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Client Spotlight: Kim Batchelor, Sold on Fitness

Battalion Chief Kim Batchelor knew he was going to be a firefighter from the time he was ten years old. “Maybe that is because I thought the trucks were cool,” recalls this Marion County Fire District (MFD) firefighter (Salem, Oregon). Now after six years as a firefighter in the Air Force and 25 years at MFD, it is still “cool” to be a firefighter. “I like being a public servant, helping people, and running calls,” states Batchelor.

So how does a 52 year old stay fit enough to handle the demands of shift work – and enjoy it? Maintaining his fitness plays a critical role for Batchelor. Kim does some type of exercise every day. He walks or does yoga every day off with his wife. Batchelor rides his bike to work most days, goes dirt biking for entertainment, and does push-ups or climbs a ladder on off days. “I like to do workouts that do not require special equipment.”

Fitness is not the only benefit of exercise. Batchelor likes the camaraderie that is developed when his shift works out together. “Working out together with mild competition has been enjoyable. It brings us together with a common goal,” claims Batchelor. Batchelor makes sure his shift works out together whenever possible. They often set up a circuit of activities that they rotate through – sometimes incorporating firefighting specific skills (e.g. packing a hose, raising a weight up a tower, or performing a “forced entry” move) into their circuit. “The whole team starts thinking about what kind of stations to add,” comments Batchelor. “The shift workouts have made working out fun for the people who don’t normally do it.”

According to Batchelor, most people do not workout naturally – “there is no drive at birth to workout.” Being a firefighter provides the motivation for many to stay fit – but what about those who lack the motivation? “The administration has the responsibility to make fitness time available for those who are not self-motivated. They (administration) may not have the money to put toward it, but they need to set the boundaries and make it (time) available,” theorizes Batchelor.

Any other reasons to stay fit as a firefighter? Plenty of reasons according to Batchelor. “If people would just exercise long enough for it to become a habit, they would see the benefits in their psychology, energy, and with less sickness.” Battalion Chief Bachelor continues, “Because I workout with my shift, I have a better feel of their fitness level which helps me know what they are going to be able to handle on a call.”

Kim Batchelor is a leader by example, words, and actions. When strong leaders lead – people follow. Kim Batchelor is living proof.

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