LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Wednesday, the Lexington Fire Department (LFD) began hosting a three-day human performance workshop led by O2X Human Performance.

This federally funded opportunity for LFD members will help firefighters learn about nutrition, injury risk reduction, sleep, stress management and resilience.

“I don’t think there’s a member of this department that wouldn’t benefit from this in some way, said Captain Kevin Deweese of the Lexington Fire Training Academy.

The workshop targets the specific needs of firefighters, offering tangible methods for everything from sleep habits to stress.

“We had an hour-long session of relaxation and yoga-type methods to help with stressful times, breathing techniques, things like that,” explained Deweese.

Of LFD’s 600+ personnel, around 300 were able to participate in the workshop. Considering the weight of the job, Deweese hopes the rest will eventually be able to complete the training.

“It's a physical job, absolutely. The physical demands vary day to day, and you never know what to expect or what you'll be hit with, so you really have to be ready to perform,” said Deweese.

According to the 2022 annual report, LFD responded to 392 structure fires, 168 vehicle fires, and another 785 uncategorized fires.

In those fires, data shows six people died and another 34 were injured.

In all, LFD and EMS received 66,448 calls for service in 2022.

Over a years-long career, the physical and mental stress of emergency response compounds.

“Unfortunately, the leading killers for firefighters right now are cancer, heart disease, and suicide,” said Deweese. “We have to do a better job of taking care of each other and taking care of ourselves.”

Through the workshop, Lexington firefighters are making strides in self-care.

“It's very full circle. It's not just one piece, it's all the pieces,” said Joshua Simpson, LFD firefighter. “The thing that they say is ‘Get 1% better,’ so if you get 1% better at a bunch of little things, it makes a huge impact.”

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