Fire Fighters Take Physical Tests In Anaheim F.D.

Fire Fighters Take Physical Tests In Anaheim F.D.

Fireman Web Whitlock, wired to an electrocardiogram is checked by YMCA physical director Dick Cook, as he pedals for nine minutes on an Ergometer

—official photographs Public Information Office, City of Anaheim.

Fireman Dover Ford, right, assists Captain Tom Barnes doing setups that are part of evaluation of his total physical fitness made at the Anaheim YMCA.Engineer Dick Felipy of the Anaheim Fire Department puffs on Vitalameter to determine his lung capacity.

An intensive voluntary testing program has begun for the 225-member Anaheim, Calif., Fire Department. It is a cooperative effort of the department, the local firemen’s association and the Anaheim Family YMCA.

Recent studies conducted by the International Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation revealed that there has been an average of 86 line-of-duty deaths for every 100,000 fire fighters each year.

“The physical stress involved in fire fighting duties is quite high,” said Web Whitlock, president of the Anaheim firemen’s group. “We met with representatives of the YMCA and set up a physical evaluation which is quite extensive.”

The department granted time for those fire fighters who desired to learn of their physical condition—strengths and weaknesses—to take the half-hour testing. Results are reviewed by two local physicians and discussed privately with the firemen.

Each participant pays $10 for the series of exams which including a resting electrocardiogram, muscular and strength endurance tests, an evaluation of body composition to determine whether a man is overweight or underweight, flexibility examination, and a vital capacity test to determine lung capacities.

Dr. Robert Brown, who has been involved in cardiac rehabilitation at the YMCA, St. Jude Hospital and Anaheim Memorial Hospital, and his colleague, Dr. Garth Taggee, nightly review the results. The actual testing is administered by Dick Cook, physical director at the Y.

“Following the evaluation of the battery of tests, a program of physical fitness or dieting may be recommended,” said Battalion Chief Tom Vandiver.

Actual testing began in early November and thus far, the results seem to be very significant and helpful for the fire fighters, Vandiver said. “We’ve only had about eight people indicate they do not plan to participate and since the results are private between the doctors and the fire fighter, I think it can be a valuable program for both the department and the individual.”

The studies conducted by the IAFCF revealed that 45 percent of the investigated on-duty fire fighter deaths were attributed to a cardiovascular accident, primarily heart attacks, stroke or congestive heart failure.

Injury statistics for fire fighters show that sprains and strains dominate.

“That means a good program of physical fitness,” Whitlock said. I Hopefully, somewhere in the future after these evaluations are completed we will be able to establish a regulafitness program at each of our fire stations.”

Complete testing is expected to require two months, Whitlock added, with approximately eight participants each day, three days a week.

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