Antigo Fire Department recives grant to help with fitness

Published: Mar. 5, 2023 at 9:08 PM CST
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ANTIGO, Wis. (WSAW) - According to the Assistant Chief of Stevens Point Fire Department physical health is important to keep up with for performance on the job.

His belief coincides with the article “Fitness Fights Fires: Exploring the Relationship between Physical Fitness and Firefighter Ability” firefighters’ which states its been an ongoing issue for some departments.

“Due to the mismatch of the physical demands of firefighting and the current physical fitness level of many in the fire services, cardiac incidents and over-exertion are the leading causes of on-duty deaths” (Chizewski, Box, Kelsler, and Petruzzello 2021).

The Antigo Fire Department was awarded the Assistance to Firefighters Grant. This grant allows the Antigo Fire Department to take a closer look at their firefighter’s fitness. The Antigo Fire Department is working with Advanced Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine.

“You saw the people out there working on our health and fitness initiative that we were able to start through that grant. Again, you know the budget money just isn’t available for stuff like that,” said Antigo Fire Department Assistant Chief Corey Smith.

Assistant Chief Smith said he’s serious about making sure his firefighters are fit enough to do their job safely and quickly.

“Exactly the steps that we would have to do to perform those jobs and then what we would need to create a functional fitness program to help our firefighters stay in good shape, stay healthy and avoid injuries is the biggest thing,” said Assistant Chief Smith.

Firefighters’ fitness is the goal right now, but Assistant Chief Smith said he’s excited to send a few of his own to a different program, which will teach firefighters how to train physically train other firefighters.

“We’re looking at individualized like workout plans and some more ongoing support for the next year or so to help us maintain that momentum and then we also use part of that grant money to send three of our personnel through the ‘Fit to Thrive’ program,” said Assistant Chief Smith.

There has been some controversy in the past with these fitness programs, However, Assistant Chief Smith said this is an opportunity for firefighters to learn more about their fitness and how to improve it.

“It is something that we’ve had to acknowledge as a department that we’ve had to improve on and this is one of the major steps that we’ve taken forward. Overall, our group has really opened up their arms to it and accepted it,” said Assistant Chief Smith.

Advanced Physical Therapy and Medicine are checking out job functioning tasks and making sure those expected limits are being met.