Pflugerville Fire Department hires health and fitness coordinator

The number one cause of firefighter deaths - is cardiac arrest. The heat and heavy equipment take a toll on their bodies. The Pflugerville Fire Department has taken action to insure the city’s firefighters do not add to the statistic.

Under the blazing sun Pflugerville firefighters push their bodies. With the tools off their fire truck in their hands and sweat dripping off their foreheads, they prepare so that when they are summoned to a call they will make it back safely.

Cheering them on is new health and fitness coordinator Vanessa Frost. A few months ago she was training athletes at Southern Illinois University.

Now she designs work outs for the 100 firefighters. She visits every station three times a week.

"They have similar needs. They have to be strong. They have to be powerful. If they've got to break down a door they need to be strong and powerful to do that,” said Frost.

While Foster works to improve the physical fitness of the firefighters, they see her as a potential life-saver. The majority of on-duty deaths are caused by cardiac arrest.

A report on firefighter fatalities in the United States can be viewed here.

"When they're called to help the community, those are high stress situations. High stress, high heat,” said Frost. "If we take the time to do some good training on the forefront of things when they reach those situations, they're better prepared for the high stress, high heat in order to reduce risk of cardiac events."

"The ultimate goal is everyone go home the next day and she's helping with that,” said Firefighter Christopher Jones.

Firefighter Christopher Jones says his shoulders are feeling better and he doesn't feel quite as hot in his gear.

"It's helped me come a long way in my job performance,” said Jones.

Frost is noticing a difference in the men too.

"We work hard to build strong backs. What I notice a lot is posture changes. Whether it's during their work outs or coming off the truck which will benefit them in the long run,” said Frost.

"I think Vanessa working with us and her background is awesome,” said Jones.

"One day when I do need them, I want them to be able to come save me and be able to do their job the way they need to and the way that keeps them healthy in the long run,” said Frost.