Becoming Firefighter Fit

This is the first installment of my brother Brian Edwards’ story, and he will be posting on the site on a regular basis. Brian is a career firefighter in Loudoun County, VA, and has been on the job 3 years now. Brian and I have become good friends due to his dedication to the job and his interest in fitness. Much like myself, Brian used to weigh over 300lbs. Through his ups and downs, Brian has been able to keep the weight off and now competes in fitness competitions all across the country. His story is not only unbelievable, but it also shows that you can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it. He has competed in too many fitness events to date to list, and I look forward to meeting him this year at the FDIC 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. Feel free to leave comments below and we are excited to see what Brian has to offer for The Model City Firefighter site.

Becoming Firefighter Fit by Brian Edwards

The fire service has always been part of my life and turned into a family tradition. Growing up in a family of dedicated volunteers, I was always at the firehouse with either my father or grandfather. In December 2002, at age 16, I joined the ranks of the Bayview Volunteer Fire Company. With FFI class starting in the winter of 2004, I realized I needed to make some changes in my life. I was well over 300lbs and my gear sizes consisted of 54 inch pants, a 58 inch turnout coat, and size 13 boots. I was a mess and looked weird with pieced together turnout gear.

I started to make lifestyle changes, and I was able to slim down to fit into a smaller set of gear for recruit school. Once that was complete, things started to spiral back out of control. I had obtained a job at a heavy duty truck repair business. I had resorted back to eating fast food and drinking lots of soda once again. These poor eating habits lead to gaining the weight I had lost back, and I had become unhappy once again. At this point in my life, I was tipping the scales at 357lbs. I wasn’t able to walk very much without becoming exhausted, let alone run. While working alone one night, I had been under the back half of a tractor cab making repairs when I got stuck between the two rear axles. I was stuck for quite some time and it was at that moment, I realized I had to make a change.

I started making small changes to my diet and was able to start dropping the pounds. This was also the time I began to apply for career fire departments. Fairfax County VA Fire was taking applications, and this was my first of many departments I would test for within the next three years. I had noticed they used the IAFF CPAT testing and knew I had to get through it to accomplish my goal. I worked hard in the gym and in conjunction with my diet, I was able to accomplish this goal by completing my first CPAT in just over 8 minutes time. This test is pass fail with a time limit of 10:20 seconds, but it was a personal goal to be better each time. I continued to test for every fire department in the DC Metro area, along with Myrtle Beach, SC Fire, several DOD departments, and Cherry Hill, NJ Fire. Every time I tested, I continued to improve my testing skills and physical agility times. My last CPAT time was 5 minutes and 22 seconds, almost half the time allotted. In March 2010, I received a call from Loudoun County Fire Rescue offering me a job…

The second installment of Brian’s story will be posted next Tuesday.