Does the headline on this column sound familiar? Odds are, you are familiar with Dave Dodson, the fire chief who taught us "The Art of Reading Smoke" — the outstanding firefighter training program that genuinely helps us all better understand what "that" smoke is telling us. For years...
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Lastly, my physical showed that I've made progress with my trainer and diet in bringing my historically high cholesterol down — and my heart is looking pretty strong. Still, I need to work harder and lose some more weight.
To you, my fellow firefighters: Please jump on all your physicals and pre-screens! If not for you, do it for those who love you and rely on you. I caught my issues early and so can you. To Billy and Gary: I thank you (and so do my kids!).
The following comments are by Chief Goldfeder:
Many of the close calls we write about in this column require numerous pages to fully explain the incident and related facts. Like this month, we never write a column without the facts that are provided directly from those who were there — and we never publish a column without their review. It's a big deal and why the integrity of this column and its reputation have been around for such a long time. The same goes for this month's close call. It came directly from the person it affected: Dave Dodson. While Dave wrote many words above, the ones we really need you to focus on are "If not for you, do it for those who love you and rely on you."
As we have said many times, while it is all about you, it is also about those who count on you. Your spouse, parents, kids, grandkids, friends — whoever — someone needs you to be around and there are things that you can do to maximize your time. Some will say, "Oh, it's God's will" when someone dies, and sure, to some extent. But remember, God also created our ability to manufacture and eat Twinkies. We just need to not consume two six packs of cream-filled sponge cake every day. God gave us the ability to make choices, so make some choices without being so selfish whereas you are only thinking about you — what you want, what you like and what you don't like. Think about the folks who need you. Think about how what you do, or don't do, impacts them.
Now that you have read Dave's story, at right are a few links, thanks to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). It is those organizations and their members, working along with many other national and local fire organizations, that have helped get the message out there so that we can minimize cancer exposure, heart attacks and strokes: the top killers of firefighters.
WILLIAM GOLDFEDER, EFO, a Firehouse® contributing editor, has been a firefighter since 1973 and a chief officer since 1982. He is deputy fire chief of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Ohio, an ISO class 2 and CAAS-accredited department. Goldfeder has served on numerous National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) committees and is the chairman of the IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section. He is on the board of directors of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the September 11th Families Association and the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting System. Goldfeder and Gordon Graham host the free and non-commercial website www.firefighterclosecalls.com. Goldfeder can be contacted at BillyG@Firefighterclosecalls.com.