PLAINFIELD – The Plainfield Fire Protection District is welcoming instructors from Toronto and New York City to lead a Peer Trainer Fitness program.
The district, along with the International Association of Fire Fighters Plainfield chapter and Paramedics Local 4560, is hosting the certification program, which is designed to help reduce time lost due to both on-the-job and off-duty illness and injury.
The peer fitness trainer program is part of the broader Wellness-Fitness Initiative, which was spearheaded by the IAFF in partnership with the International Association of Fire Chiefs. It was developed to address firefighter medical, behavioral health and fitness issues, according to a news release from the district.
Plainfield Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Jon Stratton said the fire chiefs association has pushed the program for years, but Plainfield Lt. Andy Scott asked whether it could be brought to Plainfield.
“By improving the health and well-being of our firefighters, the district can reduce occupational claims and costs while simultaneously improving the quality and longevity of a firefighter’s life,” Scott said.
The voluntary class was filled with about 30 firefighters from Plainfield and other districts. The district is thinking about hosting another one in the fall.
The five-day course uses the latest research on firefighter health and wellness, exercise science and the prevention of injuries to improve the effectiveness of firefighters in meeting the needs of the community, the news release stated.
Plainfield hasn’t done this peer trainer fitness program before, but the district has sent first responders to Indianapolis to become trainers for a different wellness program. Those individuals then trained different shifts within the district. Plainfield will have several of its own participating in this program.
“We can’t force anyone to exercise or participate, but we certainly encourage it,” Stratton said.
Firefighters who are certified as peer fitness trainers get to design and implement fitness programs, improve the wellness and fitness of their departments/districts and can assist in the physical training of recruits. The accredited exam is administered by the American Council on Exercise.