Firefighters teaching middle school students physical fitness

By  | 

NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - Middle school students in Neenah are learning about what it takes to be a firefighter, but the drills are more than just a lesson in physical fitness.

Students at Shattuck Middle School in Neenah carry firehoses up stairs (WBAY photo)

Shattuck Middle School gym classes are a little different this week. In addition to promoting health and physical fitness, the 7th and8th graders are getting a hands-on lesson about the physical demands firefighters face.

"I just can't believe how much they have to carry. They might have to carry the hose and stuff, plus drag a body or something, so that would be heavy," says 7th grader Owen Young.

Firefighters from Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue are running the students through some drill they do as they train for their jobs, from simulating a victim rescue, to climbing stairs with a weighted vest while carrying a fire hose, even learning hands-only CPR.

"It was a really fun activity so we can learn how to, like if our family member is having issues, we can help them and know ways to deal with it," says Riley Buchanan, an 8th grader.

The activities are getting students moving in a different kind of way.

Asst. Chief Jim Peglow says, "The NFL does Play 60. We don't have any cool catchy phrase like that, but it's just good to get the kids out and realizing that different jobs require different physical fitness and no matter what, fitness is a great thing."

While the focus of the drills that the kids went through was physical fitness, with a third of the staff at Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue expected to retire in the next seven years, this was also a recruitment event.

Peglow adds, "It just takes one half day, one day that you're in a classroom. They see a whole bunch of firefighters, this is something cool, I enjoy the work, I enjoy being physically fit, and maybe that spurs them along."

Even though it was only about a 30-minute exercise, it definitely left an impression on these teens.

Seventh grader Kylie Dietzestoegbauer adds, "This is really fun because you know the point of view of what they're dealing with and I want to do this more often because it's pretty cool."