1. #1
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    Wyoming MI
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    Default Mandatory fitness

    I am seeking any information from people involving mandatory fitness through their departments. We are trying to get fitness equipment for our stations, but it appears that without having mandatory fitness (which some employees object to), the city won't buy the equipment. We were looking for legal problems that may arise, how the fitness program was implemented and what the mandates are.

    We also were looking to find a retailer that offers discounts to FD's.[LIST]

  2. #2
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    Cary, NC
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    You are in for a up hill battle. Our dept. started a manditory fitness program in 1997. The first thing after establishing the need is a test to measure your dept's fitness level. We perform personal fitness assessments twice a year. This is in place to give the employee an idea of thier physical well being, not to hender their efforts.

    In the last four years, our overall dept level of fitness has gone from poor to fit. We only have 6 employees out of 160 that fell below the fit level.

    We give the employee 1.5 hours in the morning to use for fitness. We have let each employee choose thier own program and have had good results. When a firefighter has scored low on cardio, they tend to work at it.

    I hope that this has helped some.

    Be Safe, and never forget our fallen brothers and sisters.


    CFDGuru4u

  3. #3
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    We are hit hard for fittness trainng. We have the following mandatory evaluations:
    2 times year. City Fittness test consisting of strength and cardio testing.
    2 times yearly. Firefighter agility.
    2 times yearly. Police fittness testing( We are public safety) Strength testing and cardio testing via 1 1/2 mile run.

    The City gives us 2 hours in the morning for our daily workouts. We also are allowed to work out after hours in the evening and usually take advantage of that as well.

    The city limits us as too what types of sports we can do, basically not competative sports to keep from injuries happening.

    The City also rewards us for our fittness by awarding us what they call "MALL BUCKS" they are cash value certs they issue us if we submit a monthly workout report. It basically adds up to about 100.00 a year. Good for us to get a pair of running shoes yearly.

    As for you getting your own in Station workout equipment, our City has a well equiped recreation center and allows us to use that instead of purchasing ea station thier own stuff. You could use this too your advantage if your not allowed to leave your first in area to go another areas fittness center.

    Hope this helps a little
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

  4. #4
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    I am all for a vouluntary fitness program but not a mandatory fitness program. I am retired from the NYC Fire Dept. I was a member for 22 years. From 1993 to 1996 I was the Captain in charge of our fitness program. During this time I trained 2,500 new firefighters who came into our ranks. I am also a Physical Therapist. I feel that a voluntary program will help up to 90% of your membership meet your standards, maybea more. You want 100%. In real life, getting 100% of anything is difficult to do. If your deparatment wants to give extra money to your people who can achieve and maintain a high fitness level, grab the money. But don't penalize people who are capable of doing the job but can not always meet some arbitrary standarads. We had one firefighter who required 14 minutes to run a mile and a half. He was probably 25% body fat. He was 290 lbs. But he could do 19 legitamate ,good pull ups. He had tremendous physical strength. You can not refuse a person like this. If fitness standards are mandatory, how do you protecat people with some injuries that can linger for a year, but can still be good firefighters. I am referring to some ligament tears anywhere in your body. Arthirits that most of us will eventually get. Knee damagae might limit you in a running fitness program. You might not to be able to run a mile, but you can get to a burning house and drag someone out. You must protect your people from losing their jobs.

  5. #5
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    I SYMPATHIZE, WE ARE ALSO LACKING IN FITNESS. A MANADATORY PROGRAM IS DIFFICULT TO IMPLEMENT, THERE SIMPLY ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO WILL FIGHT 10 TIMES HARDER NOT TO EXERCISE THAN TO SIMPLY TRY AND IMPROVE THEIR FITNESS LEVELS. OUR APPROACH HAS BEEN TO HIT NEW RECRUITS AND GET THEM INTO FIT WAY OF WORKING. THIS MEANS TO GET THEM USED TO EXERCISE AND HEALTHY EATING AS A PART OF EVERYDAY LIFE ON AND OFF SHIFT. WE HAVE "WRITTEN OFF" OLDER MEMBERS WHO WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR LIFESTYLE FOR ANY REASON. THROUGH RETIREMENTS AND PEOPLE MOVING ON EVENTULALLY FITNESS WILL BECOME SOMETHING YOUR MEMBERS DO ON THEIR OWN.

  6. #6
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    I've got a question along these lines for you guys. Right now in the Army, I am 5'6" and about 230 lbs, which is way over the limit of what I am allowed to weigh in at, but for the most part they leave me alone because I can max my PT test and I have competed in post ironman challenges and the post 10-miler. My question is do your departments make it a point to give a hard time to larger firefighters even if they do meet and exceed the department fitness standards. Thanks.

    CPL Walthers
    Devil in Baggy Pants
    AATW!!!

  7. #7
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    I won't say mandatory fitness has solved all our problems but...the guys on the line are generally happy to have it, even those fundamentally opposed to exercise (especially at work). It has raised our overall fitness level and it was the number one justification for our new fitness equipment.

    I will say that having a comprehensive fitness policy is the start. It should include uniform standards, exercise times, flexibility to leave your stations within your first response districts, acceptable non-competative sports and the dreaded physical evaluation process. Above all it should be constructive in nature. Don't penalize those who have difficuly meeting an arbitrary standard, help them get better as a matter of policy. Your departments management will be interested in better employees and in your expertise while writing the policy.

    If possible, when (better yet before) you get all your new equipment retain a contract with a fitness educator. Make sure this person has nothing to sell except knowledge. The guys deserve to know how this stuff will help them.

    When it's time to go for the gear, there are a couple approaches. One is to equip a single facility for your whole department. This is okay if you only have one or two stations and no ploblems having everyone in one place. This may allow you to buy highest quality, stacked weight machines and heavy duty aerobic equipment. My department allowed us to outfit five stations identically. We did this through meticulous planning. We found versatile, multi-use weight equipment that all use Olympic plates and bought light commercial aerobic machines. Our fitness rooms are first class and can accomodate nearly all our needs.

    It's true that 100% success is nearly impossible even with a mandatory fitness program. But success can be measured in different ways. Start the process. It takes time and work but it's worth it.

    As for where to buy equipment, start surfing the websites of fitness equipment manufacturers. They have dealer locators and most dealers will treat a city fire department like a health club. Be sure to explain to any dealers that they may be involved in a competative bid process. They will try to get their stuff in your stations.

    Here's to being fit enough to do our jobs well. Good luck!

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