Firefighter Fitness in Comox
For many years now Comox Fire Rescue has taken firefighter fitness very seriously. All new members must pass a fitness test before they join and all existing members take a fitness test each year.
One of the most common causes of death of firefighters is heart attack during high stress events. By increasing their fitness it is felt they can lower their risks at these high stress events.
A couple of years ago Comox Fire Rescue built their very own fitness centre located behind the fire station to ensure their members have quick and easy access to proper fitness equipment at all times. In addition to this Comox firefighters are granted use of the community owned fitness centre located at the Comox Community Centre. They have also installed a sauna for their firefighters at their fire station.
Chief Schreiner states: “We really do encourage fitness. Our training centre includes our gym plus we have the five story tower where many of our firefighters run the stairs for exercise. We also work our firefighter pretty hard during training with all that we ask them to do like carry and drag hoses, carry large ladders, wear heavy equipment and carry our rescue dummies which can weigh up to 185 pounds. Further, during certain times of the year we schedule fitness sessions right into our weekly practices because we know it is no good to have a well trained firefighter who is not fit to perform at a high level.”
Comox Fire Rescue has also changed the way they eat. Chief Schreiner states: “Our monthly dinner nights are now much healthier then they were in the past. We also encourage our members to get out and enjoy the outdoors. The Comox Firefighters Association has recently purchased two stand-up paddle boards for their firefighters to borrow and will be looking to acquire some other equipment like kayaks and bikes for the same.” Many of their firefighters get together from time to time to paddle or ride together. Comox Fire Rescue also checks the blood pressure of all of their firefighters before every practice. This small step alone has helped some of their members live a more prudent lifestyle.
Chief Schreiner states: “A fit and healthy firefighter is a better firefighter in so many ways. This is a very challenging business, filled with lots of stresses. People who are fit can typically handle these stresses much better. By taking better care of ourselves we can take better care of the citizens we serve.”