September 29, 2005
During emergency situations the fire rescue squad is asked to do a wide variety of physically demanding tasks. That's why local emergency workers are stepping up to the fitness challenge.
"Stress and over exertion is the number one killer of firefighters in the United States so this is our means to help address that problem here locally," said Chief Dan Eggleston, of the Albemarle County Fire Rescue.
$430,000 is what the department of homeland security granted some firefighters, rescue squad, and police officers in Albemarle County to improve their fitness. Twenty-one of them are spending this week at the ACAC Fitness Center and learning to become Peer Fitness Trainers.
"It's definitely an education that perhaps we're not taught at the training school originally," said Michael Pitt.
This 40 hour training consists of a lot of studying and a test. But, they're not only hitting the books, their hitting the cardio machines, too.
"We learn about strength training, learn about aerobic training, learn how to really deal with the particular special needs that people may have and how do we overcome that," explained Eggleston.
Which is something that these workers think takes brains and brawn. "It will help us physically and mentally. It's a holistic approach to wellness so this all goes hand in hand with the well-being of your mental state and your physical state," said Pitt.
Funds from the grant have also gone toward purchasing new exercise equipment for the every rescue squad and fire station in the county so they can continue to improve their fitness.
New exercise equipment has been added to the county office building on 5th street, which houses the county's rescue, fire, and police departments.