Assistant Fire Chief Derek Alkonis of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s (LACoFD) Air and Wildland Division received the very first Firefighter Fitness Leadership Award presented at an event hosted by Los Angeles Lakers strength coach Gunnar Peterson and FitFighter founder and CEO Sarah Apgar.
Chief Alkonis received the award at an event that took place on Thursday, January 30, 2020 in Beverly Hills. The award recognizes Chief Alkonis’s career-long commitment to promoting and improving firefighter health and wellness.
“The Los Angeles County Fire Department has been at the forefront of firefighter wellness and fitness for decades. I’m fortunate to have been a part of this for my entire career,” said Chief Alkonis. “The recognition is more about the Department than me. I appreciate our executive leadership and Local 1014 for supporting the work that so many have poured their hearts and souls into since Assistant Fire Chief Harvey Anderson introduced the fitness step to us back in the 1960s. Firefighting and rescue are, and will always be, a physical job. When we take the oath to become firefighters, we are offering our bodies to be used to protect others. We need to be physically, psychologically and emotionally ready to handle whatever appears on the next call.”
Over his 30-year career, Chief Alkonis has developed innovative programs supporting firefighter health, survival and fire ground tactics. He has served as Lead Investigator for the IAFF’s Fire Ground Survival Program, considered the most comprehensive survival skills and MAYDAY prevention program within the fire service. He is also a member of the IAFF/IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative Technical Committee, Candidate Physical Ability Test Technical Committee, and Peer Fitness Trainer Oversight Committee. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of California San Diego.