AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - From wildfires to building fires, rescues and more, firefighters in the Panhandle are physically working very hard.
"Based on the fact that 40-50 percent of firefighter deaths nationwide, overexertion is their classification," said Randy Johnson, owner and creator of FireFit.
That led Johnson, an Amarillo firefighter, to create the FireFit firefighter fitness trainer, helping firefighters train to keep up with the physical demands of the job.
"I thought there's got to be an easier way to mimic all the tasks that we do besides filling up a truck room full of tractor tires and sledgehammer strikes and things like that," said Johnson.
The device provides a variety of training exercises like hose dragging and a door breach simulator.
"When you're dragging it, it can help out with speed, stamina, cardio, most importantly strength," said Ty Rannels, a personal trainer who works with the FireFit device. "It's a really good machine and it's helped me a lot."
While some area fire departments like Randall County, Canyon and Dalhart already train with this, Johnson is branching out to other Panhandle fire departments, as well as ones out of the area in Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Colorado and more.
They've even based a device at Amarillo's Gold's Gym so the public can experience the firefighters' workouts, first-hand.
"Go through the same workouts the firefighters do and everything in the boot camp," said Johnson. "It will be an hour long. Everything will be based on movements that firefighters do."
Even with the possibility to provide a unique exercise to the public too, the wellbeing of firefighters is top of mind for Johnson.
"In Colorado Springs and Emmitsburg, those are both fallen firefighter memorials," said Johnson. "That was kind of my goal was to get less guys put on those walls every year and if I can get one guy that didn't get put on the wall, then the whole thing was worth it to me."
Johnson also notes that firefighters using the device have reached out, saying they're not as fatigued at the end of a call, marking a success on multiple ends.