How CrossFit Makes Me a Better Public Servant

Jul 12, 2019 by

To the citizens I’ve promised to serve:

You deserve the best. You deserve me at the highest level, at any time. I will never know when you’ll need me, but I will do all I can for you. I will fight my best fight, and I will never give up on you. 

I remember all of you. 

I remember walking up to your car at three in the morning with the 50 pound hydraulic cutters in my hand. While I cut on one side of the car, my partner cut on the other. We had to remove the roof of your car to free your trapped body. 

Your house caught fire from a lightning strike. We searched your flame-filled home to make sure your family was completely out as another crew brought the hoseline in to extinguish the flames. After, we spent quite a bit of time pulling ceiling, tearing down walls and ensuring there was no fire spread that had been missed. Our turnout gear, air packs and masks stayed on the entire time to keep us safe from any remaining debris in the air.

We did CPR on your husband for a really long time.  He had collapsed in a small corner of your home and you didn’t know why. We started an IV and gave him the medicines he needed to start his heart again. We then carried him down the stairs and to the ambulance where we continued to care for him on the way to the hospital. Weeks later, your husband came by our fire station to thank us for saving him.

We have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I never know what the day will bring, but I also have to ready for anything. My body has to be prepared to work the hardest it’s ever worked.

We have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I never know what the day will bring, but I also have to ready for anything. My body has to be prepared to work the hardest it’s ever worked while under a multitude of stressors. Fitness has created this foundation for me as a firefighter and a medic. Physical fitness provides me the opportunity to be the best possible asset for you on the worst day of your life, while also giving me the mental fortitude I need to make it through seeing everyone on their worst days.

We train daily on scenarios we hope will never happen. With our turnout gear on, SCBAs on our backs, regulators clicked in and blacked out masks, we prepare to find a downed or trapped firefighter. For hours, we will rotate through scenarios involving obstacles, simulated building collapses, trapped firefighters or even unconscious firefighters.  

I can find myself frustrated sometimes because my fitness routine often lacks structure. With working 24 hours shifts, I do what I can, when I can. I always make sure my routine involves moving heavy, unstable loads with my heart rate elevated. 

Being physically fit isn’t something I take lightly. I’ve come to thrive off the feeling of being uncomfortable and knowing that it’s only making me better. I want to be a firefighter the public, as well as the firefighter working beside me, can count on.

Fitness isn’t just my way of preparing to be the most physically fit firefighter I can be. Fitness is my way of making sure I can show up again tomorrow and do it all over again.  


Cayla Harper

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