Villages added to federal EFF medical exam schedule

Kobuk Valley #2 Crew Boss Barney Pete checks out fire burning while assigned to the Cougar Fire in Northern Idaho on Aug. 16, 2018. Photo by Colin MacDonald, DOF.

Kobuk Valley #2 Crew Boss Barney Pete checks out fire burning while assigned to the Cougar Fire in Northern Idaho on Aug. 16, 2018. Photo by Colin MacDonald, DOF.

The villages of Fort Yukon, Venetie, Arctic Village, Selawik, Minto and Tanana were added to the schedule of mobile medical exams for federal emergency firefighters (EFF) in rural Alaska.

The additions to the schedule are (click on links for request forms):

Starting this year, the BLM AFS is providing medical exams in approximately 28 Alaska villages through mobile medical units and by scheduled appointments at 18 pre-identified facilities throughout the state in preparation for the 2019 fire season. The goal of implementing the medical standards to increase safety by identifying pre-existing conditions that could be aggravated by the Work Capacity Test (WCT) and the arduous duty of wildland firefighting. This requirement does not apply to Alaska Division of Forestry EFF.

Map of network of facilities where medical exams are available upon request.

Network of facilities throughout Alaska where medical exams are available upon request. Click on link WLFF Alaska Facilities Map edit for PDF version.

Returning EFF firefighters and rookie candidates need to fill out a exam request form to schedule the medical whether it through the mobile units or at participating clinics in other communities. This form needs to be completed, signed, and faxed to BLM AFS at (907)356-5609 in order to schedule an exam.

The same request form will allow you to schedule an exam at clinics in Fairbanks, Galena, Wasilla, Kenai, Anchorage, Kotzebue, Bethel, Yakutat, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg, Kodiak and Soldotna. There is no cost to the EFF for the examination, however, if the individual chooses a location other than their local village, BLM AFS will not cover the associated travel costs. Fax the forms to (907)356-5609 at least one week in advance to schedule the exam.

Yukon Koyukuk Crew Boss William "Papa" Penn leads four Type 2 emergency firefighter crews out on the tarmac to board a plan bound for the Lower 48 on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2017. Photo by Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS.

Yukon Koyukuk Crew Boss William “Papa” Penn leads four Type 2 emergency firefighter crews out on the tarmac to board a plan bound for the Lower 48 on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2017. Photo by Beth Ipsen, BLM AFS.

Medical units already performed exams in Huslia on Monday and Galena on Wednesday. Additional mobile unit visits have yet to be scheduled starting in January in Noorvik, Kiana, Shungnak, Ambler, Buckland, Holy Cross, Grayling, Ruby, St. Marys, Marshall, Mountain Village, Pilot Station, Stebbins, St. Michaels and Koyuk.

All Alaska-based federal emergency firefighters, otherwise known as casual hires or administrative determined employees, are hired on an as-needed basis and will need to undergo a medical screening prior to being eligible for work. Those performing arduous duties will need medical exams once every three years and self-certify in between years. The medical screening, established by the Department of the Interior Medical Standards Program (DOI MSP), will screen EFF for any disqualifying medical conditions prior to participating in the pack test. Others performing light and moderate duties need to complete a health screening questionnaire in order to be medically cleared for work (click on link for more information) . Regularly employed AFS firefighters have been adhering to these wildland firefighting medical requirements for years.

Additional paperwork will need to be completed and brought to the appointment.

They are (click on links for forms):
AFS EFF Examinee Instructions
AFS_EFF Medical History Questionnaire
HIPAA Notice of Privacy Practice Form – 2 18 2016
HIPAA Authorization Form – 2 18 2016

You can also find the forms online on the BLM AFS emergency firefighter page at https://afs.ak.blm.gov/eff.php

Photo of Emergency firefighters on the Yukon Flats crew walk to the fireline while on a fire in the Lower 48 in 2018.

Emergency firefighters on the Yukon Flats crew walk to the fireline while on a fire in the Lower 48 in 2018.

Certain individuals may have conditions (click on link for list) which prevent them from participating in the pack test or working as a firefighter, but may apply for and be granted a waiver when there is sufficient evidence to show they can perform the job safely without endangering the health or safety of themselves or others. Please see Medical Exam Instructions for more information.

After the exam is completed, a determination will be made regarding the candidate’s eligibility to participate in the pack test and the arduous duty of wildland firefighting. Medicals need to be performed with plenty of time to participate in the waiver process and get medically cleared to participate in the pack test in the spring.

The BLM AFS provides wildland fire management for the DOI and Native Corporation lands in Alaska and provides oversight of the BLM Alaska aviation program. Firefighter safety, and the safety of the public, is a core value and is fundamental in all areas of wildland fire management.

For more information, EFF candidates can email AFS_EFF@blm.gov or call EFF Program at 1-833-532-8810 or (907)356-5897.

Mobile unit schedule so far:

About BLM Alaska Fire Service

The Bureau of Land Management Alaska Fire Service (AFS) located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, provides wildland fire suppression services for over 244 million acres of Department of the Interior and Native Corporation Lands in Alaska. In addition, AFS has other statewide responsibilities that include: interpretation of fire management policy; oversight of the BLM Alaska Aviation program; fuels management projects; and operating and maintaining advanced communication and computer systems such as the Alaska Lightning Detection System. AFS also maintains a National Incident Support Cache with a $10 million inventory. The Alaska Fire Service provides wildland fire suppression services for America’s “Last Frontier” on an interagency basis with the State of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Military in Alaska.

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