U.S. Fire Administration Health and Wellness Guide for the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Firefighting is one of the Nation's most dangerous and hazardous jobs, with heart attacks, high physical stress levels, sprains, and strains all too common. Of all firefighters in the United States, 72 percent are volunteers. The leading cause of on-duty death among volunteers is heart attack. The leading cause of injuries for all firefighters is overexertion and strain. The prevalence of cardiovascular illness and deaths and work-inhibiting strains and sprains among firefighters illustrates the need for a comprehensive health and wellness program in every department. The fire service realizes that health and wellness programs benefit individual firefighters and the fire and emergency services as a whole; such programs can yield safer and more effective action by first responders to emergencies. Many organizations have addressed the issue of health and wellness in the fire service. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) redeveloped its health and wellness standards in 2003. Since 1997, several career departments have worked with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) on a wellness initiative. To address the issues specific to volunteers, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) developed this guide to health and wellness for volunteer departments and members. In 2003, the NVFC launched the ground breaking Heart-Healthy Firefighter Program specifically to address heart disease in the fire and emergency services. This awareness and prevention campaign targets all firefighters and emergency personnel-both volunteer and career."

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United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
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