311 Help Desk
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City of harrisburg logo

{HARRISBURG} — You can’t help others if you don’t help yourself. That is the mantra for firefighters as HBG Fire and UPMC partner for a health and wellness camp this week.

The seasonal session, which is offered by UPMC to different shifts in the fire bureau, gives firefighters important reminders on ways to care for themselves. This is done through physical fitness, mental wellness, and food nutritional tips.

“[UPMC] has really become a powerful stakeholder with us in terms of having discussions on employee health and wellness,” said Deputy Fire Chief Floyd Wise. “Today, we have much more research which guides us in terms of the stresses physically and mentally on emergency service personnel, and this is a method for us to address some of those concerns so that we can educate.”

Firefighters in Station 2 located on 16th Street in Allison Hill took part in a 30-minute classroom discussion on the importance of physical fitness, followed by the next 30 minutes of stretching exercises and physical games. The firefighters split up into three teams, and ran relay races in the truck bay of the firehouse.

Among the physical activities each firefighter had to do included abdominal twists and high-knee crunches.

“We’ve reached all the firefighters here in Harrisburg through the four sessions,” said Maureen Zimmerman, Director of Corporate Wellness for UPMC. “[The firefighters are] excited. I think they enjoy the camaraderie and knowing that we care about them.”

After the physical activities and a cool-down stretching session, firefighters had the option to participate in a closed-door wellness screening before watching a UPMC Nutritional Chef show them how to prepare a healthy meal.

“We can’t help others if we can’t help ourselves first,” said Firefighter Robert Brackbill. “We aren’t always the type of people who ask for advice on physical fitness, and they’re bringing it to us and saying, ‘These are your options. These are your dietary recommendations.’ You get to learn about portion control and a balanced diet.”

HBG Fire and UPMC officials expect these health and wellness camps to continue throughout 2024, with the next round set to take place in the summer.