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Wellness Program Fights Flab and Fires

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Push-ups are part of one firefighter's training regiment
FAYETTEVILLE — They lug around hoses, rescue people in need and battle fires thatthreaten lives. But many of our nation's firefighters are losing thefight of their life, one that threatens their own health. Fayetteville'sfirefighters are taking on that new fight in hopes of saving their ownlives.

Everyday firefighters face the potential for a heated battle. Fightingthe flames requires lots of skill and hard labor. But so does fitnesstraining.

Lietenant Russell Anderson is happy to sweat it out. He says fitnessprograms are good for everyone-- young people, old people and especially,for firemen.

Chief Alan Nobles hopes the training will optimize the firefighters'performance in the heat of the battle.

"They get involved with firefighting where they have to go fight fires,do rescues, hazardous materials incidents," Nobles says. "They have towork quickly under stressful situations, so they need to be in some kindof good shape."

Aerobic exercise may be even more important than enhancing physical strengthbecause more firefighters die from heart attacks than burns or smoke inhalation. It's one of the reasons Fayetteville's firefighters started anew battle to stay healthy.

Firefighter Don Tschida says working out is a good way for everyone to gettheir circulation flowing and cut down on heart attacks.

'If we're not in good health we go from zero seconds to full blast,"says Lieutenant Russell Anderson. "Your heart goes the same way fromsitting still to racing wide open.'

Firefighters say it's nice to know that improving their health is one battlethey can win together. Fayetteville firefighters have been on this newwellness plan since October. The plan includes teaching them how to cookhealthy. But it does allow them to splurge, and they are still allowed tosmoke.

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