Valdosta Fire Dept. gets FEMA grant - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta Fire Dept. gets FEMA grant

Chief J. D. Rice Chief J. D. Rice

December 1, 2003

Valdosta - Firefighter training is stepping up a notch in one South Georgia town. The Valdosta Fire Department received a $35,000 grant that it's using to boost physical fitness and improve overall job performance. "It's going to enhance our endurance, improve our job performance, and we'll be able to handle the stress of being a firefighter better," said Chief J. D. Rice.

The department is using the grant to buy a fitness facility and equipment. Chief J.D. Rice says this is the most important requirement for a firefighter. "You're going from a dead standstill to full of adrenaline in a matter of seconds, and being physically fit improves your response time and the overall way we fight fires," said Rice.

When full of water, the firefighters' hose weighs almost 150 pounds. That's why its so important that they be physically fit to carry the heavy load. "You're lifting ladders, pulling hoses, wearing a suit that weighs about 65 pounds, and if you're not working out every day, you can't handle it," said Jon Yeargin, Firefighter.

Chief Rice says the improvement in job performance will be obvious. "Our citizens are going to appreciate what we do, because they'll see the direct result of us being physically fit," said Rice.

A result that could be the difference between life and death.

posted at 4:00PM by ashley.harper@walb.com