Nacogdoches firefighters are pumping the iron to build healthier, stronger bodies. Their health could be a huge factor in saving a life. It could be someone else's or even their own. Chief Keith Kiplinger noted, " The leading cause of firefighter fatalities is cardiovascular disease and so we're working hard to do our part to combat that. "
Every shift, members of a company work out together with a certified peer fitness trainer. They sweat now, so when the siren sounds they'll be fit when their help is needed. Firefighter Tony Cruz said, " If you're not conditioned, it will take a toil on you about half way through that fire. And about the time you start to get fatigued is when it starts to get hairy and somebody may need your help. "
Firefighters are all ages and sizes, so individualized training programs are established. Firefighter Chris Walker works a weight machine designed to strengthen his shoulders and chest. " It's going to help carrying hose or lifting yourself, lifting other people. It's just a physical job, " said Walker.
The wellness program is offered to all city employees. The goal is to reduce sick leave and worker's comp cases and replace it with increased productivity. Chief Kiplinger said, " It simply says where you are today, let's make a little bit better tomorrow. "
Getting firefighters and city employees to move it is costing taxpayers almost $48,000 a year. Employers want it to become a bargain through a reduction in health related expenses.