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January 10, 2014

Edmond first responders share fitness tips

EDMOND — If you’re like the rest of us, you probably gained an unwanted pound or two during the holiday period.

Advice on how to burn off all those excess calories is as plentiful as those trips to the dinner table or trail mix bowl. Staying in shape is a necessity for police officers and firefighters, and some of Edmond’s finest offered insights into their fitness routines.

Edmond Fire Chief Jake Rhoades said today’s fire service is more demanding than ever — both mentally and physically. Firefighters put on bunker pants, a jacket, helmet, mask and self-contained breathing apparatus weighing combined about 65 pounds. On top of that, they might have to carry a 200-pound adult to safety.

Physical fitness is the foundation for a firefighter’s daily duties, and it’s critical that each of them are healthy during and after their careers, Rhoades said.

“The rate of cardiac and other health-related issues are at an all-time high not only in society but in the fire service as well,” Rhoades said.

Rhoades said the Edmond Fire Department lets members work out while on duty in the gyms at their stations. The past year, the agency partnered with the University of Central Oklahoma to provide wellness screenings including muscular endurance testing and bone density scans.

Many additional opportunities are being explored as the agency moves forward to ensure personnel have access and opportunities to stay healthy and fit, Rhoades said.

Police officers never know when they are going to have to pursue a suspect on foot, wrestle an uncooperative person to the ground or use a battering ram to enter a drug house.

Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said it’s important for officers to be physically fit to keep up with the demands of the profession.

“Beyond being able to keep up physically, we encourage our officers to work out as an outlet to relieve some of the stress that is associated with the job,” Monroe said.

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