The third annual National Firefighter Health Week, an NVFC initiative to raise awareness of the issues and problems that can affect all firefighters, got under way Monday. FireRescue1 is partnering with the NVFC to offer a range of articles and resources this week to help you and your department be healthy.
Organizers of the Fire/EMS Safety, Health and Survival Week earlier this year listed five key areas to improve firefighter health. The NVFC's National Firefighter Health Week makes it a good time to revisit these areas and look at ways you can improve your lifestyle.
1) Don't smoke or use tobacco products
Responders, if the routine use of tobacco products is still part of your day, you need to reconsider your career choice. You should already know that tobacco products cause cancer. On top of that, you are sure to inhale plenty of particulate matter from your truck's exhaust — in addition to a wider array of general nastiness — during a typical shift. Full Article
Jimmy Buffett said it best in his song Changes In Latitudes, "If we weren't all crazy we would go insane!" His songs help me cope with the everyday stresses of work, marriage, parenting and all of the other ups and downs in life.
So, you have to be asking yourself, "OK Billy, other than you letting us know that you're a Parrothead, what's your point?" Well, it refers to Initiative 13: Provide firefighters & their families' access to counseling & psychological support. I do believe that every one of the Life Safety Initiatives have an impact on the mission of reducing firefighter line-of-duty deaths. But for the last couple of years, Initiative 13 has stuck out in my mind more than some of the others. Full Article
Heart attacks are the number one cause of line-of-duty firefighter deaths. Heart disease affects 80 million Americans, and the emergency services are not immune. In fact, the stress of emergency response creates an increased risk of heart attack. Protecting your heart through regular health screenings, proper nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle choices is key to lowering your risk of becoming a statistic. Full Article
Welcome to the world of the firefighter, the ultimate athlete.
Training for this "sport" can be complicated. Many people don't understand the physical demands placed on firefighters. Fighting fires is deadly serious business; it doesn't have time outs, or referees to make sure nothing gets out of control and it doesn't forgive the unprepared.
You train to mitigate the risks that you are sure to face. Your fitness must be on par with the skills you have spent so much time learning, so that when the game begins you are ready to play. To be ready, you must be training like a firefighter. Too many firefighters train like bodybuilders or like the athletes that they may have been in high school or college.
Things began earlier this year with a series of department meetings in which doctors from University Family Medicine presented recommendations on maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. The recommendations included regular exercise, eating five or more fruits and vegetables daily, maintaining a healthy weight
and not smoking.
Following the meetings, the department implemented a new policy requiring all on-duty personnel to participate in cardiovascular exercise every shift at fixed times.