Washington D.C. – The U. S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) today announced the initiation of the Volunteer Fire Service Fitness and Wellness Project – a partnership initiative to reduce loss of life among volunteer firefighters from heart attack and stress. USFA is a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“This is the number one cause of line of duty firefighter fatalities in the volunteer fire service,” said R. David Paulison, U.S. Fire Administrator. “We are truly pleased to work in partnership with the NVFC in the development of innovative programs to reduce this loss of life.”
The partnership effort will involve researching and developing effective examples of health and wellness programs aimed at the needs of the volunteer firefighter. These programs will address fitness and exercise (aerobic, flexibility, strength training, etc.); diet; smoking cessation; and other areas that will have a positive impact on the volunteer fire service community.
This project will also develop information on how volunteer fire departments can enhance compliance with appropriate National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firefighter Health and Safety Standards such as NFPA Standard 1583 – Health Related Fitness Programs For Fire Fighters.
NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg said, “the NVFC is pleased to partner with the USFA in this endeavor to reduce the primary cause of volunteer firefighter fatalities and at the same time contribute to the fitness and wellness of the volunteer fire service.”
This project complements existing USFA firefighter wellness and fitness partnerships with the IAFC and the IAFF to support the expansion of the IAFF and IAFC Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness-Fitness Initiative to additional fire departments.
Further information about the Volunteer Fire Service Fitness and Wellness Program as well as other USFA fire service fitness and wellness partnerships may be found on the USFA web site at: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/inside-usfa/fitness.cfm.