CLAYTON — The Thousand Island Emergency Rescue Service is gathering equipment to build a fitness center for its first responders to maintain physical and mental wellness.

Pamela Jones, a paramedic and TIERS outreach coordinator, said the gyms closing posed something of a problem for first responders. It countered their mission of responding to every call with the highest level of wellness they can.

So, for the 10 to 15 staff members there, she decided to start building a fitness center with an instructor on a tight budget.

“It’s not like it was ‘Here’s 4,000 dollars go knock yourself out,’” Ms. Jones said. “Right now we can spare $300.”

She used the $300 mostly to buy workout mats, contributing some of her own money to have enough for the purchases. The service had a few pieces of equipment already and some donated others they weren’t using. Now they have two stationary bikes and a treadmill. They’re hoping to round-up more money to buy a squat rack and free weights.

The idea is to stay active — even if it’s low-impact training — and still be prepared to respond to a call. Ms. Jones said she’ll use the treadmill in her uniform.

“Our goal is to lead by example and show our beautiful community the importance of staying healthy.”

“Injury rates among first responders are very high,” the service wrote in a Facebook post. “Often they go into areas that are challenging physically and emotionally. Taking time to eat right, physically condition ourselves, and relieve stress improves the quality of service we can bring to you.”

TIERS is still looking for TRX suspension trainers, a trap bar, olympic weights, kettlebells, a 45-pound barbell, barbell collars, yoga mats, dumbells, exercise bands, medicine balls and a jump rope. Those who would like to contribute can call 315-686-4333.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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