Albany firefighter wellness program shows benefits

Albany firefighter wellness program shows benefits

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - City of Albany wellness nurses say the Albany Firefighter's health program is starting to pay good dividends. Officials say healthy firefighters makes the city safer, with lower medical costs for taxpayers.

Albany Fire Department Captain Clint Nobles walks as part of their required exercise program.

"I actually enjoy doing it. I think it's great for us. It gets us prepared for, you know it's a physical job," said Nobles.

You may think fire is the biggest danger or killer of firefighters, but nationally more firefighters die on the job from heart attacks than any cause. That's why Albany Firefighters have been required to work out two hours a day when they are on duty.

"Get their cardiovascular trained to going to that fast reaction when they get a call, we can have less injury, less heart problems," said Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief Rubin Jordan.

A little less than a year after starting a mandatory exercise program, the firefighters health statistics are improved.

"We've seen a great improvement in their numbers, as far as cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, weight," said Albany Wellness Clinic Nurse Practitioner Andrea Whiddon. "And I've also seen an improvement in their stress level."

Saturday, competing against teams from as far as Kentucky, the Albany Firefighters marathon team finished fourth in the Firefighters Bridge Run, running a 5K in full turnouts.

"After you do it for a while you can really start feeling it," said Nobles. "Just in general feel better all the time."

On a fire call, firefighters say stress is extreme, both mental and physical. They feel the health program will help them be better equipped to handle calls.

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