South Metro Fire Rescue Wellness Program
Keeping our crew well, every step of the way.
Historically South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) required an Incumbent Physical Ability Test (IPAT) for all line personnel. The IPAT is performed in full PPE and SCBA as a fit for duty test. On May 14, 2012 a 41-year old SMFR firefighter experienced cardiac arrest after returning to the station following the completion of the IPAT. The firefighter was defibrillated 18 times and had CPR performed for over an hour. The firefighter survived the event after treatment for a blood clot in his Left Anterior Coronary Artery. The physician diagnosis included suspected dehydration in combination of exertion and existing plaque.
Shortly after this event, a 47-year old SMFR Captain experienced dizziness and complications related to his hypertension after completing the IPAT and was treated at an Emergency Room. A third SMFR employee, a 47- year old Lieutenant completed the IPAT and experienced chest pain on his way home from duty. He was diagnosed with a myocardial infarction and treated with angioplasty in a cardiac catheterization lab.
Following these three incidents, SMFR Command Staff suspended the IPAT test until further notice. SMFR recognized the need for alternative fit for duty testing and health assessments for their line personnel. SMFR acknowledged these three “near miss” incidents and the inherent health risks through previously documented research studies relating increased cardiovascular risk and structural firefighters.
This also came during a time where there was a department dissatisfaction with the worker’s compensation process. Injured personnel were waiting weeks to months to get scheduled for injury imaging followed by delayed specialist assessment which stalled treatment plans and ultimately prolonged return to duty timelines. This not only created employee frustration, but extended lost time, generating increased back fill costs and increased worker’s compensation claim costs. Through the establishment of a wellness program, SMFR sought an opportunity to establish a means to assess firefighter fit for duty testing which includes understanding the demand on the cardiovascular system and the inability to dissipate heat while wearing structural firefighting PPE. The desire was to create a wellness program that would not only lead to a more comprehensive program to establish firefighter fitness for duty while reducing the risk of myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accidents during testing, but also streamline the worker’s compensation process and how the department cared for injured workers. SMFR expected this program would lead to more specific functional firefighting fitness, decrease injury timelines and lead to a reduced risk of injury, illness or death on the fire ground.
Current Health & Wellness Director, Chris Macklin was an Engineer and was serving as an Executive of IAFF Local 2164 in 2012. He participated in labor conversations with management to institute a Wellness Program in light of events that occurred during the IPAT. In the Fall of 2013, he was placed in an administrative assignment to hire SMFR’s first Wellness employee and create the foundation for our medical, physical and behavioral health programs. We began as a one employee shop and today are a staff of 12 taking care of 750 SMFR employees.
Our wellness program provides first-class health and wellness resources and services to all of our nearly 800 employees. We focus on the following wellness categories.
Strength & Conditioning
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SMFR Candidate Fitness Program
Candidates applying for SMFR positions are welcome to utilize the following 8-week fitness program to help prepare them for the fitness assessment...
Contact SMFR Wellness
If you have questions about our wellness program, comments or simply need to speak with somebody in wellness, please use the form on this page. We will reach back out as soon as possible.
If you are a SMFR employee, please log in here to contact Wellness.