The number one cause of death for firefighters is from heart attacks. One local fire department is taking steps to reduce that statistic.
A fire fighter would never forget to wear their jacket or helmet running into a house fire. But what about being physical fit?
The Stephenson Fire Department received a $2,500 grant from 5-5-5 Fitness, an organization founded by firefighters. Their mission is to promote firefighter health and safety by providing fitness equipment to departments in need.
â??As the chief I didnâ??t want my guys to be one of those statisticsâ?? said Brian White, Chief of Stephenson Fire Department. â??The biggest part of getting the grant for me was making sure my guys are fit and able to do the job. Granted we donâ??t go on a whole lot of run every year, but it only takes one.â??
The grant provided a squat stand, utility bench, barbell, kettle bells, medicine ball and rowing machine. The department hosted an open house to present the equipment and volunteers from 5-5-5 Fitness demonstrated how to use it.
â??One of the things that set Stephenson apart from all the other departments was their location and their available access to other gymsâ?? said Robert Piparo, Cofounder of 5-5-5 Fitness. â??The nearest gym to here is about 25 miles away so if a member wanted to go workout and theyâ??re 25 miles away and a call was to happen they would not be able to respond at all.â??
5-5-5 Fitness raises money for equipment grants through merchandise sales on their website. Stephenson is the first recipient of the grant, but they hope to give out three by the end of the year.
â??The goal that we have in the fire service every day when I go to my shift is everyone goes homeâ?? said Piparo. â??So every tour that I work for 24 hours, the next morning when my entire crew goes home, thatâ??s a successful tour. Through fitness we can hopefully decrease that 50% number.â??
Stephenson Fire Department reached out to other departments in the area inviting them to use the equipment, as well.