Firefighter fitness

According to USFA, as of May 31, 2110 there were 31 LODDs. Of those, 17 were heart attack.

More than 54%.

More than half.

I guess that begs the question; Why?

I’ll spare you the firehouse routine. Here are the factors that USFA uses-Tobacco use, Weight, Inactivity, Diabetes, Family history, and High Blood pressure. And The age of 45 is the magic number for when heart attacks start to dominate firefighter deaths.

Think about what we expect from our bodies…wake up and run in the middle of the night. Over exertion almost every time we catch a job. And so forth. What are you doing for your heart health? What are you doing for your health

I’ll glaze over a couple things you can do.

The classic house tower run. Put on your gear, grab a roll of hose and do a few evolutions up and down. Don’t try to kill yourself until you have gotten used to doing the work. After you are spent do 1-2 more trips without all the extra weight.

Running, Jogging, biking, swimming, self explanatory. My personal favorite are the guys with big muscles but no capacity to do work.

The next is Crossfit. If you don’t have an affiliate in your area go to They have all the workouts listed and video demonstrations of them. I am a huge fan of this. The biggest problem is the price. But it is well worth it and you will see results.


Get a physical. Get all the pokes and prods that your insurance will cover (if you have it). You are pretty likely to get cancer, the earlier you detect it the better your odds of living.

Do something. Get off your butt and just do some activity. Something is better than nothing. Be Safe


  • Engine Captain Missouri says:

    a local gym got the Fire and Police memberships to the gym, in the next MOU the shop worked out that the City continue the memberships. We go while on duty for an hour or so, some of the real fitness gurus stay longer, it works out well. I’m over that 45 age with HX of bad stuff in my family, so I see the doc regularly, stress test and all that good stuff. I love my family and I love to go to fires! I plan on doing this for awhile. Be smart, be safe, and one day be that retired guy, who annoys all the younger kids on the job!

  • Tony B says:

    I, as most Americans, have poor eating habits and as I got older they started catching up to me . I ended up getting up to 270lbs, I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered how the he’ll this happend. I had enough and joined the gym and a buddy mentioned to me Cross Fit. I looked it up and it is pricy but my gym had a similar program for considerby less so I started going. I am now 30 lbs lighter, feel better on and off the fire grounds and although I have more to do I will be “fire ground fit” very soon.

    Unless you live in a cave you have had to realize what is killing FFs, ourselfs.

  • Nate Q. says:

    Not trying to undercut them, but Crossfit posts their workouts online daily, and most can be done with common and minimal gym equipment. Other unique systems are kettlebells and TRX. All require minimal equipment, but can give you the workout of your life. The benefit to these types of exercises is that they’re functional movements, similar to things we do everyday on the job. We’ve been having great success on our crew with making our own workouts mixing the above. It definitely helps keep it fresh.

    Like the post said…as long as you’re doing something.

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at

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