Former Long Island firefighter Sarah Apgar develops firehose fitness tool Fitfighter, wins big on ‘Shark Tank’

PORT WASHINGTON, Long Island (WABC) — A former volunteer firefighter from Long Island just won big on ABC’s “Shark Tank” for her new fitness device, which was inspired by her time as a firefighter.

Sarah Apgar, of Port Washington, is the creator of Fitfighter and the Steel Hose.

When Apgar joined the Halesite Volunteer Fire Department in 2012, she noticed the firehouse didn’t have a structured strength training program. Apgar served as a platoon commander in Iraq with the U.S. Army, so she was familiar with regimented strength and weight training programs.

She began using firehoses around the firehouse to train her colleagues.

Throughout the next few years, Apgar began developing a fitness device based upon the firehose. She used real firehose material and filled it with recycled steel shot. She called it the Steel Hose.

The longer the hose, the heavier it is. They range in weight from 5 pounds to 50 pounds.

Local gym owners and trainers started to hear about the product.

“It started to sort of snowball and we sort of thought, wow, I think we’ve got a really special valuable tool here that has applications far reaching beyond where we started for firefighters,” she said.

In 2019, Apgar, a mother of two young girls, sold $45,000 worth of the product.

When COVID struck last spring, Apgar developed an online training platform for the Steel Hose.

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In April and May, she did $40,000 in sales.

Around that time, Apgar received a phone call from producers of “Shark Tank.” They were intrigued with the product and with Apgar’s story. They invited her to appear on the show.

“It’s the dream come true, pinch-yourself-story that people describe,” she said.

The episode was filmed in August and aired November 13.

During the episode, guest Shark Daniel Lubetzky, the creator of KIND bars, bit on Apgar’s offer of $250,000 for a 15 percent stake in Fitfighter.

He offered $250,000 for a 25 percent stake.

Apgar accepted.

Since then, sales have skyrocketed for the Steel Hose and thousands of people purchased memberships to FitFighter’s online training platform. Apgar has 10 trainers. She also leads virtual classes out of her warehouse in Port Washington.

Apgar said she is on a mission to change the way people think about strength training and make them aware of the benefits it can have on people’s physical and mental health.

“I just want people to start moving and moving with weight and learning the principals of strength training,” she said.

Apgar still markets the Steel Hose to fire departments.

She said the FDNY Fire Academy has been using them for the past five years.

“I’m really proud of that. It’s very really special me,” she said.

Apgar said the majority of the production of the Steel Hose will be moving to South Carolina, but some will stay in Port Washington.

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‘Superspreader’ wedding, birthday party in Long Island lead to 56 infections

Within two weeks, 30 guests had tested positive for covid-19. Suffolk County health officials said an additional 159 people who had potentially been exposed to the virus by wedding attendees had been forced to self-quarantine to prevent further spread of the virus.

“One-third of all of those in attendance,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a news conference Wednesday. “Think about that for a second.”

County officials recommended a fine of $17,000 against the club for violating a county sanitary code as well as a statewide mandate restricting gatherings to no more than 50 people, and the State Liquor Authority told the New York Times it was investigating the incident. The country club did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Long Island birthday party that same day limited its guest list to 50 names, but has still led to another 26 coronavirus cases in the last two weeks, Bellone said.

Those ill-fated gatherings were not the only large events to spread the coronavirus across Long Island in recent weeks. Dozens of new cases have been tied to a string of parties in Suffolk County, and hundreds of residents have been forced to quarantine after possible exposure to the virus.

“This type of blatant disregard for the well-being of others is not only extremely disappointing; it will not be tolerated,” Bellone said Wednesday. “If you violate the rules, you’ll be caught and held responsible.”

SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE BELLONE TO ANNOUNCE NEW ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS IN RESPONSE TO RECENT COVID-19 SPREADER EVENTS

Posted by Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The spread of the virus along Long Island is particularly concerning in the state and county that were once epicenters of the pandemic. More than 500,000 people in New York have tested positive for the virus, and at least 33,219 have died since the start of the pandemic. Even as coronavirus rates have remained low in New York in recent weeks, some social gatherings have led to hot spots.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) on Wednesday urged residents to avoid even family gatherings as the holidays approach.

“My personal advice is the best way to say, ‘I love you,’ this Thanksgiving, the best way to say, ‘I’m thankful for you,’ is to say, ‘I love you so much, I’m so thankful for you, that I don’t want to endanger you, and I don’t want to endanger our family and I don’t want to endanger our friends. So we’ll celebrate virtually.’” Cuomo said. “But that is my personal opinion.”

Despite admonitions to keep social gathering small and socially distanced, or to avoid them altogether, many people have decided to come together in large groups, especially in Long Island.

A Sweet 16 party hosted at a banquet hall on Sept. 25 became the county’s first “superspreader” event, Bellone said, after 37 guests tested positive for the virus after attending the 81-person soiree. At least 270 people had to quarantine after possibly being exposed to coronavirus

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Rhode Island Among States With Highest Childhood Obesity Rates

Rhode Island is among U.S. states with the highest rates of childhood obesity, according to a new study released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to this year’s State of Childhood Obesity report, about 1 in 7 children nationwide are considered obese — or about 15.5 percent.

At 11th in the nation, our state falls higher than the U.S. average. This year’s report says roughly 17.5 percent of YOUR STATE children ages 10 to 17 are considered obese.

“Childhood obesity remains an epidemic in this country,” Jamie Bussel, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a release. “We must confront these current crises in ways that also support long-term health and equity for all children and families in the United States.”

The focus of this year’s report, according to a release by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is prioritizing childhood health amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the study, researchers say the pandemic and ongoing economic recession have worsened many of the broader factors that contribute to obesity, including poverty and health disparities.

Emerging research links obesity with increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including among children. Evidence from other vaccines also has led some experts to predict that a COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective in those with underlying medical conditions such as obesity.

The pandemic also exacerbates conditions that put children at risk for obesity.

School closures have left millions of children without a regular source of healthy meals or physical activity. In addition, millions of caregivers have lost income or jobs, making it more difficult for families to access or afford healthy foods.

To determine the most recent childhood obesity rates, the foundation used data from the 2018-19 National Survey of Children’s Health, along with information collected through a separate analysis conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

The report also highlights the obesity rates in younger children, high school students and adults. Here’s a look at how Rhode Island rates:

  • Children ages 2 to 4 (participating in WIC — the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program): 15.4 percent, or 11 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Children aged 10 to 17: 17.5 percent, or 11 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • High school students: 14.3 percent, or 28 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Adults: 30 percent, or 35 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Adults with diabetes: 10.4 percent, or 30 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

  • Adults with hypertension: 33 percent, or 30 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Here are a couple findings of note from this year’s report:

Childhood obesity is more prevalent in children of color: About 11.7 percent of white children are considered obese. Rates are significantly higher for Hispanic (20.7 percent), Black (22.9 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (28.5 percent), and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (39.8 percent) children.

Income also affects the prevalence of obesity: About 21.5 percent of youths

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