WEST SALEM, WI—The West Salem School Board in Wisconsin passed a motion to waive the $150 West Salem Community Fitness Center annual fee for all individuals who work or volunteer for area firefighters, first responders, police officers and active duty military personnel.

As reported in the West Salem Coulee News, the fee will be waived for only individuals and not their families. After a year, the school board will discuss how things went during the free period.

In February, Fire Chief Dave Munson requested in a letter that the fitness center be open to all firefighters and their families. The letter said that almost half of all firefighter deaths each year are caused by heart attacks and that access to a fitness center would encourage firefighters to become more physically fit, and therefore reduce risk or an injury or heart attack. Munson said not one of the 33 firefighters on the department had a membership to the fitness center, and that with a $156,000 budget, the fire district didn’t have the funds to pay membership fees, the newspaper’s on-line edition said. Currently, students in the district can also use the fitness center for free during specified hours. The motion passed 5-1.

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