California JPIA Partners with San Luis Obispo on Functional Mobility Program

By Tim Karcz, Senior Risk Manager

Never short of unique approaches to managing risk, the City of San Luis Obispo’s Fire Department is spearheading a health and wellness program that is quickly gaining traction in the public safety sector. The program, known generally as Functional Mobility Training, helps fire department staff to achieve better coordination and true mobility by focusing on making the musculoskeletal system function optimally. Additionally, it promotes soft tissue (muscle, ligament, tendon) and vertebral disc health and resiliency.

“Functional Mobility Training,” as described by Dr. Andrea Ormonde, a key instructor and driver of the City of San Luis Obispo Fire Department program, “is born out of scientific research. All of the movements and training techniques have been selected based on a meticulous and rigorous investigation of evidence, conducted on fire department operations by physical conditioning and medical experts, as it pertains to body control, injury prevention, joint health, and physical longevity.” Using these techniques, Dr. Ormonde has been able to address the department’s injury-driving activities through the ongoing health and wellness of the department’s firefighters.

The program includes a certified self-screening process enabling firefighters to monitor their own bodies for dysfunction that may be causing pain, loss of performance, or potential increased risk of injury. Each firefighter is given a Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) prior to the start of the program so a baseline movement score can be established. Tailored approaches to their individual needs are developed and adhered to. The firefighters are re-assessed on a recurring basis to ensure improvement in functional mobility, therefore helping to reduce injury.

In addition, ongoing educational classes and physical trainings held each week work in conjunction with the screenings to help the firefighters become aware of their body, including any limitations they may have and mobility techniques necessary to increase tissue flexibility and control while ultimately mitigating injury by allowing the body to become more resilient.

The California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is excited to partner with the city on this program. 

Providing innovative risk management solutions for its public agency partners for more than 40 years, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority (California JPIA) is one of the largest municipal self-insurance pools in the state, with more than 120 member cities and other governmental agencies. Members actively participate in shaping the organization to provide important coverage for their operations. The California JPIA provides innovative risk management solutions through a comprehensive portfolio of programs and services, including liability, workers’ compensation, pollution, property, and earthquake coverage, as well as extensive training and loss control services. For more information, please visit the California JPIA’s website at