Ladder 43 Lieutenant Tony Montaruli is quick to pass the credit for running the fittest firehouse back onto his crew. “I never have to encourage them to work out,” says Montaruli. “If anything, they keep me motivated and keep me fit, which keeps me on the job.”

“We are successful because we motivate each other,” says Serino. “Seeing one of your co-workers in the gym working out makes you feel guilty to sit on the couch and eat a piece of cake. Plus we are always mixing up the workouts to keep it different and interesting.”

One different workout includes running on the treadmill or sprinting on the StairMaster while wearing an oxygen deprivation mask. “The deprivation mask makes it much tougher to breathe, which prepares us for fires,” says Kieran Frawley “I use a lot less air than someone who is out of shape would use so I can stay in a building longer,” which translates into more saved lives.

In the early morning hours, the members of the house can also be found doing p90x, running on the treadmill or doing rope climbs in their dark weight room. There is a palpable sense of urgency in their workouts.

For these men staying in shape isn’t just a hobby or a New Year’s Resolution. For them being strong and physically fit can make the difference between life and death, and they’re not willing to take any chances.