Stress and Overexertion is the NUMBER 1 Killer of Firefighters Annually.



So I want to know how many firefighters here on Firefighter Nation are required by your Fire Department to pass an ANNUAL NFPA 1582 Physical?


So here is the deal FFN, press reply and just type YES or NO.



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However, my county Haz-Mat team does, and to be honest, I do not think passing it is necessarily going to be a catch-all. Moreover, that's not to say that it won't help. I believe it would reduce LODD numbers. I also think we need to change FF mentality and enforce rehab with the threat of suspension and TRULY follow 1584!
I agree with your first paragraph, but would add that some of the people who die in those situations are people who are relatively young, apparently fit, and who have passsed a NFPA FF physical in the past year.

Re: your second paragraph: With the emerging evidence that we're getting exposed to cyanide that is absorbed through our turnout gear and into our skin, I'm not sure that those exposures actually can be controlled by the IC, no matter how safety-minded he/she may be.
Ben I totally agree on the HCN being absorbed through our skin, and the PPE manufacturers are now working diligently to come up with a new hazmat barrier that doesn't blow the TTP/TTL charts off the map. The thing is, other than the providence HCN study, and the actual, cardiac arrest that occurred, (save) where is the evidence for the HCN exposure causing any LODD. Many cardiac arrests were never tested and most hospitals to this day, still treat civilian and/or firefighters for CO smoke exposure when transported, for which is two different protocols. Ask many ER doctors and sad to say but they haven't heard of the Providence Study. So in relation to my question, the NFPA physical will yield far more underlying problems that can be worked on before a firefighter dies in the line of duty.

Now onto your concern that progressive incident commanders can't control some of that HCN exposure factors. If you wilingly know you are truly exposing and slowly killing your firefighters at the next fire. Why would we go interior on the many unoccupied building fires? If a person meets you at the curb and you are getting first hand information that all occupants are out of the building, then why does most still go interior?

If the PPE manufacturers can't solve this problem you will see new guidelines in the future stating if unoccupied, it is not recommended to enter. Nothing to gain.
Thanks for the clarification.

I agree that there should be much better risk-benefit assessments done before going interior on the known "no occupants present" fires. However, there are sometimes "known rescue problems" or "unknown occupant status" fires where we'll have to keep going interior, at least in the initial phases of the fire. In those cases, with current PPE technology, we'll be trading chronic problems for ourselves for the immediate benefit of the victims.

I'm old-school enough to have seen the TTP/TTL trade-off tilting so far to the TTP side of the equation that it's become obvious that we're globally having more heat stress problems in non-fire and exterior situations due to the high TTP protection factors that inherently decrease the TTL, no matter how good the technology. That's led me to two PPE beliefs:

1) Dress for the sport you're playing. You don't see football players dressed like basketball players, and vice-versa, yet you see firefighters wearing their "football" PPE to play basketball on a daily basis. We need to provide non-structural gear for EMS calls, MVCs, brush fires, and the 80% or so of our responses that have nothing to do with structural fires. Using structural PPE to rake lines around a brush fire or to work a non-fire extrication just don't make sense.

2) TTL is at least as important as TTP. However, the gear manufacturers and the realities of the NFPA gear standards don't seem to interpret this in a practical way. I'd be willing to go back to old-school...Back off on the TTP to increase the TTL, reduce heat stress, and keep our firefighters from entering untenable positions due to the TTP cocoons in which we're dressing them. The good old Nomex didn't have the TTP that the new aramids have, but it had much better TTL characteristics, protected us well enough to do the job, and didn't cocoon us from untenable situations.

7.5-ox Nomex protected me from two flashovers and one backdraft in my career. The gear was ruined in each case, but I survived with nothing more than a couple of very minor burns and some immediate laundry needs.
As local communities/cities seem to be reducing their emergency services departments to supposedly help balance their budgets (never understood that one), you will see an increase in these numbers. Fewer folks will be expected to do more with less. This is a disaster in the making. Knowing firefighters as I do, I know they will stand up to the challenge of atacking each and ever fire with all the fervor they can muster. This will hide, for a while, the fact that they are just setting themselves up for stress related issues later.

As a community, we have to insist that our city leaders NEVER EVER compromise safety of our emergency personnel by reducing their numbers and expect them to perform at the same level. Physical fitness programs will help strengthen the personnel, and put off the inevitable, but the end result will be the same. The human body can only take so much. Technology will help, but cannot replace the requirement that trained people must do the job and expose themselves to a hazardous environment. City leaders must realize this, and staff departments accordingly. We should only be losing firefighters to old age. Not hear attacks or stress related deaths. No other industry finds this acceptable. Emergency services should be no different.

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