Firefighters Refuse to Take Physical Exam

Several backcountry volunteer fire departments are balking at new contracts with the county that require firefighters to take a physical exam, which many in leadership positions acknowledged they would not pass, according to a published report.

Last year, the County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to bring several of the volunteer departments in the unincorporated parts of the region under the newly formed San Diego County Fire Authority.

The $15 million plan included a provision to cover the volunteers' workers compensation insurance costs, which meant firefighters would have to take a medical exam. Now, at least five volunteer fire agencies are refusing to sign the contracts because of the requirement, reports the North County Times.

Gil Turrentine, 73, is the fire chief of the San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department, one of the departments declining to sign the contract. He said many longtime volunteers, including his assistant fire chief, are refusing to take the physical because they believe they will not pass the exam because of high blood pressure, weight and other problems.

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