By Susan A. Neufeld
Big Bear Lake, CA – Big Bear Fire Department is once again recognized as the Most Fit Fire Department and they have achieved this distinction for six straight years from Fitness Appraisal, Inc. (FAI). Each year, firefighters are put through an intensive physical fitness screening process. Big Bear Fire Department surpassed the ideal standard of 1500 points topping the rankings for 2017, achieving an average performance score of 1731, up from 1690.8 in 2016.
According to Bob Antonacci , FAI Exercise Physiologist, this is the first time ever for a department average to be in the 1700’s. Mr Antonacci wrote in his report, “The level of commitment and enthusiasm concerning their performance in the program is exemplary and a true commitment to service performance when it matters most”. Big Bear Fire Department’s Chief Jeff Willis commented, “This has a direct correlation to the meaning of teamwork and team performance”.
This year 12 of the Department’s firefighter scored above 1800 points and were recognized for their accomplishments at the October 24, 2017 Big Bear Fire Authority Board meeting. Those participating were, Firefighter/Paramedic Robert Sandin, Firefighter/Paramedic Jim McDaniel, Engineer/Paramedic Luke Wagner, Fire Engineer/Paramedic Bobby Whitmore, Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Sheehan, Firefighter/Paramedic Jake Torres and Apprentice Firefighter/EMT’s Dylan Unger and Ross Winfield. Fire Captain/Paramedic Josh Mandolini was recognized as the most improved over the last year.
Following behind Big Bear Fire Department’s performance ranking are departments from Paso Robles and Ross Valley.
Results of the fitness testing provide a wealth of information for the individual being tested and is grouped into an overall rating for the fitness level of the department. This information is vital to the training plans for the coming year.