The physically challenging duty of Firefighters, Paramedics and EMTs necessitates the stamina and strength of an industrial athlete. Firefighters must be able to lift and raise ladders to rescue victims, pull heavy fire hoses to extinguish flames, and push stretchers carrying critically ill or injured patients. Paramedics and EMTs often carry cumbersome lifesaving medical equipment and move patients who are unable to walk for themselves.
Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services (PFRES) recognizes the need for members to maintain peak physical fitness to ensure that the needs of the community are met, to mitigate the risk of First Responder injury or death, and to aid in the personal health of our members.The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that 43% of Firefighter Line-of-Duty Deaths (LODD) were due to cardiac related events from 2007 to 2017. The NFPA also determined that 52.7% of major injuries received while working on fire scenes and 58.0% injuries not sustained on a fire scene were due to strains, sprains, and muscular pain. Remaining physically fit helps to curtail some of the most common types of LODDs and injuries.
Peer Fitness Trainers & gyms
All Portsmouth Fire Stations contain gyms equipped with cardiovascular and strength training equipment. In addition, PFRES has partnered with the International Association of Firefighters' Wellness-Fitness Initiative to train a team of Peer Fitness Trainers. These American Council on Exercise certified Peer Fitness Trainers assist employees with job specific exercise routines and nutrition while nurturing a culture of physical health and wellness. As an additional benefit, the City of Portsmouth has partnered with the YMCA and Onelife Fitness to offer discounted membership rates for employees and their families.
Every year, Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services provides NFPA 1582 compliant physicals for all Firefighters. Fire scenes, Personal Protective Equipment, and physically demanding work expose Firefighters to extreme bodily stress. Medical physicals are paramount in early detection of serious medical conditions and to monitor the overall health of every member.