Profile from International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, June 2014
The 50 firefighters and EMS personnel at East Whiteland Fire Department, a combination department located in Malvern, PA, take health and fitness very seriously. They understand the community is depending on them to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice, and that being fit is an important component of that.
The department participates in annual NFPA medical evaluations, and career members are required to engage in at least one hour of physical fitness training per shift. Many volunteer members also participate in the physical training either at the station or at local fitness centers. The fitness training is regularly applied to real-world fire and EMS situations during training sessions.
“Our goal is two-fold,” said Dan Kerrigan, East Whiteland firefighter and assistant fire marshal. “Be prepared to safely and effectively carry out the tasks required of us when we are called, and make sure everyone goes home to their families.”
For the 2014 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, the East Whiteland Fire Department designed a special fitness challenge circuit that combines or mimics typical firefighting tasks performed at emergency scenes with an added emphasis on physical fitness. The circuit can be completed either in regular clothing, bunker gear, or full turnout gear and SCBA, depending on the individual’s level of fitness. The circuit is easily set up and can be adjusted to individual or department needs. View the East Whiteland fitness challenge circuit.
To keep momentum going throughout the year, the department continues to emphasize the components of their health and wellness program as they apply to training, fireground operations, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle. Additional emphasis is being placed on proper diet and nutrition and being mentally prepared for the job.