HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAAY) – Fifty percent of firefighters who die while on duty, die from heart attack or stroke. According to Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, many of these deaths could be prevented if there was a proper fitness program in place. Unfortunately many fire stations cannot afford fitness equipment.
Michael Sublett, Fire Chief of Huntsville Fire and Rescue, said Huntsville fire stations have had to sacrifice when it comes to fitness gear.
“As everyone knows in the last few years the economy has been very tough. We’ve had to really look at our budgets, cut back in a lot of areas, and one of the areas that we weren’t able to purchase as much as we wanted was some new exercise equipment,” Sublett said.
Thanks to a grant provided by Firemans Fund Insurance Company firefighters at Huntsville Fire Station 2 will have the chance to get and stay fit. The station has received $7,000 to pay for an elliptical trainer, weights, and mats, all critical to keeping firefighters in their best shape. Station 2 applied for the grant through J. Smith Lanier Insurance which partners with Fireman’s Fund.
“This is of course a historic area of Huntsville, and we do have older homes in this area and it’s a growing area. This is a very important fire station,” said J. Smith Lanier Insurance Managing Director, Fredrick Lanier
The new equipment has just recently arrived at Station 2 and Firefighter Jason King says it is already making a big difference.
“I think that it will keep us, just in better shape everybody is enjoying it and all the shifts are using it.You’ve got to have a lot of stamina when it comes to a fire. The older equipment we had, it really didn’t incorporate what we needed to get a whole body workout. Now this equipment allows us to do that,” King said.
Huntsville Fire Station 2 is the third station in Alabama to be selected for a Fireman’s Fund grant this year.