Fire Company Provides Members A Way To Get Healthy

Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Company

COLCHESTER, VT -- The Colchester Fire Company is a mirror of its citizens.

The all-volunteer company is made up of men and women, ages 18 to 68, who call the city home.

However, unlike ordinary citizens, members of the fire company are held to higher physical fitness standards. When someone joins the company, they must undergo a physical examination. In addition, each year certified firefighters must go through an obstacle course to be interior certified.

"Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Company is revamping its Standard Operating Procedures to be within regulations of the NFPA's National Fire Codes," said Lt. Jennifer Benway with the Colchester Fire Company.

"We have numerous firefighters who have begun to use the equipment who has never worked out in a gym before," Benway said

The old procedure dictated new recruits undergo a physical when they joined the department. However, there were members who had not received physicals since 2001.

"We choose to ask for a wellness and fitness grant because we want to protect our firefighters to the best of our abilities," Benway said.

To help the firefighters stay in the best shape possible, AFG grants funds helped purchase gym equipment, which was put in the basement of the station. Gym equipment included a treadmill an elliptical, Star Trac Spinning Pro, a weight set, as well as rubber flooring.

"We have numerous firefighters who have begun to use the equipment who has never worked out in a gym before," Benway said.

The company was also able to provide full physicals and hepatitis series shots as well as flu vaccinations. In addition, the gym equipment is being used on a regular basis.

"We wanted to boast a more vigorous physical examination annually by every active member," Benway said. "To complete our Wellness and Fitness prevention program we want to ensure the best protection for our firefighters on and off scene, which is why we requested a Rad-57 Pulse CO-Oximetry to have on hand at all CO alarms."

Having a Pulse CO-Oximetry will help protect firefighters and provide them rapid medical attention more when exposed to toxins.

In October, firefighters responded to a large structure fire. One officer personally went around and checked each firefighter on scene both interior and exterior.

"With the use of the RAD-57 we found our pump operator was at a 15 for CO," Benway said. "Colchester Rescue called the hospital and was told to transport him immediately."

The department also recently used the detectors on all of firefighters at a CO incident at a local resident. All their levels were fine, but those who had a 5 were not allowed back into the structure even though we were using airpacks.

The Colchester Center Volunteer Fire Company serves approximately 17,000 people. This makes Colchester the second largest municipality in Vermont. The Company, with 50 active members, covers an area of approximately 28 square miles, including rural, suburban, industrial, military facilities, international airport and rail service. The Company responds to almost 700 calls a year.

The town has greater than 17,000 residences and the industrial/commercial base is made up of more than 400 companies. The Town of Colchester's population diversity shows that 16 percent of our population is under the age of 14 and 6.5 percent over the age of 65.

The Company also provides mutual aid to five other neighboring communities, which extends the coverage area to a population of more than 50,000 people.

What they bought:

  • 3 RAD-57 detectors
  • Equipment to furnish a gym in the basement of the department, which included, Landice L770 LTD Treadmill, Octane Pro Elliptical, Star Trac Spinning Pro, Tuff Stuff Smith, Tuff Stuff Flat Bench, Tuff Olympic Bar, Troy EZ Curl Bar, VTX Olympic Grip Plates, Powerblock Column Stand and blocks, Supermats Rubber Flooring and Installation
  • Full physicals and hepatitis series shots.
  • Flu shots for all members who wished to receive them
  • Update and increase our fire reporting software
Last updated February 11, 2021