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Fire department launches new program to improve recovery time for injured firefighters

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. —The Indianapolis Fire Department is taking a new approach to getting  firefighters injured on the job back to work.

A new program, part of a two year pilot program with physical performance company ProTeam Tactical Performance, will allow injured firefighters to receive specialized and exclusive treatment to help rehab after injuries at a quicker rate.

“We’re getting our firefighter better care and we’re getting them back to what they signed up to do, they signed up to be firefighters,” IFD Division Chief for Health and Safety Kevan Crawley said.

As a precursor to their IFD Health and Wellness Center, the department unveiled a temporary operating location at IFD headquarters, inviting firefighters and staff to check out the new center.

“They’re going to be seen daily, they’re going to get their rehab daily, they’re going to get the equipment daily,” ProTeam Tactical Performance co-owner Joey Vandever said.

Previously the department previously used a managed care system, but due to high numbers of patients from outside the department, the process was made lengthy. It was also costly. IFD believes their new system will streamline the process significantly.

“They’re getting seen, they’re getting seen quickly, they’re getting the best of care, the best equipment,” ProTeam Tactical Performance co, owner Jim Sorgi said.

Because the costs of the program and equipment is fixed, the department will save a large amount of money.

“Just in physical therapy costs alone that’s about $300,000 a year that we’re saving,” Crawley said.

It will also save time. Currently the department says the average injury takes firefighters out of commission for roughly 12 days. During that time, back-filling their absence costs the department roughly $1000 per day.

With ProTeam Tactical Performance’s program, the department hopes to cut the average time down to 10 days by the first year, and eight days by the second year.

“That money we can put somewhere else in our budget to benefit the fire department and benefit the community,” Crawley said.

The IFD Health and Wellness Center will eventually find a permanent home in a converted firehouse sometime in 2019.

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