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Doylestown firefighters get new fitness center


Doylestown Fire Company No. 1 firefighters now have a state-of-the-art fitness center where they can work out and stay fit for the demands of their job, officials said, as they opened the gym last month.

Built at the fire company’s substation 79 in Doylestown Township, the gym has about 12 workout stations with free weights, a treadmill, an elliptical, stair climber, stationary bike and more.

“This facility will help ensure members are physically fit to carry out their duties,” a statement on the fire company’s Facebook page said.

While the gym will benefit the volunteer firefighters’ fitness, it’s also seen as a way of attracting new recruits and retaining those already in the fire department, said fire company officials. Attracting volunteer firefighters has posed a serious challenge for fire companies across the country, including Doylestown.

The fitness center and working out “keeps people together, it builds camaraderie,” said John Duke, a volunteer firefighter with Doylestown and a self-described “enthusiast of fitness.” Duke helped organize efforts to build the gym and select machines for it.

Having the gym, said Duke, meets the fire company’s fitness mission. “It will help reduce injuries, improve our performance on the job and increase the longevity of our careers.” And, he added, “Doylestown gets the benefit of that.”

An emphasis on fitness and the addition of gyms to fire stations is a growing trend. Pushing exercises, such as shoulder presses, are often emphasized, as firefighters and other first responders often have to push open doors and break through walls. On any given call, fire officials say, a firefighter will need to push, pull, lift and throw. The fitness training is paying off, with fewer firefighters and first responders experiencing injuries, according to an article in Men’s Health.

“A recent study in the journal Injury Prevention found that probationary firefighters and recruits led fewer injury claims as a result of basic fitness intervention, saving one department $33,000 in claims costs,” the article stated.

“The stronger they are, the harder they are to break,” the article quoted John Hofman, C.S.C.S.*D, director of tactical strength and conditioning at Southern California University Health System as saying. “If you want to reduce musculoskeletal injuries, get them strong.”

State Sen. Steve Sanatrsiero, D-10, helped secure an $80,000 grant to pay for the gym. State Rep. Tim Brennan, D-29, also attended the opening. Both men tried out the equipment.

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