Physical Fitness Intervention for New Firefighters

Posted: June 29, 2017

Firefighting is a hazardous profession and firefighters suffer workplace injury at a higher rate than most U.S. workers. Decreased physical fitness is associated with injuries to firefighters.

fitness training with ropes

In an effort to decrease injuries and compensation claims/costs, the Tucson Fire Department piloted a Probationary Firefighter Fitness (PFF-Fit) program in 2012-2013 during the recruit academy and over the probationary year.

Key elements of the Tucson program

  • Peer Fitness Trainers (PFTs) certified by the American Council of Exercise conducted the training sessions.
  • Training was performed three days per week during the recruit academy and included strength, cardio and flexibility.
  • Activities similar to emergency response tasks, such as hose pulling and axe swings, were included.
  • Recruits also worked with PFTs for in-station, phone or email exercise and nutrition consultations in the probationary year.

The fire service would benefit from better data collection and recordkeeping at the department and individual levels, including the integration of data systems for occupational injury, workers’ compensation claims, and measures of fitness and health.
— Stephanie Griffin, PhD, University of Arizona

Research takeaways

A research team evaluated the effectiveness of the Tucson program and here’s what they found:

Griffin, S. C., Regan, T. L., Harber, P., Lutz, E. A., Hu, C., Peate, W. F., & Burgess, J. L. (2015). Evaluation of a fitness intervention for new firefighters: injury reduction and economic benefits. Injury Prevention, 22(3), 181-188. doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041785

Learn more about this research

Full text of this research article is available at BMJ Journals.

See also: Firefighter health, wellness and fitness: Wellness/Fitness Initiative

This summary is for informational purposes only. More +
As such, the content does not reflect any official positions, policies, or guidelines on behalf of the sender, the U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA, DHS, nor any other federal agencies, departments or contracting entities. Similarly, this summary does not represent in any manner an official endorsement or relationship to any private or public companies, organizations/associations, or any authors or individuals cited or websites associated within the article.

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