The South Wales Fire & Rescue Service (SWFRS) works in partnership with other frontline services to protect communities and prevent risk across South Wales.
A firefighter needs to be an allrounder; fast, strong, flexible and with muscular endurance. In a typical shift, a firefighter may attend any numerous fires or accidents and needs to be able to react quickly and effectively.
Recognising the diverse range of ages and physical abilities within its ranks, in response to this, SWFRS pledged to ensure that their team had access to the best fitness equipment to ensure they were fighting fit for action at any given moment.
FACILITIES FOR FIREFIGHTER FITNESS
With fitness facilities across all of its workplaces, the SWFRS encourages and supports its team to be physically active regularly in order to benefit their own individual health and fitness, and improve the effectiveness and productivity as a group.
Having initially piloted three Wattbike’s across the organisation in 2017, SWFRS saw fantastic improvement in not only the health and fitness of the team, but also in their motivation. Due to this, there is now at least one Wattbike at each of the 50 workplaces across the region, which not only includes the Fire Stations but also the SWFRS Headquarters, Training Centre and Occupational Health Centre.
THE PERFECT TRAINING TOOL
Across each SWFRS location, the Wattbike’s are used for a wide range of training methods including fitness challenges, general health tests, sport-specific training as well as exercise classes.
Gareth Green, Senior Health & Fitness Advisor, SWFRS explains:
“We have a diverse workforce made up of operational, control and corporate staff so we needed an indoor bike that would suit a wide range of individuals and abilities. Wattbike was the perfect choice.”
“The bikes are robust yet moveable and the accurate data allows us to test, baseline and prescribe individual training plans. The Wattbike’s have helped us to improve performance, provide rehabilitation programmes and integrate into circuit or HIIT workouts. We have also taken them out on location to charity or fundraising events.”
THE FIREFIT TEST
The Wattbike FireFit Test was introduced after the Fire and Rescue services identified a need for a standardised test which would provide them with an indication of cardiovascular fitness levels of their service men and women.
Collaborating with Wattbike between 2017-19, the National Fire Chief’s Council and Wattibke scientists conducted extensive research and testing to determine the best way to test firefighter fitness. The FireFit test has standardised testing across all districts to determine cardiovascular fitness levels of all service staff.
This test is a major contributor towards maintaining fitness levels as many Firefighters carry injuries as their career progresses. This off-feet Wattbike test allows them to train and be evaluated without risk of further injury aggravation, ultimately turning them into fitter firefighters.
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