MEDINA, Ohio - Your life is in their hands, but are they fit to do the job? That’s what the city of Medina is trying to determine through proposed physical and age requirements for the city’s police and fire departments.
This comes just months after the police chief reluctantly resigned citing health issues.
"I think the public’s expectation is that all firefighters and police officers are already physically fit,” said Medina City Council President John Coyne.
Now as the city searches for a new police chief to lead the force, they are also contemplating a proposal to set an age and physical requirement for police and fire.
“There’s generally a correlation between their ability to serve and their age," Coyne said.
But Coyne says not everyone on council, including himself, saw it that way. "Because someone can be 65 years of age and be physically fit, or be 55 years of age and not be physically fit,” Coyne said.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cardiac issues were the leading cause of death for firefighters.
“You don’t have to worry about what kind of shape is our firefighter is going to be in when he gets here,” said Medina Fire Chief Bob Painter.
A few years ago, Chief Painter says the department implemented annual tests for it firefighters. “It is basically really relevant to our job: pulling hose, climbing ladders, dragging people,” Painter said.
And they found not everyone makes the cut. “Last year we took two people to the hospital because they got exhausted and had shortness of breath. Both have since retired” Painter said.
Medina Police had a similar policy in place, but the previous chief changed it almost 10 years ago. Coyne says the council agrees, it’s time to bring it back.
In order to reinstate the physical fitness tests, the police union would also have to agree to the terms.