Chief of the Fire Department, Paul Flanagan, has always considered physical fitness to be a priority. Prior to his 41 years on the department, Flanagan was co-captain of the Winthrop High School track team and took pride in his ability to run a half-mile in one minute and 58 seconds. His speed and commitment to the sport earned him the title of sixth in the state during his senior year.
Today, at 64 years old, Flanagan runs an eight-and-a-half-minute mile and is dedicated to working out at the gym four to five times a week, where he incorporates both core strength and cardio training.
The Town Council has voted, under Massachusetts General Laws, to extend the chief’s career for three more years until June 30, 2023. He added that he’d like to see through to the building of a new public safety facility.
“Firefighters sometimes go from being at a complete standstill in the station, to getting a call that requires them to go a million miles an hour,” said Flanagan. “It’s important to be in shape, when you have to go from zero mental and physical stress to having to carry a patient out of a building and down three flights of stairs to an ambulance.”
While his commitment to fitness comes naturally, Flanagan’s determination to stay healthy became even more of a priority when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 33 years ago. He is able to manage the chronic condition, with the help of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which uses a sensor to monitor his sugar levels every five minutes. Since then, he has made it his mission to put physical fitness first, to stay ahead in both his career and his health, and he is not shy about encouraging his fellow firefighters to join him. Flanagan will have a team of 14 firefighters run the 5K road race hosted by RPM Fitness on June 2.
“Those who work as safety officers are referred to as tactical athletes, and it’s essential that they keep their endurance up and stay in shape if they want to be at the top of their game,” said Flanagan, who believes that as chief, it is his responsibility to ensure his department is fit for the job.