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Firefighters: Fit for Duty

Fit for Duty

Firefighting requires running into burning buildings, lifting a heavy fire hose, and climbing tall ladders to reach people.

A firefighter will need to haul firefighting equipment and carry people and animals to safety. For these reasons, physical fitness is vital for the firefighter.

If you are considering a career as a firefighter, now is the time to begin thinking about your physical fitness level. Will you need more fitness training before joining the fire department? Firefighters need stamina, strength, balance and movement to handle the demands of firefighting as well as to do their jobs well when called upon during a fire emergency.

Where to start

Regular medical checkups will help firefighters to assess their baseline fitness levels and determine an individualized fitness plan. The doctor will need to check the firefighter’s cardiac and lung health as well as perform other tests for cholesterol and stress. No matter where a firefighter begins, they can improve upon their health year after year.

Start where you are comfortable. Most of us will not be able to run a marathon on the first try. It requires months of training to reach the level of a marathon runner. Sometimes we might need to start with a brisk walk a few times a week before we can begin jogging. This is fine. Pace yourself as you work toward your physical fitness goals as a firefighter.

Firefighters should develop an appropriate fitness plan that suits their age and body type. Old injuries also need to be taken into account. So, developing a customized fitness plan to improve one’s physical fitness is vital in creating an ideal and personalized fitness and wellness plan for the firefighter. What works for one firefighter might not work for another.

Have a fitness and wellness plan

Fitness plans should include routines for building strength and endurance. Flexibility and balance play an important role in the physical tasks required of a firefighter so working on those aspects of your physical fitness is also important. Combine a workout routine of strength training, aerobics, and stretching to develop the physical fitness needed on the job.

Wellness resources like fitness trainers, fitness planners, medical professionals, and more can help to hold you accountable and provide guidance as you work toward your goals. Being fit for duty requires maintaining your health and physical fitness on a daily basis.