CLINTON — To better meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines of physical health and wellness for Firefighters nationwide, the Clinton Fire Department is teaming up with Anytime Fitness.
The duties and equipment of firefighting make it imperative that the firemen are in the best physical shape possible.
Emergency calls can come in at any time of the day or night and can cover anything from brush fires, structure fires, car accidents, medical emergencies, and any number of hazardous situations. Regardless the call, they have to be physically ready, said Clinton Fire Chief Jason Poulsen.
“Our body is our tool, just as much as the hoses, the truck and the equipment we use when we go out on calls,” said fireman Don McFarland. “If we can’t lift a person or move an object, or anything that involves using our strength, then we can’t do the job the public expects from us.”
According to Poulson, the department hasn’t had a mandatory policy or standard for their firefighters to adhere to until now. He said, according to NFPA firefighters should have some type of continuous cardiovascular activity for at least 45 minutes per day to help combat cardiovascular disease.
“We at Clinton Fire have established a policy that each firefighter on duty will be required to achieve this workout standard as part of the firefighter’s job description.” said Poulsen. “Since we have a local gym right on the main road in Clinton it just seemed the right location for firefighters to come and fulfill the mandatory workouts.”
Firefighters across the nation are dying more from cardiovascular disease than from their job-related emergencies. The stress of rushing into the burning building, rescuing a sick or dying patient, waking up to loud alarms in the middle of the night when your heart is at rest, takes a toll on your heart over time, according to the NRPA.
Research evidence has shown that the stress and adverse environmental factors on firefighters can cause long term heart damage. Even after the adrenalin of an emergency call has worn off, the chances of a heart attack remains high.
The ability to work out as a crew at Anytime Fitness has benefits, not only to be competitive with each other, but for the time saved and the efficiency if offers,” said Fireman Gary Schvaneveldt.
“During workouts, we are still required to respond quickly and efficiently to all emergencies and are still held to the NFPA standard of one minute en route time. The trucks and equipment are always wherever the firefighters are to ensure this response time is met,” said Poulsen.
“But what I want to educate and promote to the residents of Clinton and surrounding cities being served and protected is to realize the importance of cardiovascular activity, not only for firefighters, but the community as a whole.”