Fire fighters from Norwich, CT Local 892 and Melbourne, FL Local 1951 are embracing a cultural shift to healthy eating and staying physically fit. According to Melbourne Local 1961 President Jim Tolley, fire fighters at Station 74 are increasingly paying closer attention to the foods they cook and eat as part of an overall effort to stay fit and healthy.
When Tolley joined the fire service in 1980, fire fighters were eating large and paying for it with health problems.
“Everyone eats together,” he says. “We used to eat fried foods at every meal. Now, we rarely eat fried food; we cook low-fat meals and eat more whole grains and fresh vegetables.” Many of the recipes that the members of Local 1951 use come from the Fit to Survive web site. “The focus on eating healthy and staying physically fit is what helps us live longer, healthier lives,” says Tolley. .
In addition, Tolley says the new wellness approach has reduced health care costs and injuries, and encouraged new recruits to practice healthy habits right from the start.
Further north at Norwich Local 892, fire fighters take turns cooking healthier meals. Fire fighter Paul Tetreault, a master chef for his shift, says, “We eat well here.” The concept on eating healthy is catching on. Fire fighters alternate between healthy and not-so-healthy meals. “One day we’ll have stuffed chicken breasts, and the next we’ll have baked chicken with a salad,” says Tetreault.