What is G2G?
The Good to Go (G2G) Initiative is a one-day educational experience targeted to firefighters using didactic (video and PowerPoint presentations) and hands-on manipulation with an objective of increasing awareness of the importance of physical fitness as a construct for work hardening and lifestyle changes. The “engine” of G2G is the set of criterion tasks (basic engine company operations) that were identified as the Essential Functions by the Fire Training Officers sub committee from the Washington Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (COG)- the same tasks as employed in the Firefighter Combat Challenge.
Why the Need for G2G?
Firefighting is one of the few occupations that still depends upon the physical prowess of the workforce. Be they career or volunteer, it matters not; the equipment worn and carried is heavy and people are weighing more than ever before. Until we have robots that can gain entry, conduct searches in hazardous environments and rescue people, brave men and women will go in harm’s way. Unfortunately, they may not have the underlying capacity to perform at red line.
The Firefighter Combat Challenge is approaching 25 years, and awareness of the need to take a proactive approach on physical fitness within the fire service has never been better.
Fielding physically capable people who will put themselves into first responder billets is one of the most challenging tasks today. Despite everything that we know about heart disease, risk factors and personnel fitness, the American fire service continues to lag behind the state of knowledge. Year after year, we continue to lose up to 60% of our line of duty deaths (LODD) due to cardiovascular events.
Everyone Goes Home
One of the 16 initiatives of the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation (NFFF) is to address physical fitness. Unfortunately this sweeping expectation is absent objective criteria, as in “how fit?” And, “how do I get fit?” While the “Everyone Goes Home” moniker sounds like an impressive objective, unfortunately, a lot of these people are accidents going someplace to happen.
Enter the sponsored Good To Go (G2G) Initiative
Rather than simply lending lip service to the need, the sponsors, through the collaborative assistance of the First Responder Institute and the Firefighter Combat Challenge have created a clinic and hands-on training, the purpose of which is to provide a springboard for launching a personal fitness program.
The G2G Format
A POI (program of instruction) has been beta tested and is included herein by reference in Table 1. Used successfully in Seattle and Massachusetts, this program has all the makings of an instant sensation. Coupling didactic classroom instruction, videos and manipulative activities on the drill tower, attendees will gain an whole new perspective, never before possible.
Based upon empirical research published in peer-reviewed journals, the Criterion Tasks have been derived from a job-task analysis (JTA) and include climbing under load, hoisting, forcible entry, attack line advancement and victim rescue. Applied physiological research conducted at the Sports Medicine Center of the School of Public Health of the University of Maryland identified the specific constructs of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism to successfully carry out these essential functions. Additionally, the ergonomics and biomechanics of work hardening have been incorporated into the Work Performance Evaluation (WPE).
First Responder Institute, a 501 C-3 corporation provides the management, administration, research, development and program coordination. The FRI website will facilitate scheduling as well as registration. Additionally, FRI will handle order fulfillment for G2G merchandise such as tee shirts, challenge coins, certificates of completion, patches, pins and stickers.
G2G Centers of Excellence
Presently, 60 geographic locations have been nominated for invitations. The basis for eligibility stems from Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge teams that have already assembled the equipment, props and layout of the standardized WPE course. FRI will certify the venues through the solicitation of on-line applications as well as a competency evaluation associated with the 22nd World Challenge, October 22-27 in Las Vegas.
The G2G Brand
By developing the POI, including the PowerPoint and Video, as well as the instructions for conducting the hands on training, we can be assured that all attendees will share a common experience. Since all the coaches have extensive experience in training for the FCC, as well as having competed, we then know that 1) their prestige as an accomplished athlete has been established and 2) the attention to the consistency and objectivity of the WPE will be assured.
Budget and Investment
No program of this magnitude can be expected to run on an empty tank. The benefits in the instant case are enormous. First, to outfit a Center of Excellence, the host will have expended upwards of $4,000. Rest assured that the team members have meticulously designed their practice course to accurately reflect the standard. This is evidenced by narratives with Challenge competitors who can translate step-by-step their replication to the official Challenge standard course. Said another way, we have an installed base of support that may number into the hundreds.
The Business Model
Business models will vary region-to-region to accommodate local interests and G2G program managers. G2G Tuition will be minimized in order to avoid being a barrier to participation, with benefits accruing to the local G2G programs.
The Target Audience
It has been estimated that over the span of the last 22 years, more than 60,000 firefighters have participated in the Firefighter Combat Challenge, as competitors or course helpers. The unprompted brand recognition of the Firefighter Combat Challenge is virtually 100% within the fire market. This program is not directed to this audience, but the vast numbers of firefighters who need a gentle nudge to explore their current level of fitness. The G2G program takes place off the radar, not in front of large cheering crowds, but in the more subdued environment of the training academy. Thousands of firefighters would like an answer to the question, What does it feel like to go through the Firefighter Combat Challenge- without attempting to see how fast I can do it? but rather, “just do it.”
G2G is Open to Everyone and Scalable
As with running a marathon, you start by running one mile and then “crawl-walk-run“ to increasing levels of challenge. The G2G will encourage Combat Challenge newcomers to compete on a team – taking one or two of the five legs – all the while, competing with their teammates for bragging rights as ‘best team in the county, region, and then state.’ As strength and training takes hold, they graduate to two member teams called “Tandems” and finally, running the whole course on their own as in the ‘Individuals’ class. As we capture more and more aficionados, we will build out video testimonials that we will post on our website.
There has never been a better time to roll out the G2G initiative. With travel budgets drastically reduced, being able to get a taste of the Challenge close to home makes sense. The ability to conduct 20 or even 50+ events in the hinterlands of the country is not a feasible prospect without funding. Subsequently, a network of convenient locations, staffed by Challenge experts provides an incubator for all of those firefighters who wanted to play, but for the reasons stated above, could or would not do so.
What’s in it for our sponsors?
• Sponsorship is the only form of marketing that is mutually beneficial to the business community and to the local and global communities of their consumers.
• Great branding opportunities, and more exposure for companies long associated with quality.
• Companies will be perceived as “giving something back” – a vital and essential contribution to the safety and well being of the very people who use their products.
• Quickly distinguish themselves from the also-rans by putting its money where it’s figurative mouth is: firefighter fitness and safety- not an abstract concept, but a vibrant, objective, essential dimension with benefits to the heroes who go daily to in harm’s way.
• On•Target and sponsors share joint brand equities; the experience of the sponsoring companies, 22 years for the Firefighter Combat Challenge- together this establishes a broader awareness and promotion of the brands- i.e., 1 + 1 = 3.
• An opportunity to hit the market immediately with a well thought out campaign versus a long development horizon.
Promotion and Metrics
The G2G Initiative will be promoted through media advisories and articles in all of the major trade magazines. Additionally, we will create a buzz through a physical presence in the sponsor's booth at major tradeshows. As we have demonstrated our ability to achieve a virtual 100% brand recognition with the Firefighter Combat Challenge, we will likewise accomplish our objectives through a combination of traditional and social media.
The Big Tent
To broaden the message and build participation and support within the fire rescue community, program alliances will be developed as appropriate with Fallen Firefighter Foundation, F.O.O.L.S. and National Volunteer Fire Council.
First Responder Institute
Launching the G2G under the aegis of the First Responder Institute makes sense as it connotes an altruistic tone, versus that of a for-profit organization.
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