Firefighter Obesity: A Public Safety Risk

Issue 1 and Volume 164.

BY KEVIN SPRATLIN Firefighters are at a significant risk of suffering fatal cardiovascular events related to the performance of their duties. Sudden cardiac death has consistently been the number-one cause of firefighter line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) each year in the United States.1 Firefighters are frequently called to provide aid to the communities they serve, whether it be to extinguish fires, mitigate hazardous materials scenes, perform rescues, or—increasingly more common—provide emergency medical care in the prehospital setting. Unhealthy firefighters, particularly those who are overweight and obese, potentially place the public’s safety in jeopardy if they are unable to successfully perform their physically rigorous jobs or are suddenly incapacitated because of an acute coronary event. If fire departments are to continue their lifesaving mission, it is of critical importance that fire service leaders implement wellness and fitness initiatives within their departments to encourage firefighters to practice healthful living habits. They should include maintaining…

Subscribe to unlock this content

Subscribe Now