Firefighting

A Matter of the Heart: Living a More Healthful Life

Issue 12 and Volume 162.

By Brian Ward We have all known for quite some time the hazards of firefighting. These hazards include everything from the smoke we breathe to our heart rate elevating from 60 to 120 in a matter of seconds. Ask firefighters what cardiac concerns they have, and the majority of them will list several without stopping to think. The fire service as a whole has continuously addressed these concerns by distributing information and raising awareness. The most notable examples include the International Association of Fire Chief’s Fire/EMS Safety, Health, and Survival Week; the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s “Everyone Goes Home” program; and even Fire Engineering’s devoting one theme a year—in the December issue—to firefighter health. However, this problem remains the number one killer in the fire service. It does not quite seem to sink in unless it affects us or a colleague. In 2003, members of the Gwinnett County (GA) Fire…

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