(September 18, 2013) Firefighters face a multitude of dangers. Every day, their health and safety is threatened by toxic smoke, high heat and chaotic work environments. But, heart attacks continue to be one of the leading causes of firefighter line of duty deaths. Taking the time to focus on physical fitness might help this number to come down.
Firefighters can have many hours of sedentary activity. In the volunteer ranks, firefighters can go long periods of time between calls. Work and family obligations can make it difficult to respond for extended periods of time. This time off and lack of physical activity can be as hazardous as fighting a fire. When they are able to respond to a call, it may turn into a labor intensive operation. The sudden, intense energy demand that is needed to fight a fire or handle an emergency puts a firefighter who is not in good physical condition in grave danger.
What can be done? The first step is to recognize that taking regular care of the body physically is just as important as attending and participating in regular drill and training activities. It's important to develop the mindset to do this. There are a variety of activities and ways to get started or continue efforts. Read this article from 30-year fire department veteran, Tom Merrill.