LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—Heart attacks account for about half of fire fighters deaths this year.
UW-La Crosse worked with Onalaska fire fighters Friday to test their cardio fitness.
The fire fighters ran through a six minute agility course where they had to drag a 100 foot fire hose, set up a ladder, drag a dummy through at 14 foot tunnel, all things they may have to do every day on the job.
The course showed fire fighters how close they were to reaching their maximum cardio-respiratory workload, or VO2 max, during each task, so they know what to work on.
"Challenge themselves to try to improve each year," Troy Gudie, Assistant Fire Chief said. "That's pretty much the goal. And so we have fire fighters that are fit for duty for the City of Onalaska and our fire district."
The program doubled as an exercise for UW-La Crosse Physical Therapy students on how to test a persons cardio ability and help them improve.
Their study of the fire fighters VO2 max concluded fire fighters experience short bursts of near maximum exertion during job related situations they commonly encounter. They also found fire fighters would benefit from maintaining high levels of physical fitness throughout their career.
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