The year-round program, which is open to all employees, was designed to keep senior firefighters healthy enough to battle blazes.
"After 50 if you work out you are less likely to have a heart attack under the stress of a fire," said
Dalsing said the program rewards participants with points when they exercise, complete preventative health measures such as a physical, colonoscopy and a PSA test, which screens for prostate cancer. He said a colonoscopy is recommended every five years and a PSA test is recommended annually.
Participants earn points during each workout session. Participants can redeem items such as a free T-shirt and Leatherman tools with the points and have their name engraved onto a plaque.
According to the 2017 St. Joseph fiscal year budget, 13 firefighters participated in the challenge.
"Guys that might be a little sedentary on the job are getting involved ... They are more confident in their abilities to go in and throw on the 70 pounds of gear and go into a superheated environment," Dalsing said.
He said crew members exercise for about an hour during their shift at the station's on-site gym facility.
"It makes it so you're not having to do so much on your own time to stay in condition to fight a fire," Dalsing said.
Dalsing said the department can apply the fitness hours toward training hours when it is evaluated by the
Dalsing said he gravitates towards the treadmill and the main goal of the program is to keep staff active rather than weight loss.
"A lot of guys might still be a little bit heavy, but they are more active and are starting to see the benefits and once you get it started you hate to see it quit," Dalsing said.
He also said he believes the program has prolonged careers.
"I think it's a helpful program and I hope we keep it going," he said.
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