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Firefighter Fitness Assessed by HHP Students

September 22, 2017

Assistant Professor Laura Young’s Exercise Physiology class had the opportunity to test the health of the Dillon Volunteer Fire Department as their final assignment in Block 1.

The University of Montana Western’s new Health and Human Performance (HHP) Lab is opening its doors to the campus and to the community. In the first weeks of the school year, Montana Western’s HHP students have already utilized the new facility, becoming skilled in administering and supervising fitness test batteries and providing support during the annual fitness testing of the Dillon community’s first responders, including the Dillon Volunteer Fire Department.

The new lab’s metabolic testing capabilities will allow the expansion of key services, provide valuable information to collaborating organizations and individuals, and ensure Montana Western’s students have the skills for continued success in the field of HHP.

The firefighters were evaluated for upper body, core, and grip strength among other tests. They also had their blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) measured.


The device used to measure BMI is very unique. Once a subject grips its handles it calculates their BMI using an electrical current. The other equipment in the lab is similarly state-of-the-art.

Young said it was, “a great opportunity to help out the community.”

B.J. Klose, a veteran of the local fire department for over 15 years, promised that next time he would do the sit-up test first.

Derek McCullough, a former University of Montana Western student, recently joined the Dillon Volunteer Fire Department and felt that the stationary bicycle was the hardest part of the testing process. The bicycles measure a person’s maximum rate of oxygen consumption through a 12-minute test which gradually increases in difficulty.


Kyla Paulsen, a senior in the HHP program, someday plans to teach at an elementary school with a potential focus on physical education. She was interested in all of the fitness tests, but the process of using the bicycles was especially intriguing to her.

This exciting event was successful in providing the students with real-life experiences in their field and assisting the community at the same time.

The HHP department will once again be reaching out to the community during their Lab Open House on September 27, 2017 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. There will be light refreshments and activities including blood pressure and glucose screenings, metabolic testing demonstrations, highlights of student and faculty research projects, and much more. The community is invited to attend along with all Montana Western students, faculty and staff.