Firefighter Wellness

Fire-Rescue personnel across San Diego County


San Diego Sports Medicine & Family Health Center is proud to serve as the provider for the Fire Departments in the San Diego region. Our goal for San Diego’s Fire Departments is to create a permanent Health and Wellness Center that will meet the ongoing healthcare needs of firefighters in the years to come. We have developed a positive and educational approach to wellness and fitness programs that will promote, enhance, and maintain the health of the firefighters who deliver service to the citizens of San Diego.

From our first introduction to the 2004 I.A.F.F.’s Wellness Fitness Initiative to the present, we have dedicated ourselves to the development of a first-class wellness program for the benefit of all San Diego regional firefighters. In cooperation with the leadership of related third parties, we have created a program that now enjoys the reputation as one of the “elite” Wellness Fitness Initiative programs in North America.

Firefighter Wellness Services

Nutrition Room

In the nutrition room, our primary goal is to empower firefighters with knowledge about how nutrition impacts their performance, recovery, and long-term well-being. Several assessments are performed to help make individualized nutritional recommendations including specific blood lab results (triglycerides, LDL/HDL cholesterol, blood sugar), body fat percentage with skinfold calipers, and circumference measurements (waist, abdominal, waist to hip ratio). Our key focal points revolve around enhancing cardiovascular health and managing weight effectively. Maintaining an optimal weight is pivotal for firefighters to perform at their best and mitigate the risk of chronic health issues throughout their careers. Additionally, we provide informational handouts covering a diverse range of nutritional topics to facilitate discussions.


The exercise stress test assesses the heart and lungs' response to physical activity. Throughout the examination and recovery period, a comprehensive 12-lead EKG, heart rate, and blood pressure are continuously monitored. The results are carefully reviewed to identify any arrhythmias, conduction abnormalities, signs of ischemia, or indications of coronary artery disease. These findings play a crucial role in determining coronary risk status, estimating aerobic capacity (VO2 max), and evaluating exercise tolerance. Moreover, they provide valuable insights for crafting a detailed and personalized exercise prescription. While typically conducted on a treadmill, the test can also be performed on a cycle ergometer if preferred.

Strength Room

In the strength room, our objective is to prevent injuries and enhance the movement capabilities of firefighters and lifeguards. This involves utilizing functional movement screens along with strength and mobility testing. Functional strength and endurance are assessed through measures such as grip strength, upper body push/pull, and lower body strength/power. Mobility is evaluated by examining posterior chain range of motion and conducting an overhead squat movement assessment, which gauges full-body functional mobility. Additionally, we assess double leg and single leg balance to identify asymmetry and gauge glute/core strength. Lifting form is closely examined, and recommendations are provided to ensure that firefighters and lifeguards lift safely both in the weight room and on the job. Throughout the testing session, we engage in discussions about workout routines and offer exercise suggestions aimed at addressing weaknesses, asymmetries, and limitations.


We provide wellness education tailored to the dynamic and demanding life of firefighting. Educational material includes a wide array of informative content targeting physical and mental health, nutrition, fitness, stress management, and injury prevention.

We aim to elevate the well-being and performance of firefighters with evidence-based guidance. Station visits are scheduled with wellness staff covering various topics or trainings, including strength and mobility programs, interval training workouts, yoga, presentations, and nutrition. Fire Wellness has an educational monthly newsletter, as well as an educational video library on YouTube and posts on social media.