Firefighting, Health & Safety, Leadership

FEMA And National Volunteer Fire Council Announce New Health And Wellness Guide For The Volunteer Fire Service

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) announced today the availability of a new guidebook providing comprehensive information on fitness and wellness for volunteer firefighters and fire departments.

“We are pleased to provide this life-saving information to the volunteer fire service in partnership with the NVFC as yet another example of the support Homeland Security provides to our important first responder community,” said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Similar to the benefits of President Bush’s Healthier US initiative, which helps Americans take steps to improve personal health and fitness, this guidance will encourage all firefighters to be in the best shape possible to improve their safety in a stressful public service.”

The Health and Wellness Guide for the Volunteer Fire Service, developed by staff of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), provides detailed information and examples of health and wellness programs aimed at the volunteer firefighter. The guide addresses fitness and exercise, including aerobic, flexibility and strength training, diet, smoking cessation, and other important health areas. This publication also provides 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 his organization “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.”

U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison also expressed support.

“Health and wellness issues are No. 1 cause of line of duty firefighter fatalities throughout the volunteer fire service,” he said. “Effective firefighter wellness programs as a key effort in reducing this loss of life, will help this nation reduce the unacceptable number of line of duty deaths.”

This manual was developed under a Volunteer Fire Service Fitness and Wellness Cooperative agreement between USFA and NVFC. The partnership aims to reduce loss of life among volunteer firefighters from heart attack and stress and involves both research and the development of examples of effective health and wellness programs. The new guide complements existing USFA firefighter wellness and fitness partnerships with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Limited quantities of this publication may be ordered free of charge. It can be downloaded by visiting (click on publications) or by calling (800) 561-3356 or (301) 447-1189 to order. Requests may also be faxed to (301) 447-1213 or sent to:

United States Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727

More information about the USFA’s Fire Service Fitness and Wellness initiatives and partnerships can be found at: