Jerome firefighters go through annual ability course

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JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Jerome Fire Department's firefighters are required annually to go through a physical ability course to determine if they are fit enough to do their tasks.

"We use our physical ability course to establish a baseline for all of our employee's, part-time employees, full-time employees," said Benjamin Landrian, a firefighter with the department.

Landrian said it gives the department a good guideline to where the firefighters are "physically and what their mental capability is as far as pushing through some adversity and being able to complete day to day tasks as a firefighter."

The course has eight stations, and all stations must be done under 10 minutes, 30 seconds. The course starts with a stair climb, "which simulates 10 stories."

"We go up and down 16 steps, making five completions. We have to touch every step," Landrian said.

From there, candidates have to pull a 150-foot hose around a designated course. Then, they have to do a ladder raise, simulating that firefighters have to reach a second story structure.

"A component in our task is we have to remain in control as we do each one," Landrian said.

Another station of the course is doing a "forced entry simulation."

"We take a 12 pound sledge, we hit it on a piece of timber, just simulating like we're hitting door locks or handles, making an entry into a structure that's enclosed," he said. The sledge has to hit the timber 45 times.

Firefighter's also have to carry dumbbells at certain weights, simulating carrying fire equipment then do a "rescue drag" where they drag a 165 pound mannequin 85 feet.

"It gives us a really good baseline of most typically sized person that we'll encounter in those situations," Landrian added.

Other parts of the station include crawling on the floor doing a search, then doing "ceiling breach and pull."

All stations also must be done while wearing their personal protective equipment and supplied air respirators, which could range from 60 pounds to 85 pounds.

"Part of our test has been designed around some of the curriculum that follow that they follow, for national guidelines. It's not exactly to a T, but it's within what our department can do budget wise," Landrian explained.

Landrian said since he's been with the department for about three years, and the fastest that he's seen someone do the course was under 6 minutes.

"It's funny, because all of us try to push and try and get just a little faster every year and make sure that we're staying within our current guidelines and do our job as best as we can," he said.

Firefighter Zachary Ingraham has been with the department for a little over a year now, and he completed his course in a little over seven minutes. He explained what he thought about as he went through the course.

"Just thinking the next task ahead of me. Just staying focused, you know, and doing what I need to do and accomplish that in a timely manner and move on from there," Ingraham said.

Landrian said he started out with the department as a part-time firefighter three years ago and then decided to make it into a career.

"The teamwork, the camaraderie, the environment, it got a hold of me and I became a firefighter," he said.

The Jerome City Fire Department is currently hiring part-time firefighters. To apply, email Chief Presnell at or Deputy Chief Harrison at

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