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Firefighter challenge promotes healthy choices

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By Susan Gwiasda, Public Relations Officer
City of Ames Bulletin Board

(Jan. 3, 2010) The Ames Fire Department and the Iowa Firefighters Union, Local 625, have joined forces with the Ames Community School District to promote healthy lifestyle choices to students.  Beginning in January, Ames firefighters will be visiting third grade elementary school physical education classes to share a message of healthy eating and emphasize the importance of exercise through the “AFD/Local 625 Healthy Kids, Bright Futures” campaign.

 “We know that firefighters are role models to elementary school children, and we want to use that influence by sharing information and motivating kids to get up and moving,” said Firefighter Doug Neys, who serves as IAFF Local 625 president.

By working with each school’s physical education teacher, firefighters will begin PE classes with a short presentation about healthy eating.  Then firefighters will perform warm-ups and calisthenics with the third graders.  After initial exercises are complete, the students will participate in a kid version of a "Firefighter Combat Challenge."

“We we will run the kids through a series of fun firefighter exercises that consist of rolling a section of hose, advancing a hoseline, dragging a dummy, and crawling through a tunnel to simulate staying low in smoke filled environment," said Firefighter Dustyn Turner.  “These are many of the techniques and exercises firefighters have to practice regularly.”                     

The program will begin at Fellows Elementary School, followed by Kate Mitchell Elementary School, and will continue through all the Ames third grade PE classes.
After students complete the challenge, they will receive a certificate as a junior firefighter for their efforts.

“Our message is getting kids excited about exercise and being active rather than opting for sedentary choices,” Turner said. “Additionally, we want these young students to understand the importance of eating right and making healthy choices.”

Ames firefighters actively work with the Ames Community School District promoting fire safety during Fire Prevention Month in October.  “The Healthy Kids, Bright Futures” campaign is another example of public education the Ames Fire Department brings to the Ames elementary schools.

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