Any firefighter must be fit for duty.
But Longboat Key firefighter/paramedics are taking that requirement to a whole new level.
According to Deputy Chief Sandi Drake, who manages Shift A, firefighter/paramedics could often be seen doing drills, such as dragging a large tire, behind the firehouses.
Recently, however, she ordered a set of DVDs featuring the high-intensity “Insanity” workout. About a month ago, she brought it in for her shift, and they began doing the workouts together.
“It’s a team-building thing,” Drake said. “You need to be physically fit to do our jobs.”
Since then, Drake said that many firefighters have noticed a difference in their physical fitness, which helps when they’re out on calls.
Two weeks ago, for example, Shift A responded to the house fire on Gulfside Drive. Firefighters had to pull down ceilings and pull out hose lines within about three minutes, meaning that the high-energy cardio exercises came in handy.
According to Drake, each shift does different workouts, which helps them not only when they’re out on calls, but also to save on insurance costs.
And firefighters aren’t the only town employees who are shaping up: At least 15 town employees have participated in walks over the Ringling Bridge and the Longboat Pass Bridge as part of a new employee wellness program that started last year.