Kansas Firefighters Make Fitness Strides

A recent news piece detailed Clinical Physiologist Adrienne Gapter’s efforts to increase fitness levels in the Salina (KS) Fire Department and help coax its firefighters to leave behind its “fried chicken culture.”

The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/1b7ubxz) retells an encounter with a firefighter that Gapter felt was indicative of the mindset of the fire department. The man reportedly told Gapter, “Adrienne, you expect us to eat cold fried chicken? We’re not going to exercise on duty. We’re eating that chicken right when it comes out of that grease.”

After years of work, Gapter said the Salina Fire Department has changed and is now ahead of most other departments nationwide in requirements that both new hires and current firefighters meet criteria for maximum rate of oxygen uptake. Although many “old guys” were resistant to Gapter’s efforts, but enforcement of the department’s annual fitness testing changed members’ minds and resulted in increased levels of fitness and health.

For more on this story, go to http://bit.ly/1b7ubxz.

According to a report from the United States Fire Administration, in 2012 heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death, accounting for 39 firefighter deaths. For more on firefighters and cardiac wellness, consider FIREFIGHTERS AND HEART DISEASE: BEYOND THE STATISTICS, Firefighter Fitness and Medical Evaluations: A Difficult Journey, NFPA 1582: The Standard for You and Your Family, and National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System: Cardiac Wellness. For more on fitness and how it related to cardiac illness, consider Acute Coronary Syndromes in Firefighters: An “Athletic” Approach to Prevention.

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