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    Thumbs up IAFC Calls "Stand Down" for Safety

    From the Front Page:

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=42091

    IAFC Calls for "Stand Down" for Firefighter Safety

    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News


    The International Association of Fire Chiefs is calling for all fire departments across the U.S. to stand down from non-emergency duties on June 21 in order to focus on firefighter safety.

    The IAFC noted that as of May 1, there have been 50 line-of-duty firefighter deaths this year - 10 more than at this time last year.

    "It's a very bad year when we lose the number of firefighters we do anyway," said IAFC Executive Director Garry Briese. With this year's 10 percent increase, he said, "That's just simply unacceptable."

    Briese said the IAFC had never organized a national stand down before, but when IAFC President Bob DiPoli suggested the idea to their Board of Directors, they agreed that it was time to do something drastically different.

    "Firefighters are being killed at an alarming rate. The fire service simply cannot continue to do business as usual when so many of its own are dying," DiPoli said in a prepared statement. "We are conducting the stand down to raise awareness of the need for increased vigilance toward firefighter safety."

    "We must call attention to the unacceptable number of line-of-duty deaths and injuries plaguing our fire departments," DiPoli continued. "During the Safety Stand Down, fire departments all around the nation will have thorough, honest conversations about firefighter health and safety and maybe we can do something to stop these deaths."

    At least 14 additional organizations are partnering to support the effort, including the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the United States Fire Administration, the International Association of Fire Fighters and the National Volunteer Fire Council.

    Briese said that by calling for the stand down at this time of the year, the fire service has six months left to to turn the trend of increasing fatalities around.

    "The bottom line is people are tired of going to firefighter funerals," he said. "If we don't do anything, in the next ten years we're going to go to more than a thousand funerals. I'm not willing to look at it that way. I can't do nothing."

    The IAFC asks that career or combination departments stand down beginning Tuesday, June 21 until all personnel and duty nights have been covered. They ask that volunteer departments conduct a special safety meeting the evening of June 21 or as near to that date as possible.

    The IAFC has also recommended an activity schedule, which includes talking about the causes of line-of-duty deaths; checking all apparatus and equipment; discussing health and safety regulations; reviewing fire ground safety issues; and taking stock of training exercises and fitness goals.

    "It'll be what the fire service wants it to be," Briese said. "What we've done is we've called for it, we've provided resources and it's up to the fire service to make it real or not real."

    Resources for planning the stand down are available on the IAFC's web site at IAFC "Stand Down."
    We have been talking about this increase in LODD's this year for while now. I like the fact that those at the top appear to be taking notice.

    We are a small low-volume VFD, but I will still find a way to participate and support the effort out here. I think seat-belts is a good focus issue for us to start with.

    What do you think you can do at your station to support this initiative?
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    First thing I'm going to do is post this in all the stations...

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    OK, forgive me for being stupid. But I take "stand down" to mean "dont respond" to non-emergency calls. Is that correct? If so, wont happen here. I would like to keep my job.
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    Originally posted by Dave1983
    OK, forgive me for being stupid. But I take "stand down" to mean "dont respond" to non-emergency calls. Is that correct? If so, wont happen here. I would like to keep my job.
    No, No, Dave...... I believe they are saying Stand Down from all Non-Emergency duties.......
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    Originally posted by firenresq77
    No, No, Dave...... I believe they are saying Stand Down from all Non-Emergency duties.......
    OK, like cleaning the station or washing the BRT? Hmmm, not going to happen either. Still like my job
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    "Stand-down" is a military-derived term. It means that all activity outside of mission-impacting duties are discontinued in order to address the problem or subject. In our case, it means responses, maintenance (probably including routine stuff), and other priority things continue. We're supposed to concentrate on the topic-safety- otherwise.

    My department suffered a LODD five years ago. I called for my own "Safety Standdown" at my company. Once everything was taken care of, and between runs, we reviewed the departmental safety procedures, rules, etc. We also took a good, hard look at the way we performed right there at our station. I think it made a helluva difference.

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    yeah, I must say, I'm confused too. so what stops? no more fire inspections? no more drills? what does "The IAFC asks that career or combination departments stand down beginning Tuesday, June 21 until all personnel and duty nights have been covered" mean? one day of stand down until all duty crews have ones this stand down thing?

    as a volunteer, does that mean we should suspend all non-reponse related events? can someone please explain? I think I'm as confused as Dave is
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    Go to the IAFC "Stand Down" Page for a better description of what they are suggesting, including a sample shift duty schedule.

    IAFC Stand Down Page

    The idea is simple. Drop the non-essential stuff you do in a day, and focus on providing an information and education session(s) for your crew on some of the hazards and conditions that are contributing to the high numbers of LODD's. Volley dept's could forgo the weekly drill in favour of the same type of session. Since we can't tackle everything in a day, identifying a weak point in your systems, and naming a focus topic might be a good start.

    The primary message seems to be to first raise awareness that we are facing a problem, and then begin to move forward from there.

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    I don't wish to start a ******ing contest here, but one of my concerns when I was on a department was our own physical shape.

    I mean, roughly 50% of deaths were specifically related to non-firefighting duteis, like MIs (especially.) With the population of our country getting fatter, we ought to focus on this a heck of a lot more than we do, or these numbers are goign to really start to skyrocket.

    Reviewing safety policies is great, necessary, and shoudl be continuous, but dammit we need to treat ourselves better and be more physically fit, eat better, and be prepared to do what we need to do. I see firefighters (and Paramedics) who often look like they couldn't carry a high rise pack into a building, let alone carry out a fellow firefighter if they go down.

    We need to take care of ourselves better all around. This seems to be lacking in the notice the IAFC posted.

    Like I said, i don't mean or intend to tick people off, but seeing these guys and gals die because of heart attacks and strokes is depressing, since a large portion of them are avoidable. It just doesn't seem to be talked about.
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    Sharkie, Your comment's should in no way start a p!$$ing match. Sometimes the truth isn't pretty and we don't want to hear it.

    I just finished up a Fire Instructor I class and as a portion of the class we had to pick a topic & deliver a series of presentations on that topic through out the class. My topic was firefighter safety and the majority of my presentations focused on this particular area of LODD's.

    Over the past couple of months I have become very familiar with the USFA firefighter fatality database and the contents there-in. You are quite correct to say that nearly half of the LODD's are cause by MI's or stroke. (And who knows how many career altering or ending events are caused by this as compared to Traumatic causes).

    This is not a recent trend either. Based on the recent report by NFPA (see firehouse article here: http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...7&sectionId=46 ) if you factor out the LODD's from 9/11/01 - this has been a noticeable trend for 10 years.

    Also - NVFC has launched their own Heart Healthy Firefighter campaign. (see firehouse article here: http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=41830 )

    While I agree that more focus should be placed on the health related issues, I'm simply happy with knowing that more work is being done to prevent all LODD's. The first step is recognizing that you have a problem. We are making that first step.

    As to the question of what is a safety stand down - in simplest terms it means that any activity that is not 100% essential should be postponed for a review of safety procedures. If you absolutely MUST clean the kitchen then do so, same for fixing your equipment. You decide what is essential activity not the IAFC (or any one else). The point however is to be fair about what you deem essential.

    Ask yourself - Would it really impact the delivery of service if insert activity here didn't happen today ??

    Washing your rig & having pride in your equipment is all well and good, but that clean truck only rolls out the door if you are there to take it. Remember who's #1 and take care of yourself first.

    To repeat (and expand on ) my standard signature line. . .

    Take care of yourselves & one another.
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    You will never ever stop firefighters from abusing there bodies...you can live the heart healthy life style all you want and you may be able to prevent one or two of the heart attacks that occurred, but we are all humans and are subject too outside forces that we have no control over(genetics). There are a couple of thing that can change to prevent some of the deaths, the first thing is to follow the NFPA/OSHA guidelines on staffing...the more people you have the less work and strain each man has to endure ( if I was a betting man I would guess some of those heart attacks occurred after the man did triple the work he should have been doing due to being understaffed). I would also say that a saftey officer would have most likely prevented some of the death by shutting down an unsafe operataion....but to blame the deaths on unhealthy underfit firefighters is not right either. I get a little ckuckle from IAFC wanting a saftey stand down ...what they should to is have a fire department resource day, and have a concerted effort to make sure that thier departments have the proper resources to do the job. Teach them how not to pander to the politicain(who love to cut fire departments)and how to present there case to the public...that how you cut the death rate.
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    From USFA/FEMA:

    There were a total of 104 incidents that took the life of a firefighter in 2004:

    Career firefighters, those who are employed full-time as firefighters, comprised 29 deaths (27%) in 2004.

    Volunteer, seasonal, and part-time firefighters accounted for 78 deaths.

    Half of the firefighters that died in 2004 died from traumatic injuries such as asphyxiation, burns, drowning, vehicle crashes, and other physical injuries.

    The balance of firefighter deaths in 2004 were attributed to non-traumatic injuries, such as heart attacks and strokes. Heart attacks caused the deaths of 49 on-duty firefighters.

    Nine (9) firefighters died in 2004 in response to wildland fires (grass, trees, brush). This is the lowest level of wildland-related firefighter deaths since 1996 and represents a significant drop from the 29 wildland-related firefighter deaths that occurred in 2003.

    Three (3) firefighters were killed when fire apparatus were backed over them.

    A Pennsylvania incident occurred at the fire station and was not associated with an emergency response.

    Five (5) firefighters were killed when they were struck by passing vehicles at the scene of an emergency.

    Additionally, four (4) firefighters were killed in falls from fire department vehicles.

    A Massachusetts firefighter died when he fell from a responding engine company, this department also suffered a fatal fall injury involving fire apparatus in 1984.

    A Kentucky firefighter was shot and killed as she approached an emergency that involved domestic violence.

    Twenty firefighters died in vehicle collisions.

    Seven (7) of these deaths involved the crash of the firefighter's personal vehicle.
    Three (3) firefighters died in aircraft crashes; one (1) in a medical helicopter and two (2) wildland fire fighting aircraft.

    Five (5) firefighters died in crashes that involved responding fire apparatus.

    Firefighter deaths took place in 40 states. Pennsylvania had the highest number of deaths with 18 firefighters killed; Kentucky suffered seven (7) deaths, followed by California, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey with five (5) deaths each.

    The average age of firefighters killed while on-duty in 2004 was 47. The average age of a firefighter that died of a heart attack or stroke was 52; the average age of firefighters who died of traumatic injuries was 42.

    For additional information on firefighter fatalities, including the annual fatality reports from 1986 through 2003 and the Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study 1990-2000, please visit the USFA website at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/fatalities/statistics/.

    You could learn a lot from these reports!!
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    I went to the site and read the activity list. We do a lot of that stuff on a daily basis anyway (checking equipment and PPE). And my shift reviews different SOG's and polices at least monthly.

    Nevermind, were off on the 21st anyway
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    Lightbulb About Time

    I know I'd like our personnel to participate. No we won't stop checking equipment or going to calls. But the other BS. Our personnel do so much other crap that training and preplanning takes a backseat. Maybe the idea should be to focus on physical fitness that day(s) and training in the publics eye. The general public takes us for granted because most do not understand the job. I know that for three days (3 shifts) we could stop tending the flags on Main St. or repairing street lights with our fire alarm truck. I'd love to stop doing re-licensure inspections for a day or two.


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    That happens to be a training night at my dept. We will not cease our non-emergency operations but instead the topic of the training session will be safety, lodd's and how we can help prevent them. You know sort of a round table type discussion. In my experience I have found this a better format of approach vs standing there as the lecturer sounding like Safety Susie. Guys (at least my guys) are much more likely to chime in and get a good discussion going if you just sit around the classroom and have a more or less guided shoot the sh$t session.

    We have done similar in the past and I have been meaning to do it again so I guess this is my window of opportunity. The truly unfortunate part is that the impact only lasts a couple of months at the most and then we are back to the old way again. If only LODD's were as temporary as this!!!

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    Many of you who know me will know that this is something very close to my heart. I shudder at the amount of LODD's suffered in the USA and unfortunately, until the US Fire Service has a major change to the way they operate I can see the Death rate still rising.

    In the UK, it is much more dense and urban. With only 60,000 Operational Firefighters we manage to attend close on a Million fires each year but our LODD rate is usually about 2 per year (although from May 2004 until February this year we lost 5 in the UK...an unusual blip)

    Almost all of our Deaths are to Career Firefighters caused by incident attributable factors (Burns, Trauma etc). OK The majority of UK Firefighters are career Firefighters, although we have lots in the rural areas who are retained....employed by that County's Fire Service, but they are only paid when they are called out. This means they are trained and equipped by the County Fire Service. Apart from one case, there are absolutely no stand alone locally Managed Volunteer Fire Departments at all.

    The advantages are;
    1) They are trained to National Standards like their Full Time Counterparts, with the support of the County FD.
    2) Fitness is not so much of an issue, all career Ff's have medicals and fitness tests periodically. London doesn't have anything but Full time Ff's so I cannot comment, but I know that our Retained colleagues have similar fitness tests. Thus Heart attacks are pretty much non existent...I think I recall our last Death by MI on the Fireground in London was in 1983.

    Apparatus.
    Despite being mainly urban, the UK has an enormous road network, with many fast roads. A lot of the work for Ff's outisde of the Big cities is MVA/RTA work. I know we don't have those handsome sparkling chromed apparatus that you Guys have, but what we have got (All three Emergency Services) are very brightly coloured Emergency Service vehicles, with reflective vynils, eye catching graphic designs and strategically placed flashing lights. All Personnel working on the roads have to wear reflective surcoats that comply to very strict regulations. Deaths and Injuries among Emergency Responders on our roads are almost non-existant.... If we have to shut a road completely...so be it... People may be late, business £££'s are lost...but at least there are no further Deaths or injuries at the scene.

    Finally Fires...the bit that will make me unpopular,

    We are aggressive interior Firefighters, I believe for head of Population and Firefighter numbers vs Fires we attend more Fires that any other Country in the World... aside from hostile zones.

    But...Safety and accountability is the Primary objective of what we do. And clearly it pays. BA accountability, everyone working to one plan...that of the Incident Commander, no self deployment, no chasing unrealistic objectives....i.e if there are flames out of every window...no one is going to be alive inside...I know of no one who is fireproof...the search is then carried out beyond the fire attack. We don't often go onto roofs...our construction doesn't allow it in most cases, the fire will be out ages before a cut is made.... So, OK it gets a little hot inside a fire with limited or Horizontal Ventialtion, but we manage. NO WAY is anyone going onto a possibly fragile roof just to ease conditions above.

    OK, OK, I know you cannot change the way you operate totally or globally. But look at the hard facts.... 60,000 Firefighters, almost 1 Million fires...only a couple of Deaths.

    Please, take this post in the spirit it is meant. It is not a criticism, nor is it a dig at the way you operate. I have a genuine desire to see those LODD numbers drop. We went through a massive re-organisation after our country was almost burned to the ground in WW2. This was followed in the decades after by a massive review of how we operate after we were losing an unacceptable amount of Firemen...5 on one job, two on another, then 14 at another....every year, the toll was massive... almost all of those deaths could have been avoided and very few Civilian lives were saved as a result of those terrible losses.
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    Very well put as usual Chief. You make excellent points!

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    Originally posted by SteveDude
    It is not a criticism, nor is it a dig at the way you operate. I have a genuine desire to see those LODD numbers drop.
    Thank you for posting this... great information. If we'd all just stop and think about it for a minute, we just might see that it all makes sense. Then, maybe we could learn a thing or two from FD's across the pond...
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    Awww Steve, You don't want to be a "Safety Susie" do ya? Have the stand down, talk about no rehab, never changing crews out till the fire is out, using SCBA when convenient and reducing your PPE. That will get a good conversation!

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    ^^Bump^^

    Surely this is way too important to fall off the page. Not getting political and talking about the specifics of the 'Stand Down' action intended, but the high number of LODD's...
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    This is off the front page.

    Maryland Department Institutes Mandatory Workouts



    Updated: 05-31-2005 01:39:06 PM
    E-MAIL THIS STORY PRINT THIS STORY


    SHANTEE WOODARDS
    The Capital


    Even if he's not battling a raging fire, Annapolis Firefighter Billy Bingham starts his workday breaking a sweat.

    Mr. Bingham spends about 30 minutes on the treadmill and follows it up with weights, squats and leg exercises.

    "I'm a garbage can - I'll eat anything," Firefighter Bingham said. "As long as I stay active and fit, I can eat what I want, when I want. I get in the gym and work it off."

    But staying in shape isn't just a hobby. It's now mandated as part of the city Fire Department's new fitness policy. The guidelines require annual physical assessments of heart rate, blood pressure, body composition and flexibility.

    Emergency staff are required to work out at least once during their shift, typically in weight rooms that are available at the city's three fire stations.

    The new policy comes just as research from the National Fire Protection Association released last week showed that heart attacks are the top cause of on-duty deaths of firefighters. In the last 10 years, 440 firefighters who died on the job experienced heart attacks or another heart-related death. That accounted for nearly 44 percent of all firefighter deaths nationwide.

    Health screenings and workouts are ways to help prevent that cause of death, officials with the association say.

    "(Fire departments) have to look for risk factors and evaluate the risk," said Rita Fahy, who researched the report. "Firefighters who have cardiovascular problems pose a danger to themselves. And the sudden incapacitation of a firefighter while working at an emergency affects not only his own health and safety, but the rest of his crew and the public."

    The Anne Arundel County Fire Department requires its firefighters to do at least a 20-minute walk each day. The must also perform stretching exercises to maintain flexibility. The regimen is mandatory, but done on the honor system. The county is looking to improve its policy.

    "Everyone starts at a different level of fitness," County Fire Battalion Chief Frank Stamm said. "We have some people who do triathalons and some people that haven't worked out in a few years or done a disciplined workout. There's work being done toward this, but we want to make sure the process is correct once we implement it."

    In Annapolis, a fitness program has been discussed since the early 1990s, but the problem was the only available gym was at the Taylor Avenue station and the department didn't have the funding to provide more space or equipment, Fire Chief Michael P. Lonergan said.

    In 2002, the department received a $57,000 grant to launch its fitness and wellness program and the city gave a 10 percent match. The money paid for workout equipment at the two other stations, along with the fitness certification of four firefighters through the American Council on Exercise. The coordinators conduct the fitness assessment tests and are available to answer questions.

    The Taylor Avenue station workout facility is pretty spartan. The white walls are barren. No motivational posters here. Benches and free weights are placed on rubber matting common to many fitness club facilities. A folding metal table holds a laptop hooked to a device called a Tanita Wizard, which measures such things as body fat, weight, metabolic rate.

    So far, the department has stressed workouts geared toward the improving leg strength and cardiovascular health. Since this is the first year for the program, officials can't gauge the impact of the program until a second round of assessment tests next year. But anecdotal evidence is encouraging.

    "I'm seeing people here I've never seen work out before," said Lt. Aaron Boston, one of the department's fitness coordinator. "I'm seeing folks carry their tennis shoes and shorts, from the young guys to the old guys. We're telling the new guys coming in that we're going to stay on top of you all."

    Having such a program is common sense to Chief Lonergan. He's worked out at least three days a week for the last 30 years and expects his employees to do the same.

    "(Working out) is a great start to the day. It makes me feel like a million bucks - some days a hundred bucks," Chief Lonergan said. "I hate to see a firefighter retire in horrible shape and have a physical retirement. We're hoping folks come in here and have good, long firefighting careers and follow them up with a robust retirement."
    Do you think this will work?
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    Exclamation

    This is the letter that was faxed on our letterhead to all of the governors.





    May 27, 2005



    Dear Governor:



    The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and 15 partnering fire service organizations* are calling for all fire departments in the nation to conduct a ”stand down” for firefighter safety beginning Tuesday, June 21.



    The purpose of this correspondence is to alert you to the stand down and ask your assistance in supporting it in all fire departments in your state.



    A stand down is a method used by the military to correct an issue that has been identified as a problem throughout its ranks. As of May 1, there have been 50 line-of-duty firefighter deaths – that is 10 more than at this same time last year. Because of the higher number of deaths, the IAFC and its partners* are urging fire departments to suspend all non-emergency activity on June 21 and instead focus entirely on firefighter safety. We have requested that all volunteer departments conduct a special safety meeting the evening of the 21st or as near to that date as possible.



    We must call attention to the unacceptable number of line-of-duty deaths and injuries plaguing our fire departments. During the Safety Stand Down, fire departments all around the nation will have thorough, honest conversations about firefighter health and safety and maybe together we can do something to stop these deaths. We are providing a recommended “daily activity schedule”. A Web page at the IAFC Web site www.iafc.org/standdown has been devoted to this important issue.



    Thank you for your attention to this very important matter. If you have questions, please call Jennifer Ashley, IAFC director of communications at 703/273-0911, ext. 320 or correspond via email – jashley@iafc.org



    Sincerely,





    Chief Robert A. DiPoli, Ret.

    IAFC President





    *Partnering Organizations



    National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

    United States Fire Administration

    International Association of Fire Fighters

    National Volunteer Fire Council

    National Fire Protection Association

    International City/County Management Association

    National Association of State Fire Marshals

    North American Fire Training Directors

    Canadian Fire Chiefs Association

    Congressional Fire Service Institute

    International Association of Arson Investigators

    Fire & Emergency Manufacturers Services Association

    International Fire Service Training Association

    Fire Department Safety Officers’ Association

    Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association
    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 06-10-2005 at 04:01 PM.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  23. #23
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    allineedisu's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Sounds like a plan to me.

  24. #24
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    Default They mentioned it.....

    Originally posted by DaSharkie
    We need to take care of ourselves better all around. This seems to be lacking in the notice the IAFC posted.

    Like I said, i don't mean or intend to tick people off, but seeing these guys and gals die because of heart attacks and strokes is depressing, since a large portion of them are avoidable. It just doesn't seem to be talked about.
    From the IAFC recommended activites.....

    Physical Fitness
    Review the IAFF/IAFC Wellness Fitness Initiative. Has the fire departmentadopted fully, at all, in part. This is the number one recommendation of NIOSH after any firefighter LODD from heart event.

    Review fire department hiring procedures. Does the fire department use CPAT for candidate physical ability requirements and does fire department use NFPA 1582 for candidate medical requirements?

    Ensure all personnel engage in some form of approved exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes. May be as simple as basic stretching and a one mile walk around a nearby fitness track or marked path.

    Address Peer Fitness Trainers and generate interest in getting fire department to certify members as IAFF/IAFC PFTs

    SPECIAL SECTION:
    Heart Health among Firefighters

    The leading cause of on-duty deaths is heart attacks. Sadly, three-quarters of these fatalities went to work with known or detectable heart conditions. Click here for a special section on heart health issues to discuss with your department.

    http://iafc.org/standdown/resources.asp
    Buckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
    "Everybody Goes Home"

    IACOJ 2003

  25. #25
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    Default

    You can recommend all you want, but very few departments encourage it or want it. Just look at many of the guys on the job now and you see a LODD waiting to happen, or someone who is going to be seriously injured because they are so big that they can't be taken out a building quickly.

    Just a fact of life living in the Western world, we are getting fatter very rapidly. As a society we are killing ourselves, and it will cross into the public safety realm.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

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