Fitness Training for Firefighting Professionals
The job of responding to emergency situations and fighting fires is one of the most physically demanding and dangerous professions. To help improve the performance, safety, and quality of life of firefighters, they’re required to better understand the relationship between physical fitness and improved job performance.
Firefighting is a career that requires you to be at the top of your game at all times. Concrete evidence indicates that there is a dire
ct correlation between endurance and strength in accomplishing the physical task of a fire fighter’s occupation and that a physically fit firefighter is twice as efficient in finishing a series of fire ground tasks as a less fit co-worker.
Although a firefighter may be physically fit and strong, other aspects go into the making of a healthy and well-rounded responded. So, not every Tom, Dick, and Harry is given a chance to serve as a firefighter. You must possess some important qualifications to become an effective firefighter. Of course, you have to undergo and pass the firefighting training. Other than that, you need to hold some personal qualities and physical attributes such as:
- Ability to learn and take orders
- A strong interest in promoting community safety
- Commitment to honesty
- Good communication skills to deal with injured victims,
- Courage and sound judgment
The firefighting service is starting to realize that a higher number of deaths and injuries result from preventable causes. The lack of physical activity associated with the increasing number of obese individuals is alarming. Fitness training is a necessity in the fire service if you want to maintain your health and longevity on the job.
Are You Fit To Be A Firefighter?
Firefighting is a rewarding but very dangerous occupation. Firefighters risk a lot to save a lot, and at times these results in fatal injuries. No matter how physically fit a firefighter may be at the time, not all injuries can be avoided. But just as athletes train hard to prepare for a game, firefighters can also work on preventing some of these fatal injuries by being as ready as possible to go to work at any given time.
Physical fitness is described as the overall physical condition of the body, which can range from injury or extreme illness at one end of the spectrum to peak condition for performance at the other. The key fitness components for firefighting are muscular strength, aerobic endurance, flexibility and muscular endurance. Ideal physical fitness for a firefighter translates to being able to carry out firefighting activities successfully and without fatigue.
Firefighters should participate in a routine exercise program to prepare for the physical demands of the job. One of the barriers to exercising while on duty is the lack of access to fitness equipment in the firefighter station. Firefighting equipment can be used in a regular exercise program to enhance functional performance and physical fitness.
Aerobic endurance is the ability to exercise for a long time at low to high intensity. This is also what limits your ability to continue to swim, cycle or run for more than a couple of minutes and is dependent on your body’s lungs, heart and blood to get the oxygen you breathe to the muscles providing you with the energy needed to maintain a lengthy exercise. Typical aerobic activities include jogging-running, aerobic dance exercise, stair climbing, skating, swimming, rope skipping, just to mention a few.
Muscular strength is described as the maximum force that your muscles exert. Firefighting tasks need strength and are much more strenuous and demanding compared to those of the average office worker. For a firefighter to give more than the average citizen, he must be physically strong to perform tasks like rescuing victims moving equipment, and advancing hose line much more easily.
Since muscular strength is also at the core of physical performance and skill, firefighters will be able to better handle themselves throughout fire duration as they take on heavy workloads if they choose to incorporate strength training into their regular workout routine. Adequate rest should be given to let the muscles to recuperate before performing further exercises. At least forty-eight hours rest should be allowed before repeating exercises.
Endurance training is one of the most important elements in firefighter health. Muscular endurance is synonymous with both muscular strength and aerobic endurance, but allows you to continue to push, carry, pull, and lift heavy objects for a long time without tiring. Muscular endurance is trained using controlled resistances over an extended period of activities, like circuit training.
Circuit training has been reported to be an appropriate training method as it places similar physiological demands on the body when compared to on-the-job firefighting tasks.
Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through their full range of motion. It is one of the most important components of firefighter physical fitness since it allows them to work in cramped positions without overly stressing the ligaments, muscles, and tendons. For instance, firefighters sometimes have to crawl through a small space or opening while searching the floor space for a casualty in a house fire. Flexibility is best developed using controlled and slow stretching exercises.
When you go for an interview as a firefighter applicant, recruiters will not only look for physical traits, strength, endurance, and flexibility; but also your personal qualities. These personal qualities are generally known as the Firefighter Personal Qualities and Attributes (PQAs).Your personality reflects your individual work ethics. It shows how much you love and value your job of helping other people in jeopardy. So, apart from the physical exam, you will be assessed based on your outlook in life and personal character traits.
A career as a firefighter is no joke since it requires dedication and full commitment to your work. You must be available anytime when emergency situations calls for duty. Saving people’s lives is a respectable and reputable job. Can you imagine life without firefighters to rescue in times of fires and accidents?