Often when the subject of firefighter fitness and wellness comes up a commonly repeated complaint is that requiring physical fitness and medical health standards will cause volunteer departments to shut down. Another complaint is that the intentions seem to "tell" a firefighter what he or she should be eating and doing in their off-duty time and that this is an intrusion into their personal lives.

Can the fire service really make a cut in line of duty deaths, especially in the volunteer fire service, by requiring fitness and wellness standards?

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), thanks to support from the U.S. Fire Administration, has partnered with the HOPE Health Research Institute to conduct a study on obesity in the fire service. With the growing epidemic of obesity throughout the country and in the fire service itself, this study is an important resource for firefighters and EMS personnel to learn more about the causes of the problem and what they can do to reverse this potentially life-threatening trend.

Addressing the Epidemic of Obesity in the United States Fire Service looks at the impact of obesity, the scope of obesity in the fire service, and why obesity has become an epidemic. It then highlights innovative trends in nutrition and fitness that firefighters can utilize and presents recommendations for the fire service for combating obesity and increasing fitness.

Obesity is a major risk factor for potentially life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, sleep apnea, and even cancer. Obesity can also have a negative impact on a firefighter’s job performance. With heart attack consistently the leading cause of on-duty firefighter fatalities, and many more first responders facing health-related illness or injury, every first responder should take the subject of obesity in the fire service seriously.

Download Addressing the Epidemic of Obesity in the United States Fire Service to learn more about obesity in the fire service and what you can do to protect yourself and your department.

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One thing that has been happening lately is the firefighter dying while asleep in the station. Could they have been on a call and come back and lay down to get some sleep or getting up for a call and suffer their heart attack.

My dept had a member who was a young athlete had been exercising and sat down on the step bumper of the medic unit and had a massive heart attack and couldn't be saved at the hospital down the street from the station.

It was found he had a heart defect later. 

I have heard that if someone has diabetes they may not realize they are having a heart attack until its too late.

I have know a few firefighters that have had to suffer with the affects of diabetes such as loss of limbs but kept coming around to do what they could until their life ended.

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