Fire-d Up for Fitness

Optimal fitness is a combination of lifestyle, nutrition and habits, but it cannot be reached without an appropriate level of physical fitness.


Functional Exercise.........Related Firefighting Skill
Squat................................Stair and ladder climb, hose line operation, Overall strength in transporting heavy equip.
Lunge................................Stair and ladder climb, balance, coordination
Bench Press.....................Hose line operation, hand tool operation, and forcible entry
Standing Curl...................Climbing, pulling yourself through tight places
Shoulder Press................Hose line operation, hand tool operation, pulling ceilings
Rowing..............................Hose line operation, heavy power tool operation and roof sawing.
Sit-up...............................Hose line operation, heavy power tool and overall strength in transport of heavy equipment
Push-ups.........................Hose line operation, hand tool operation.

You can see how important these exercises can make your life as a firefighter safer and healthier if performed in the proper way. As they say knowledge is power. The importance of physical fitness and conditioning for firefighters and emergency responders is beyond any doubt. But just being fit is not enough for this dangerous occupation.

To minimize risks, each firefighter of the department needs to take an active role in managing their health in areas as diverse in nutrition, weight control, stress management, substance abuse prevention, and personal safety. A healthy low-fat eating plan, combined with regular physical activity is the key. But remember, who is a firefighters best friend...water.


BECKY SHEREK is a registered nurse and paramedic program coordinator for the Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Minnesota. Becky holds two masters degrees, one in Community Health Administration and the other in Wellness Promotion and is a contributor to Minnesota Fire Chief Magazine. She started Northern Health & Fitness Plus, a company that provides on-site medical evaluations and respiratory fit testing, among other services, for fire departments in Minnesota. You can contact Becky at nhfplus@yahoo.com.