Support Your Denver Firefighters at Fit for Fire 5K Walk, Run

Talk with Denver Firefighters, carry ladders, try on firefighter gear, and get some exercise in Wash Park!Friends of the Denver Fire Department, the Denver Fire Fighters Burn Foundation, and the Denver Fire Department Wellness Program present the 6th annual Fit for Fire 5K walk, run, and kids’ Siren Scamper fun run on Sunday, October 11, at Wash Park, 1700 Louisiana Ave. After the walk/run, participants can experience firefighter training exercises such as dummy drags, ladder carry, stretching hose lines, and trying on firefighter gear. The Fire Truck Crepes food truck will sell snacks. Day-of registration opens at 8:00 a.m.The Siren Scamper kids’ fun run is at 8:45 a.m., and the 5K begins at 9:00 a.m. Strollers and pets are welcome. Parking is available at South High School. Register at www.FitForFire5k.com. Until Oct. 5, registration is $30 for adults and $25 for youth ages 12 and younger (t-shirt included). After Oct. 5, registration is $40 for all ages (t-shirt included). No charge for Kids’ Siren Scamper Fun Run.

This year, a portion of the event proceeds will be donated to the John P. Whelan III Memorial Fund in honor of Firefighter Engineer John Whelan, who died in July 2015 from injuries sustained while fighting a fire. Remaining proceeds support burn injury victims and wellness programs for Denver firefighters. The Friends of the Denver Fire Department foundation (www.fdfd.org) supports Denver’s Fire Department with direct resources and improves public safety by increasing public awareness of the Fire Department mission and services. The Denver Fire Fighters Burn Foundation (www.denverburnfoundation.org) is a firefighter-based non-profit organization that provides immediate assistance to citizens suffering after a fire and supports burn prevention and treatment and survivor support and recovery.The Denver Fire Department wellness program strives to improve the physical fitness, health and wellness of firefighters through enhanced education, research and training, leading to minimized injuries, enhanced job performance and an overall healthy lifestyle.

Why is fitness so important to firefighters? Firefighting is a physically and emotionally taxing job. Nationally, heart attacks are the leading cause of death for firefighters. The Denver Fire Department Total Wellness program focuses on cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and mental health.
Firefighters wear and carry 75-100 pounds of gear into a fire, and that does not include the weight of any people who need rescuing. A few examples: A hose – without water – weighs about 30 pounds. A helmet, boots, jacket, and pants weigh about 20 pounds. A breathing apparatus with air bottle, face piece, and air regulator weighs 30-35 pounds.

Denver Firefighters routinely respond to incidents in high-rise buildings 20 or more stories tall. The firefighters search every floor, climbing stairs instead of riding the elevator to avoid getting stuck in a mechanical malfunction or electrical fire.

Good physical conditioning and preventing injuries saves firefighters, the Denver Fire Department – and therefore the taxpayers – trauma, time, and money on rehabilitation and worker’s compensation costs. In 2013, the Denver Fire Department implemented an in-house physical therapy program that treats firefighters like professional athletes to help them avoid injury and rapidly return to work after an injury. Since the physical therapy program began, workers’ compensation costs have decreased even as claims have increased because firefighters are reporting and treating minor injuries sooner when they are less serious.

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