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Firefighters Develop Workout Plan In Wake Of Coworker's Heart Attack

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minneapolis fire squad is doing a unique workout to stay healthy. It was inspired by a health scare from one of their own.

Seeing Capt. Colm Black in action, it's clear he's in good shape to do his job. That's why an on-the-job health scare this fall caught him by surprise.

"I was taking my gear off, I felt a lot of pain in my back I thought I pulled a muscle in my back," Capt. Black said.

He was actually having a heart attack. He was rushed to Hennepin Healthcare where he got a stint in his heart within 90 minutes. Six weeks later, he was back on the job at Station 8 just outside downtown.

"It was a big shock to us. We always try to do the best we can to keep up on our health and fitness," said Geno Danielson with the Minneapolis Fire Department.

Capt. Black's coworkers decided to be proactive about health following the scare. Danielson created a workout program called Fire FITT, which stands for Firefighter Fitness Interval Targeted Training.

"It's really hard to replicate what we do in a fire at a gym," Danielson said.

The workouts run the firefighters between stations to get their hearts pumping – pushing and pulling tires and throwing sledgehammers.

Black says the hour-long workout has been great for recovery, but the biggest difference is bonding with his work family.

"It's just been a really good bonding experience. These guys are my brothers and my family. I love them to death and I love that they looked out for me like this," Black said.

Cardiac arrest accounts for more job-related deaths among firefighters than any other cause. Danielson hopes his workouts will catch on with other fire departments around the state.

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