers at the time of exam. Clearance determinations should be documented on the back page of the exam.

11. What do I need to bring to the exam?

Once you receive your exam paperwork, complete all of the required information on the examination form. Include your medical history, explain any medical problems you have, and provide prescription medications. Do some research if you can't remember dates of old surgeries and medical issues? Provide as much information dates, types of surgery, and rehabilitation. If you wear glasses, bring them with you. Bring any medical documents from specialists stating that you can perform wildland firefighting (i.e. a note from your orthopedic surgeon stating that your artificial knee is stable and can withstand the rigors of wildland firefighting).

12. I have concerns about the non-clearance determination I received from the local clinic, who do I contact to report this to?

Please call or email the DOI MSP Customer Service Representative at 888-286-2521 or email them at wlffcsr@blm.gov to request a MRO Review.

13. Who pays for the medical examination?

The agency pays for the medical examination. Contact your local FMO or SHRO for payment information. If you had a workman's compensation injury, you should contact your local Department of Labor Workers Compensation Office Claim Coordinator to coordinate payment of any further evaluation expenses.

14. How will I know if I have met the medical standards and can be hired or take the pack test?

A clearance determination will be made at the time of the exam (back page).

15. I have a Pending Further Evaluation (PFE) status, what do I do now?

If you were given a PFE notice from CHS or MDI and have not taken an exam in 3 years, you must take a new exam.

16. I just received my non-clearance notice because I didn't meet a medical standard(s). Now what do I do?

Bring your entire exam packet to your FMO or SHRO and you will receive an Opportunity Memo from your Servicing Human Resources Office (SHRO) with complete instructions on how to participate in the Risk Mitigation / Waiver Process. Upon receiving the Opportunity Memo you will have 5 calendar days to submit your response back to your SHRO. Please refer to the DOI MSP website at http://www.nifc.gov/medical_standards/ for a complete guide.

17. I have additional medical information that may upgrade my clearance from Not Cleared to Cleared and would like to request an MRO Review. What information should I provide?

If you are submitting additional information for an MRO Review, gather all medical records that show the current status of your medical condition as well as any tests or information from your doctor. Please call or email the DOI MSP Customer Service Representative at 888-286-2521 or wlffcsr@blm.gov to request a MRO Review. You will be required to send the DOI MSP an MRO Review request form found here our website; MRO Review Request.

18. Why did only one of my friends get cleared when they both have asthma?

Given the infinite variations in the manner in which a given condition may present in different individuals (i.e. severity, aerobic capacity, medications and doses, triggers), each case is reviewed independently with consideration of all the medical information available from the examination and from the examinee's personal health care provider.

19. What is the difference between Risk Mitigation and a Waiver?

A Risk Mitigation would place specific requirements on the WLFF to reduce the risk(s) associated with the non-clearance medical conditions. These mitigations will be identified in the Interactive Assessment Process with you, the FMO and SHRO. A Waiver would waive the Federal Interagency Wildland Firefigher Medical Standards. This option would require the WLFF to establish that the non-clearance medical conditions does not interfere or pose a safety risk with the essential functions of the job. Please refer to the DOI-MSP website at http://www.nifc.gov/medical_standards/ under job aids for a complete guide. It is important to stress that these are proposed and specialized mitigations should be developed on a case by case basis during the Interactive Risk Assessment Process.

20. What will the Interactive Risk Assessment Process evaluate?

The Interactive Risk Assessment Process will evaluate the following:
  • Medical conditions and ability to safely and efficiently perform the tasks
  • Qualifications, Experience and Training
  • Medical Conditions is Static and Stable
  • Conditions of Employment
  • Body Stature and PPE
Please refer to the DOI-MSP website at http://www.nifc.gov/medical_standards/ under job aids for a complete guide. Unlike in the past, there are strict timelines that must be followed in the Risk Mitigation / Waiver Process.

21. Who makes the final decision in the Risk Mitigation/Waiver Process?

In both the 1st level and 2nd level of the RM/W Process an agency Management Officer (MO) will make the final decision.

22. I applied for a job as a GS/WG Temporary Seasonal Hire, but did not clear the medical exam. Can I fight fire as an AD/EFF?

No. If you do not meet the medical standards for arduous duty, you will not be hired as another employee type.

23. If I did not receive a waiver under the old process, can I participate in the Risk Mitigation/Waiver Process?

No. Please call or email the DOI MSP Customer Service Representative at 888-286-2521 or email them at wlffcsr@blm.gov.

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