American Council on Exercise (ACE) and International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Join Forces to Develop Comprehensive Fitness Testing and Education

Posted: Jan 11, 2001 in

SAN DIEGO--The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has selected the American Council on Exercise (ACE)—the world’s largest nonprofit fitness organization—to collaborate in the development and implementation of the IAFF’s new Peer Fitness Trainer Certification for Fire Fighters.

The purpose of the Peer Fitness Trainer (PFT) Certification is to identify fire fighters that have demonstrated a certain level of knowledge and skill required to design and implement fitness programs, improve the wellness and fitness of their departments and assist with the physical training of recruits. The job of a fire fighter is one of the most dangerous and physically demanding. The IAFF, an international labor union representing more than 240,000 fire fighters across the United States and Canada, believes Peer Fitness Trainers will help improve the safety, performance and quality of life of its members.

ACE will work with the IAFF to develop a valid certification exam that tests fitness knowledge specific to the fire fighting industry. The new certification exam will be offered to fire fighters at all ACE certification exam sites.

‘We feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to work with the International Association of Fire Fighters to develop a customized and credible certification,’ said Ken Germano, executive director of ACE. ‘By providing education and certification support to Peer Fitness Trainers across the U.S. and Canada, we’ll be helping to ensure the health and safety of all fire fighters, therefore benefiting the communities that they serve.’

In the future, ACE will work in conjunction with the IAFF to help develop exam preparation and continuing education programs to complement this new certification. Also, the IAFF will acquire ACE FitnessMatters as their official fitness/wellness magazine. The magazine will be customized to provide fire fighters with information, news and research specific to their fitness needs.

‘Developing a Peer Fitness Trainer certification program with ACE will expand our current programs to help maintain and enhance the wellness and fitness of professional fire fighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada,’ said Harold A. Schaitberger, general president of the IAFF.

ACE and the IAFF also share the goal of increasing the health and wellness of children across the U.S. Certified PFTs will lead FireFitKids, an IAFF program designed for high school students that teaches the benefits and rewards of participating in a consistent exercise program. Using fire fighters as role models, the IAFF will provide community outreach at Operation FitKids facilities while exposing teenagers to the fire service and the need for wellness. Operation FitKids, a program supported by ACE, brings fitness facilities to financially needy schools and community centers through the donation of recycled commercial fitness equipment.

‘The alliance between ACE and IAFF also provides us with the ability to address the fitness of school children and to develop a means of providing opportunities to members of communities that have not been exposed in the past to the fire fighting profession,’ said Schaitberger. ‘This program can help broaden opportunities for potential fire fighter candidates who are physically capable of performing the job, regardless of sex or ethnicity.’

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s workout watchdog, ACE conducts university-based research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at

The International Association of Fire Fighters is an AFL-CIO affiliated labor union representing more than 240,000 professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in the United States and Canada. IAFF members protect more than 85 percent of the lives and property and are the largest providers of pre-hospital emergency medical care in the U.S. For more information on the IAFF and its programs, log onto the IAFF Web site at

Members of this Peer Fitness Trainer Certification Program include the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (ICHIEFS), and the fire departments and their respective IAFF local unions from Austin, Texas; Calgary, Alberta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Fairfax County, Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Los Angeles County, California; Miami Dade County, Florida; New York City, New York; Phoenix, Arizona; and Seattle, Washington.

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