Brothers and sisters, 2010 is not off to a good start for the fire service. Yesterday I read about our sixth LODD that occurred in Arkansas, and which happened to be cardiac related. Did you know this was the fifth LODD this year that was cardiac related? That's 5 out of 6 people!
Looking back at 2009, we had 93 LODD notifications from the U.S. Fire Administration. Out of those 93 deaths, 45 were cardiac related. I know it's early, but if our trend for 2010 continues, we may pass last year's number.
I ask these questions to the Chiefs on here. What are you doing to prevent cardiac related deaths in your department?
· Do you require NFPA 1582 physicals for new employees and/or volunteers? If so, do you also require annual NFPA 1582 physicals? If not, you better review OSHA 1910.156(b)(2).
· Do you require firefighters to maintain the same physical entrance standards for the duration of employment/membership?
· Do you have a Physical Fitness SOP/SOG requirement for on duty personnel?
For the line officers and supervisors, paid and volunteer. Do you,
· promote physical fitness to your firefighters?
· lead by example and join in during PT?
· promote healthy eating while on shift?
· speak with crews about the risks of obesity, heart disease, and smoking, and unhealthy eating?
· have a reading of the latest LODD notifications during shift briefing, or post them in the station for all to see highlighting the cause of death?
For the firefighters. Do you, or have you
· made yourself aware that heart disease is a leading killer of firefighters, both paid and volunteer. Even more so than tanker and POV collisions?
· made an effort to make and keep yourself physically fit for duty by eating healthy meals and working out both on and off duty?
· talked with fellow firefighters, and supervisors on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, and been leading by example?
I don't expect everyone to be a marathon runner, UFC fighter, or Olympic Weightlifter. There are no excuses though for not losing weight, eating right, and working out!
What I'm about to say is harsh, but the truth. If you are a firefighter, or emergency service worker with cardiac problems, obese, and/or not able to physically perform duties, then you are a ticking time bomb, and liability.
I don't care if you give the excuse of, "well I'm a driver only, or fire police, EMS only or just don't go inside". You are dead wrong, and still a liability. There have been plenty of drivers, fire police, etc who have collapsed on scene and became a cardiac related LODD. Just go back and look at LODD listings for previous years.
Let's all do something to prevent this stuff from happening again.