Here is a Link from the article on FH.com Homepage
Updated: 02-08-2005 01:46:54 PM
NVFC Program Screens Firefighters For Heart Attack Risk
Heart attacks are the number one cause of firefighter line of duty deaths, sometimes striking even those who seemed the healthiest. So which firefighters are most at risk, and what can they do about it? The National Volunteer Fire Council has set out to answer those questions.
Visitors at the Firehouse World Conference and Exposition last week had the opportunity to receive a free screening for blood pressure, cholesterol level and body mass index through the NVFC Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program. It was a popular event, attracting expo attendees of all ages. The NVFC also plans to bring the program to other fire service shows this year including FDIC, Fire Expo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Fire Rescue International.
NVFC Director of Health and Safety Maggie Wilson explained how the program got started.
"As everyone knows, the number one cause of firefighter deaths is heart attacks," Wilson said. "We were brainstorming for a FIRE Act grant and no one else was doing a national program on heart attack prevention."
The program launched in 2004 after the NVFC received a FIRE Act grant to check cholesterol levels at fire service trade shows. This year they are using a second FIRE Act grant to do all three screenings.
"It's been overwhelming how many people have come out," Wilson said. Last year the NVFC screened about 1,000 people at each of four trade shows they attended. This year they hope to grow in popularity and screen 1,000 to 1,500 people per show.
Wilson said the reaction from firefighters has been extremely positive. "They've never seen anything like this at a show before," she said. "Once it gets rolling we can't sit down."
A few visitors joked that they would rather not get screened and learn their results, but Wilson said firefighters need to get the facts on their health.
The testing was performed by L & T Health and Fitness of Virginia and took just a few minutes. Screeners explained the results to each participant and whether those results should be discussed with the person's primary care physician.
Since the NVFC wants firefighters to take control of these numbers, the program doesn't end with the screenings.
Firefighters can also get an information kit on how heart disease is caused and how to prevent it, and sign up for an e-newsletter with heart healthy tips and related health updates.
The NVFC also launched a new web site for firefighters to track their physical activity. Users will receive points for the activities they log, and when they reach 600 points they will receive a T-shirt. At 2,400 points they will receive a certificate and entry into a grand prize drawing, Wilson said, most likely for fitness equipment. For extra encouragement, the system will e-mail users if it doesn't hear from them for two weeks.
The NVFC is waiting to find out if they will receive a third FIRE Act grant to fund the program next year, when they plan to attend five trade shows and some state firefighter association conferences. They are also looking at private sponsors for the program, and are currently getting support from the Fireman's Fund Insurance Group, Wilson said.
The NVFC plans to keep the program going no matter what, in order to reach an aggressive goal - to reduce heart-related on-duty firefighter deaths by 25 percent by the year 2008.
For more information visit www.healthy-firefighter.org.
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02-09-2005, 01:50 AM #1
NVFC Program Screens Firefighters For Heart Attack RiskThe comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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02-09-2005, 10:50 AM #2
- Join Date
- Feb 2002
- Cypress, TX
Interesting. While I certainly agree with the mission, I found it interesting that they got a FireACT grant for this. I don't remember seeing anything in the rules that allowed for anything other than fire departments.
From the 2004 Program Guidance: Eligible applicants for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program are limited to fire departments of a State. A “fire department of a State” is defined as an agency or organization that has a formally recognized arrangement with a State, territory, local, or tribal authority (city, county, parish, fire district, township, town, or other governing body) to provide fire suppression to a population within a fixed geographical area. A municipality or fire district may submit an application on behalf of a fire department when the fire department lacks the legal status to do so, e.g., when the fire department falls within the auspices of the municipality or district.
Doesn't sound to me like NVFC is a fire department. Again, not criticizing the mission, just sounds like a few things were bent to give them funding. That I don't agree with.
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