Physical fitness is often a overlooked aspect of fire training. How do you or do you encourage physical fitness?

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I make it a personal habit, and always did. I recieved extensive training in it and became a certified personal trainer. I went through a course "Certified fire department fitness coordinator"...or something like that years ago by Dr. Paul Davis, who developed the Combat Challenge.
This is a very sore subject with me personally. All I will say is that anyone who doesn't believe fitness is of primary importence to a firefighter is either someone who barely gets by, or is in poor condition , or both. It isn't about being body beautiful, or how much you can bench press. It is relative to your own condition. There is a gross misconception clouding this whole issue. We have all heard of the firefighter who gets winded after a flight of stairs yet can crash through a door with their strenght...supposedly. It's a balance of both really, but more about endurance as well. Agaian, to those who don't think it is important, I would think they just haven't had to go "all out" on a job is all.
Those who resist it are only scared of it, and their own inability to meet any minimal fitness standards. Personally I feel it should be a part of the beginning level, FF1 for example. Yet it probabaly never will be becouse of the resistence and the old argument that you won't have anyone willing to do it. It's but another reason why law enforcement professional standards are above those of a firefighter. Maybe not in every community, but as a whole. I doubt there is ANY law enforcement training for recruits that doesn't have a physical fitness module.
We will just keep making excuses. That's fine. I don't have to.
My goodness you hit the nail on the head. I tell the guys at the station that all the training in the world is no good if you can't complete the job. Being physically fit is just the begining of the job, it all stems from that. Like you said it's not about a max bench, or hardcore abs, it's about the conditioning and strength to do the job. This is a very physical profession, don't take for granted you can do the job when the time comes. Train how you work and work how you train. Thank you for your prospective, good to know there is more of us out there, we have to spread the word. We owe it to the profession. Stay safe,
I agree, for weeks you may be alone in the bay doing up/downs or completing a obstacle in gear and SCBA but in time you will draw people in and get more and more to participate. It will work it just takes time. Thanks and stay safe
On my crew, we make it manditory. At least 45 minutes of some kind of PT. Your only as strong as your weakest member. You know some of the guys get winded just getting off the truck, thats a bad sign. What good can you do, or how long can you go, is a matter of saving someones life when minutes count. My guys dont' want to be the ones who have to go to rehab in the first 5 minutes. We work out as a team and push each other every shift. Its important that you do it together. Make it fun, thats what we do.

Lt. Stimmell
Lt, sounds great but when doing it together how do you compensate for the members that struggle to walk a mile? Hard to work out as a unit when you can finish a triathalon and FF Joe needs to pace himself during a walk. Don't get me wrong I agree with you completely. How do you motivate a FF who needs loads of help? I tell guys to do what they can and only compete with themselves to help reduce discouragement.

Stay safe, T. Jarrard GSD # 723
Competing with "themselves" is actually the best way to motivate without intimidation. All fitness programs need to have an obvious beginning pahse, in which everyone starts on an equal plane, with the object being an increase in personal fitness. Once you have developed a program, specific target goals can be established. That's where using physical fitness training allows the individual to obtain a minimal level of fitness to achieve the overall group goal.
Obviously the use of traditional training programs, as well as some job-specific approach's are used to help meet these goals. The end goal should be a target fitness of reduced body fat/increased muscle mass, and increased endurance. The most valid way to measure this is a well designed performance measuring series of job-specific tasks. As an example, the combat challenge. Granted it may be extreme to compete for a timed completion, but it is feasible that most, if not all of those activities may be required on a fireground, especially with limited staffing. The overall goal is for each member to at least complete these tasks. Those of exceptional condition WILL be able to perform to a time-measured level. However setting a time of 6 minutes is NOT unrealistic.
Members who cannot perform to this level aftera year of introductory training are given remedial training and evaluation. Failure to even complete the objectives after three interventions with modified personal training programs...should be sufficient information to indicate that member is unfit for duty, and should be assigned a non-firefighting/IDLH position.
If a firefighter cannot complete the validated, job-specific events, it should be safe to say they are in such poor physical condition that they are a liability. EVERY effort should be made to encourage and coach each member to achieve THEIR highest goal. However those who cannot, after repeated efforts to train them, are a wek link, and incapable of performing strenous fireground activities when maximum effort is required for life or death situations.
This business is no place for health liabilities. It is NOT everyone's "right" to be a firefighter just becouse it is a personal desire.
This is a discussion close to my heart, literally. When I first became an EMT I was very over weight and while I had the needed skills to help people it was a physical challenge for me to get to them in a hurry carrying the needed equipment. In the past year and a half I have lost 135 pounds and work out 6 days a week. NOW I can get to a scene carrying all the equipment needed without being winded and without my joints killing me so I am better able to help. So now not only do I have the skill but I also have the physical stamina needed (plus I do triathalons now which is so much fun). I believe physical fitness should be a requirement, we have to constantly practice to keep our skill level up....well we should have to work out on a regular basis to keep our physical skills up also.
Once agian I agree. However without the support of upper management and the lack of manpower how can you take away even limited resources by deaming them not fit for duty. As you have probably seen more than I those members are hid at a slow station or truck.
Your job specific approach is exactly how viewed it. Individuals doing their own limited fitness for a set period of time and then completing a job specific course. Times are documented each time and improvements are praised.
Yeah, I know there are guys that struggle. Most FF are competitive by nature. We do it the hard way. The guy who has to walk, We just lap him a couple of times. He'll pick up the pace. It will get to him after a while. I know its harsh, but it works. We're guys, we hate getting shown up like that. I'm the officer on a Truck company, so its important to stay in shape. With our guys, we do truck company drills, and who ever does the best at the tasks given has that seat on the truck. So if you can't perform hard, I don't want you going in, you'll be doing outside work. No FF wants to stay outside all the time. Maybe they can pick up hose for the Engine crew, Ha ha. Anyway, good luck Ted.
i personally think its important to stay in shape. When i see other firefighters with turn out gear that could make 2-3 other sets of gear; it makes me wonder. Now with saying that, i do not expect everybody to be ripped either. Considering one of the main cause's of death in the fire service is heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular problems. I make it a point to remind my fellow firefighters that maybe they do not need to eat that big-mac, or two or three big-macs. honestly. C'mon. When it comes down to it, it's plain and simple laziness, We have firefighters today that would rather watch American Idol Rather than train. Get off your butt and train! A few of my buddys at the firehouse and i follow It's amazing.
I am trying to get into a hbit of working out, sometimes it is difficult as a volley, there are nights I do not get any sleep and then the next day I am to wore out to work out any.
The cross fit is amazing, we have even added the FF turnout gear to the mix. It makes if seem more FF related fitness. We (the station) have currently started a food log for each shift. We also have found a formula that calculates our daily calorie requirement. At the end of the shift we can see if we are in the plus or minus. Of course you have to take into acount the calories you burn in PT. There are load of web sites that help do the calories counting. It only takes 3500 calories to equal a pound. Thats only 500 extra calories a day for a week. This has opened some eyes in the station.

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