Fire-Rescue Service Roundtable: Fire Department Health & Wellness Initiatives

Firehouse Magazine asks fire service leaders to discuss ways to keep firefighters fit and healthy, on and off duty, with the goal of reducing health related fatalities and injuries.


DAVID DANIELS MHRM, MIFireE, CFO, is fire chief/emergency services administrator for the City of Renton, WA. He is international director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health & Survival Section and a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA...


To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login

Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.

OR

Complete the registration form.

Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required
Required

DAVID DANIELS
MHRM, MIFireE, CFO, is fire chief/emergency services administrator for the City of Renton, WA. He is international director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health & Survival Section and a member of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Technical Committee on Fire Service Occupational Safety and Health.

WILLIAM GOLDFEDER
a Firehouse® contributing editor, is deputy chief of the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Ohio. He chairs the IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section. In addition, he is a member of the National Firefighter Near-Miss Reporting Task Force and a technical reviewer for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program.

GARY MORRIS
retired as an assistant chief from the Phoenix Fire Department after a 30-year career. He also served as fire chief for the Seattle, WA, Fire Department and the Rural/Metro Fire Department in Arizona. He is an at-large director of the IAFC Safety, Health and Survival Section.

KEITH PADGETT
is a battalion chief in the Fulton County, GA, Fire Department, assigned to the Special Operations Battalion, which includes the Georgia Search and Rescue (GSAR) Task Force and Hazardous Materials Response Team. He is an at-large director of the IAFC Safety, Health & Survival Section.

JOHN TIPPETT
is safety battalion chief for the Montgomery County, MD, Fire and Rescue Service and fire service project manager for the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System.

Firehouse® Magazine recently asked a cross-section of fire service leaders to participate in a roundtable discussion of firefighter health and wellness. We selected representatives of organizations or programs that focus on keeping firefighters fit and healthy, on and off duty, with the goal of reducing health-related fatalities.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most significant health issue facing firefighters today and what can they do to protect themselves?

DANIELS: The most significant health issue facing firefighters today is cardiovascular disease. With approximately 50% of the line-of-duty fatalities attributable to heart-related maladies, it's by far the issue that has the most significant impact on the health of firefighters. What firefighters can do to protect themselves is to individually focus more attention on their heart health. To protect themselves, firefighters should focus more attention on their overall health, especially on their diet, exercise and stress-management techniques.

GOLDFEDER: Cancer. Without question, it is cancer, which also may be neck-and-neck with heart disease. But let's just stick to cancer, since we have been talking about heart disease for years, but we have not been talking about firefighter cancer very much. After all, how many of us "know" personally (as in knew them before they were killed) a firefighter that was a line-of-duty death (LODD)? Few have known any firefighter LODDs, but then ask them how many of you know or knew a firefighter with cancer? Firefighting cancer is a huge issue. Recent studies have shown that cancers, including testicular, prostate, skin, brain, rectum, stomach and colon cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma and malignant melanoma, are directly related to firefighting in varying levels of increased risk.

MORRIS: Cardiac-related health issues remain the number one cause of firefighter line-of duty-deaths, amounting to nearly half the annual fatalities. There has been much discussion on this issue and, in many cases, fire departments have implemented programs to prevent and reduce deaths. These range from entry level medical exams to the well-known "Wellness Initiative" jointly developed by the International Association of Fire Fighters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. All fire departments should implement a wellness program.

This content continues onto the next page...