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  • Physical Fitness

    We are a full time department with 21 shift personell. Some members are doing some studies on what other departments do for fitness.
    1. Is physical fitness mandatory in your department and or do you get time on shift to work out?
    2. Do you get yearly physicals
    3. Do you have specific standards to meet yearly?
    Any other thoughts or comments?

  • #2
    I wouldn't recommend working out on duty.

    What will probably happen is someone (or the whole crew) completes a workout and then you have to respond to the big one, or some type of rescue, or whatever. You'll be exhausted before you get there. I don't think it's safe to work out on duty. It only takes 1 1/2 - 2hours on your days off to work out anyway.

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    • #3
      BFD, are you in the IAFF? if so check with your local regarding the Wellness and fitness program and the results of the Redmonds Symposium, btw there is a whole board dedicated to this topic farther down

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      • #4
        To answer your questions about our dept:
        1. not mandatory, though some Lt's strongly "recommend" it.
        2. yes, yearly physicals during the month of your birthday
        3. no standards. would be interesting to see some of the guys get tested in PT though

        Concerning the comment about not to work out while on duty, it all depends. If you lift weights to the max, run till total exhaustion, or are totally out of shape and its the first time in years that you do anything, I have to agree. But taken things in moderation, do a thorough stretch out, and know your limits, I think it is beneficial. If you get a call right after or during a workout, your body is already warmed up and stretched, I believe you will actually perform better than hadn't you done anything. Another consideration is motivation. PT as a company or team is more fun, you are much more likely to do it on a regular basis, and over the long run your body will be in much better shape.
        A word about PT evaluations, even with a mandatory PT program, it will be difficult to have an evaluation. Every dept. has some out of shape old timers, they will be pushing against it and their word will surely be louder than yours.

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        • #5
          I am all for any type of attempt to get in shape or stay in shape. Unfortunately my department does not have any type of guidelines indicating or encouraging true physical fitness. We do not have to pass any pt exams, and there are no tobaco restictions either. Myself, the assistant Chief, and one other firefighter are the only ones in the department who workout on a regular basis.
          I have slowly and carefully been preparing a case to present to my department chief. I have spent a lot of time researching, training and studying all about exercising and it's benefits especially for us firefighters. I know I have along road ahead of me, and I also fear that all of my efforts will be in vain. But I still will not give up. I know from experience that a healthy body can help a person do his job more efficiently and safely. My suggestion to all who are concerned about their health or the health of their fellow firemen is to lead by example. Encourage those around you to join you in a wellness program of some sort.
          Make it a challenge or a friendly competition amongst each other. The end results will benefit all who are involved.

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          • #6
            We are required to pass a physical agility test every year but our department doesn't require daily physical training. However, it's blatantly obvious that you need to get / stay in shape in order to do your job. All of the shifts pooled money and purchased a home gym that is located on one side of the Engine bay with a treadmill, exercise bike, and Nordictrak thing. That has made it much easier to work out while you are pulling shifts at the fire station.
            Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!

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            • #7


              [ 01-23-2002: Message edited by: Schmidt ]

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              • #8
                Thanks for the comments.
                Sorry Jedimidke007 I disagree with you. I think that if you are realistic and responsible with your work out you will have no loss of perfomrance on a poorly timed structure fire.
                Smoke286 Thanks yes we are IAFF #1322 I think he has copied all of this also. We are trying to look at all avenues.
                This is not just an issue of working out we would like to see the whole package. Most other departments that have been poled in the area vary quite a bit. But all most all of them did have yearly physicals.
                I posted something else on fitness another time and was surprised at some of the negative things I received.We have minimul equipment, some free wheights and a squat/bench set up purchased by the local and one read mill given by a member who was getting a new one.
                We are allowed to work out after 16:30 hr as long as no other work remains. We have a regimented day Mon-Sat all work must be finised before working out We must pass a physical agility to be hired after that you never take it again unless you try for promotion. Don't get me wrong I am not the big work out person in the station. I am attempting to change my personal habits and work out habits. But I think we should be required to meet those minimum requirments that got us hire year in and year out.

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                • #9
                  Any one looking for a total body machine might want to look at a C-2 rowing machine. They work just about every muscle in your body, while helping w/ cardio too. Cost around $800. Find more info at www.concept2.com
                  Stephen J Bourassa
                  Latham FD (NY)
                  member since 1969
                  challenge competitor since 1993

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                  • #10
                    No physical fitness standards.

                    Pass a yearly physical.

                    However, last year we cleaned out an old storage room and made it into a gym. There are a few people who use it. We have a bike, treadmill, weight bench and small universal weight machine and various weights.

                    Since I am also in the Navy, I must maintain physical standards, and I am required to do my "PT" at least 3 days a week. I do believe all Fire depts should have established physical standards.

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                    • #11
                      My proverbial 2 cents worth on the subject. If you love this job, you'll work out and take extremely good care of yourself--you are not the only one that depends on your health. I am active duty USAF, so I spend about an hour and change after each 13 hr shift on the duty days of my work cycle running and lifting weights for upper body, back, and leg strength. I definitely get my cardio going good for some semblance of breath control working an 1 1/2 on a structure.
                      I have my five kids, flight members, and truckmates all counting on me to stay healthy so that I can fulfill my duties to ALL of them with ALL that I have.
                      So, y'all tell me. DO we need to work out?
                      (And no, I don't have a life. Life has ME!)
                      Oklahoma Bound!

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                      • #12
                        My department set’s 2 hours a shift for you to work out. It is not mandatory but is recommended. We used to have to pass a physical fitness test once a year, but that has been stopped by our last two administrations. Our new chief is looking into a new program. Our city has to stations with small gyms in them, and some of the other stations have made make shift gyms.

                        I do think a ff should have to pass a physical fitness test once a year. Our jobs demand us to stay in shape.
                        DixieFire53, Deputy Fire Chief FF/EMT-P, Local 272

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                        • #13
                          Working out is essential to a good life.

                          Working out should not be essential to continued employment. Physicals should not be manditory to continue employment either.

                          I dont care if you are in the best shape, the criterias are not standard and there is too much area for abuse. Cities can skew requirements at their whims and I cannot see anyone losing a job because he/she didn't make an arbitrary physical fitness standard. I cant see anyone losing a job because they dont ride a bike for 30 minutes, 3 times a day.Period.

                          I am in favor of voluntary compliance of a yearly physical and I would recommend working out. Required NO. Does my department have any standards or plan, NO.

                          I am a full time firefighter and I want to be the best at my profession both physically and mentally and I constantly strive to improve at both. Its this dedication that drives me.
                          I will not however lose my career to some group of people that thinks they know how I should live.

                          Think about passing that yearly physical exam when you are 1 year from retirement and the Chief and city increase the limits and standards because they want the old guys out.

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                          • #14
                            Physical fitness is encourage but not mandatory. I also agree, PT on duty should be encouraged, not discouraged. I have made many structures and EMS calls during and after PT. I work out hard, in the heat to be acclamated in the summer, and am able to recover while responding. I've heard many agruements about not working out and most have an underlying agenda to avoid PT.

                            We have discussed a mandatory PT program when NFPA 1581 was being debated, but it died when 1581 died. Additionally we flirted with NFPA 1582 for one year after it was adopted, but ceased due to it's impact, lack of funding, etc..

                            Yearly physical test were abandoned for poltical expedency. So we're just like most places in that your on your own except that PT is encouraged.

                            [ 01-07-2002: Message edited by: rory ]

                            "It's not surprising, but it's a shame"


                            "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts"
                            -A. Einstein

                            "The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."
                            - Plato -

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                            • #15
                              We have yearly physicals. We do not have set tests for fitness, however the training and calls will quickly prove if you are turning into a turd. We do have a workout area in house and are encouraged to use it whenever. We have some guys who run 12 miles everyday and we have some guys who lift or just walk. You can never expect a fire call but any attemot to stay in peak condition is noticed and encouraged.
                              Beat the fire or the Fire Will Beat You!

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