Former NFL Player: Firefighters are Pro Athletes

Erron Kinney may no longer be a tight end for the NFL's Tennessee Titans, but he has the same outlook on the need for fitness in his current profession.

As far as gaining access to equipment for cash-strapped departments, he said to think outside the box.

His department sponsors local YMCA soccer teams and all of the members get memberships. It only costs about $500 per year.

In tough economic times when budgets are in focus, Kinney said there is a need for firefighters to prove their worth and that the best way to do that is by showing the public that they are fit to do their job.

"The amount of money spent on personnel far outweighs everything else," he said. "We are the most important tool in the fire service."