The statistics confirm that firefighters and police officers are more likely to die on the job from heart attacks than from work related injuries. This important statistic was the impetus for Northwell cardiologist Dr. Franklin Zimmerman to establish a partnership with Club Fit called the Chief’s Challenge that awards each year a $1,000 prize for the fire department and police department that exhibits a commitment to physical fitness.
Club Fit’s partnership with Dr. Zimmerman’s gives first responders a 50% discount on club dues and this year the Archville Fire Department’s commitment to physical fitness at Club Fit won the fire department the prize of $1,000. The volunteer Archville Fire Department serves the hamlet of Scarborough and the surrounding area, from the Hudson River to Pocantico Lake and from the edge of Briarcliff Manor to the edge of Sleepy Hollow.
The department decided to use the funds to begin yoga classes for its members and asked Deputy Chief Michael Baker who proposed the yoga classes to be responsible for the program. Deputy Chief Baker worked with Club Fit to find an instructor, purchased yoga mats and scheduled the classes. Yoga at the Archville Firehouse is now underway and the program is being enthusiastically received by the members.
The class instructor Kathryn Ward guides the class as a whole and gives individual instruction that has brought about comments like “I now better understand the simple complexity of my body and I leave the class with the goal of more total fitness”.
It is the hope of the Archville Fire Department, led by Chief Peter West, that their innovative commitment to firefighter fitness can be an idea other department will consider in striving for first responder total fitness.