The program, "LAFD FIT (Firefighters In Training)" was developed at no cost to the city, said CSUN kinesiology professor Steven Loy, who will head the program through his other role as wellness coordinator for the city Fire Department.
"We believe this model of two public institutions working together and sharing resources to this extent is unique and remarkable," Loy said. "The projects completed in a short time have been significant and valuable."
In their work, CSUN faculty and students designed muscular strength and endurance exercises specific to firefighting, flexibility activities to prevent lower back injuries, and a cardiovascular exercise program aimed at enhancing firefighters' physical performance. CSUN faculty and students also created an exercise training video for the LAFD and designed a wellness program for LAFD civilian employees.
"This unique partnership with the LAFD is a perfect example of the university's commitment to becoming involved in all segments of the community," said CSUN President Jolene Koester. "Since I arrived on campus, I have been amazed at how integral a role CSUN plays in the surrounding community."
Fifteen graduate kinesiology students at CSUN have been involved in developing the program and will receive their master's of science degrees through completing thesis projects in connection with the LAFD project.
During the news conference Thursday, September 21 at Fire Station 70 in Northridge, LAFD officials presented the CSUN students and nine participating CSUN faculty members with certificates of appreciation for their efforts.
Also participating in the event were President Koester, Fire Commission President David Fleming, city Fire Chief William Bamattre, a deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson and Shannon Beatty, a wellness specialist with Washington Mutual Bank and one of the CSUN students who helped develop the program.
Battalion Chief Richard Kampff, who heads the LAFD wellness effort, said even after only a few months, fire department personnel who participated in the initial pilot project were healthier and more fit. "It's incredible. There's such a positive change. This is such a marvelous sharing of public resources," he said.
The fitness program is now ready for the entire Fire Department. CSUN and LAFD officials said they hope to expand the program within the LAFD, as well as possibly to other Los Angeles city departments and even to the public. Kampff said the LAFD intends to distribute to the public the CSUN-developed material on wellness and exercise techniques.
"The intent of establishing this winning connection was to maximize the benefits of the CSUN-LAFD relationship by creating programs that would not only serve the members of the LAFD, but also the 3.5 million people the LAFD serves," Loy said.
He said the CSUN wellness model also can easily be applied to the public-private sector and can be duplicated for various community institutions.
"In a time when there is a great competition for resources, it is important to maximize what we have," Loy said. "The potential of involving other university departments and their faculty and students is significant and, as this winning connection demonstrates, is very possible."
The CSUN faculty participating in the program included Loy, Kinesiology Department colleagues Nicolas Breit, Alice McLaine, Jennifer Romack, William Whiting, Colleen Wilbur and Ben Yaspelkis, along with Vicki Ebin and Louis Rubino from the Health Sciences Department.
The participating CSUN students were Patrice Andrews, Anna Arcebal, Steven Arimoto, Erin Barnes, Shannon Beatty, Chad Clouser, Richard Constantino, Nancy Epping, Brian Lowe, Jay McArthur, Steve Moreno, Anh Nguyen, Mike Seril, Alberto Vallejo and Petja Waider.