Members of the Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Department have spent the past two days taking part in their annual physical abilities test at the department’s Training Center.


Chief Shauwn Howell, who was the first to go through the course Wednesday said firefighting is a physically demanding profession and the series of tests are modeled after actions firefighters might have to perform on a regular basis.


“We can’t replicate everything but these are some of the more common ones,”Howell said.


The series included firefighters being asked to drag a firehouse to a hydrant and hook it up, then roll us a hose, crawl through a limited space, carry a hose up two flights of stairs to a structure, then carry a man-sized dummy for a short distance.


Howell said that although he and several others are not commonly called on to fight fires, it’s important to stay in shape should the need arise.


He also said that while the test is timed, allowances are made for firefighters based on age, and those firefighters who have medical conditions like high blood pressure and the like on test day are given another opportunity later.


“This is the same course that the new hires go through to see if they have what it takes to be a firefighter,” Howell said.