Frequent Questions and Concerns
How do I sell this to my management?
I know it can seem like a hard sell, but I’ve helped a lot of firefighters successfully convince their management to buy this program. The first step is to just send them the link to this page so they can watch the free class and learn how important it is to provide firefighters with wellness education like that in the Firefighter Wellness Training.
Then check in periodically because chiefs are busy and wellness isn’t usually at the top of their to-do list. Just because you don’t hear from them doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the program. Following up is often the difference between getting it or not getting it.
You also want to present the data about cost savings to them, because at the end of the day it’s a numbers game for many chiefs. Show them this research which proves that for fire departments, the return on investment for education-based wellness programs ranges from 5:1 to 12:1. So for every $1 invested, they will gain between $5 and $12 in savings.
Look into your insurance provider and see if they will fund all or part of this program.
Remind them that one teeny tiny back injury costs the department WAY more than the cost of this program. And this program is sure to prevent a back injury as there is a Back Injury Prevention Workshop showing pictures and video of real firefighters doing their jobs, with explanation of how to complete your job tasks in the safest way for your spine.
Another thing you can do is survey your members and show your management the data. I’ve had firefighters create a survey like the one below. You can see when you look at the survey that most people will probably respond “no” when asked if they know the answers to the questions concerning firefighter heart attack risk. Then the last question asks if they want a product like this one. If people answer “yes” to this question then you’ve created a powerful, non-biased way to show your management that this is both a needed and desired program. Survey monkey is free so you can make the survey yourself, or I can do it for you. I would send you this exact survey with your department’s name on it: https://www.
How do I implement this program in my department?
Every department is different so the great thing about this program is you can roll it out however works best for you. Here are some ideas and ways that departments are currently using it:
- You can have crews watch the classes together. They could simply do this when there’s down time or you could create a schedule such as at the beginning of each shift.
- You can have everybody watch the classes all together, just like they would come together to attend a class if I were there in person, but you show a video.
- You can instruct everybody to watch the classes on their own, but have a deadline for each class so you are sure that everybody is on the same page and learning/implementing the lessons all at the same time. After the deadline, firefighters can turn in the worksheets or you can go over the worksheets together.
- You can simply let everybody know about this as a resource. Research shows that when firefighters feel their management cares about their well-being (such as, when they provide resources like this), they have better morale. So this option would not be a waste, and may even be more effective than making things mandatory.
How do I ensure my firefighters will watch the classes?
There are worksheets for each class. Firefighters can turn in the worksheets or you can go over the worksheets together.
We have people of all different fitness levels in our department. How can this program reach all of them?
I totally understand that you’ve got people who really have a long way to go toward becoming healthy, and then you’ve got people who are super healthy and already feel like they know everything about it. I’ve catered my classes toward both of those people. For the less motivated, the classes are very practical and step-by-step. Each class ends with action steps that they can implement into their day immediately. I only give realistic, sustainable advice about improving your health because the reality is: small changes add up. For those who already know it all, I’ve made the classes extremely comprehensive. So even though I break things down into manageable chunks, there is A LOT of information and a guarantee that everyone will learn a lot. It will just make your fitness leaders even better.
How would I get my firefighters to buy into this?
1. I’ve had fire chiefs or members of the department’s fitness committee post this quiz around their stations to start a buzz.
2. It will be most effective to present a program like this as a resource that management is behind. Extensive research on this topic shows that in order for a wellness program to be successful, the program must be fully supported by the chief(s). Also, when firefighters feel their management cares about their well-being (such as, when they provide resources like this), they have better morale. Secondly, to maximize effectiveness, you should incentivize/reward people for participating. There are two free audio classes inside the program that explain more keys to getting buy-in, how to incentivize and mistakes to avoid.
Does this program include a meal plan?
No and that is on purpose – because a meal plan is the WORST way to lose weight!!! Once people get sick of following the plan, they gain the weight back – because they haven’t truly learned how to eat healthy in a way they enjoy. The only sustainable way to lose weight is to learn how to tweak what you currently eat to make it healthier, which is what I teach people to do.
We would rather have in-person classes.
I understand, and the price of this program reflects that. It would cost a great deal more to have me (or another health professional) teach 9 hours of material in person at your fire department.
Another downside to relying only on live classes is that people miss the class if they are not at work or out on a call. That is not the case for an online program. Members can access the program any time, anywhere, whenever works into their schedule. After working with fire departments for a while I realized that they all have SO MUCH training. So I created this as a way to make it easier for their members to get the valuable information they NEED to be healthier, happier and less injury prone.
Furthermore, while they may not get to watch my classes in person, any of your members are welcome to contact me with their questions. I answer every email.
How does this compare to the IAFF Peer Fitness Trainer Program?
This program is very different from the Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) program but they complement each other. The Peer Fitness Trainer program will teach 1 or a few of your firefighters the basics about exercise training. They will then be expected to pass on that knowledge by acting as personal trainers to your other members. There is no nutritional information provided.
In the Firefighter Wellness Training there is extensive information about nutrition, eating habits and weight loss, along with practical lessons for how to exercise correctly (what to do and what NOT to do), how to avoid having a heart attack, and how to minimize risk of injury and chronic back pain. The information is online for all your members to access, anywhere, at any time. If they have questions, they don’t need to ask one of their peers, they can ask me.
This program is likely less expensive than the Peer Fitness Trainer Program (depending on the number of people you send to the certification training).
If you already have certified Peer Fitness Trainers, they can get their required continuing education credits with the Firefighter Wellness Training program. After watching all the classes they can take an exam and earn .9 CECs which should be enough to keep their certification current for 2 years.