The benefits of a bespoke physical fitness program.
An emergency organization such as the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service cannot, even for one second, fail in its sacred responsibilities to respond instantaneously and manage successfully the myriad risks that confront the citizenry. The general nature of the fire service demands a critical level of fitness to perform vast emergency functions and fire fighters must be physically and mentally prepared to meet the occupational challenges. This impeccable state of health and fitness must be maintained or even increased to efficiently meet the many critical job performance standards. Fire fighters are not super heroes that emerge unscathed from emergency sites where intense physical and mental aptitude are required to extinguish the static and dynamic risks encountered. Local and international statistical data indicate a high occurrence of injuries to fire fighters at both emergency and non emergency operations. The leading types of injury received during fire ground operations are strain, sprain or muscular pain. In addition, the discovery of a disturbing trend has been noticed where the measured level of fitness among firefighters has declined, despite mandatory physical fitness program. This decrease from the optimal fitness standard enhance the risk of life style diseases such as heart attacks, hypertension and diabetes, which have contributed to related deaths to fire fighters. Illness and injuries affecting any work team inadvertently affect work performance. High levels of physical fitness aid fire fighters in intuitively performing emergency tasks safely and reduce the risk of injury and illness. Therefore, a bespoke physical fitness program will undoubtedly enhance fire service employees’ health and wellness and improve operational efficiency
Physical fitness can be generally defined as “The ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with energy left over for enjoying leisure- time activities and meeting emergency demands. It is the ability to endure, to bear up, to withstand stress, to carry on in circumstances where an unfit person could not continue, and is a major basis for good health and well-being.” (The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports). The fire service's greatest asset is not equipment, apparatus or stations, but rather its personnel. Fire fighting is a profession that demands competence, physical strength and endurance greater than almost any other profession. Fire fighters can be considered “Occupational Athletes”. When called to duty, they are pushed to their physical limits and are additionally exposed to chemical, biological, and psychological hazards, which place excessive stressors on them, that can impact on their overall wellness. Their ability to endure these extremes is sometimes the determining factor of life or death for those they have sworn to protect. It is evident that fire fighters must maintain high levels of muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular and anaerobic endurance. An optimal physical fitness program, comprising exercise prescriptions specific to their needs, is essential to maintaining and improving ideal fitness levels required to perform tasks safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, the current fitness initiative in the fire service has remained quite static and devoid of modern fitness measures, equipment and facilities. It also facilitates, more so, personal motivation to engage in physical activities rather than a mandatory organizational policy. This model, consequently, have generated an observable decline in the levels of fitness of the workforce. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International Association of Fire fighters (IAFF) have also documented this concern in their jurisdiction and have spearheaded a drive toward improving fire fighters’ health and fitness with initiatives, which addresses their health and safety. In...
Bibliography: N.F.P.A. (n.d.). The US Fire Service. Retrieved December 15, 2011, from National Fire
Protection Association:http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?category ID=955& URL=Research/Fire%20statistics/ The%20U.S.%20fire%20service
Caricom Secretariat. (2007). Caribbean unity to fight chronic diseases epidemic : obesity
a major target
Norris, C. (2006). Physical fitness in the Fire Service. Retrieved December 15, from U.S. Fire
Pronk, N. P., Martinson, B. P., Kessler, R. C., Beck, A. L., Simon, G. E., & Wang, P. M. (2004).
The Association Between Work Performance and Physical Activity, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Obesity January 2004 - Volume 46 - Issue 1 - pp 19-25
Southey, R. (1998, 02). Fire department physical fitness:. Retrieved december 01, 2011, from
US Fire Administraion: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo28157.pdf
services. Retrieved December 02, 2011. From http://m.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf publications/fa_321.pdf
Please join StudyMode to read the full document