Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Physical Training is very important to Zion Helitack. I know that a lot of Helitack crews have deservingly gained the recognition as being lazy, or unmotivated when it comes to fighting fire. Jokes such as the L.C.E.S. (locate cooler establish shade) run rampant in the industry. Frankly, that is not Zion Helitack... We pride ourselves in doing what we do best... Initial Attack! Although Zion Helitack is hosted by Zion National Park, we work in the Color Country area which is most of the SouthWest section of Utah. We fight fires at elevations of 1600' up to 10,000' and we can go from one extreme to the other in a single day of fighting fire...
That is why P.T. is so important. We have to prepare our bodies for the stress that will be demanded of it when the fire bell rings... and more often than not, we will go from sitting around the base, to demanding full performance of our bodies without the ability to warm up to the task.
We do our best on the crew to make P.T. something enjoyable. Most P.T.'s over the past several years are individually based. On occasion (and fastly becoming more popular and frequent) the management will put together special P.T. day's that test skills and teamwork. These P.T. give us a shot at trying out our management skills, orienteering, problem solving, and all around competative teamwork.
The begining of the season finds us doing at least 2 P.T.'s a day. This is in preparation for the season, prior to the helicopter arriving. Once the helicopter is at the base and we are available, then we are given a little over an hour each morning to P.T. Although the first month is grueling at times, it truely prepares us for the season. We run or hike the C-Trail at least once a week (early on). This is tough... an 8 mile round trip to the "C" that sits prominately on Cedar Mountain a little over 2,000 feet above us. In the beginning this is tough, but most crewmembers look at it as a challenge and something different from the typical Golds Gym or Crew Run... We also do pack hikes up the powerline trail... it also rises approximately 2,000 feet, however it is straight up! This hike is a little tougher than the C-Trail and not done as often (thank heavens).
Although not my favorite part of being on the crew, I do look forward to the P.T.'s we engage in. I can't wait for the 2008 season to start. There are a lot of new and interesting P.T.'s planned...
Posted by M.L.